Strawberry Chia Jam
There was no peanut butter when I was growing up. In fact, there hardly were any peanuts, but at least those I knew existed, because elephants fed on them in cartoons (which by the way, were also pretty hard to come by).
When I was eight, someone from the States gave me a jar of peanut butter. I wasn’t impressed, as the idea of butter made out of peanuts sounded peculiar to say the least. But I tried it and I loved it; it was the creamy kind and to this day it remains my favourite.
I always liked my peanut butter plain, spread on a nice slice of bread. To me, there was no collective memory of it paired with jelly and even though we did have a lot of named jelly lying around when I was growing up, by way of my Grandma, it never touched peanut butter. That is, until I travelled to the USA and I discovered the blissful taste of moist white toast bread with creamy peanut butter and strawberry jelly.
I also remember that I thrived on peanut butter once in Summer Camp; my grandma had packed a 28 ounce jar (that’s 800g!) and I exclusively fed on that slathered on pieces of bread that I’d take from the table for al long as camp lasted, since the food there was really bad.
My love for peanut butter faded during my teenage years, until a few years back, when I found myself in a supermarket and I noticed the large array of peanut butter jars displayed. I had the most intense craving for a PB & J. So, I got a jar of creamy peanut butter and threw it in my cart. Now, all I needed was strawberry jelly, but the supermarket options were disappointing, as they all contained way too much sugar and preservatives that I’d rather steer clear from. At this point it became quite clear that I had to go home and make strawberry jelly myself. And so, strawberry chia jam came to life.
In the mean time, there are a lot of brands that make organic and preservative-free to some extent, even sugar-free versions of strawberry jam, but I still prefer making my own. Aside from the fact that I love knowing exactly what goes in it, there are the chia seeds, which are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and protein, plus they have the amazing ability to jellify liquid, so yo get a jelly-like consistence without having to add pectin or other nasties. And while my recipe is more like a jam than a jelly, I find it goes perfectly not only with peanut butter, but also on its own, spread on toast or to top a nice bowl of oatmeal or yoghurt. This strawberry jam recipe is not only easy and fail-proof, but also refined sugar-free. The only downside to it is that since it doesn’t contain any preservatives, it won’t last longer than two weeks in the fridge.
Before grabbing the recipe below, you might want to check out this fun chart that depicts “The Perfect Equation For The Ultimate Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich”.
Strawberry Chia Jam
450g/½ lb. strawberries, hulled and left whole if small (halved if large)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice
3 Tbsp liquid honey
Place the strawberries in a heavy bottomed pan set over low heat. Once boiling, simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the strawberries break down. Take off the heat, add remaining ingredients and using an immersion blender or a regular one, blend the jam until you obtain the desired consistency. It’s also okay not to blend it at all, I only do it because my daughter prefers no seeds and a more smooth texture. If you’re not using a blender, mix everything well with a spoon. Either way you’re going, allow jam to cool to room temperature, then transfer to jars (I used two 150g/5.4 oz. jars), seal with a tight fitting lid and store in the fridge. This jam keep in the fridge for two weeks.