Sugar Free Chia Jam
Updated: Nov 1, 2020
End of summer means it's time to JAM!!! While there are some good quality jams on the shelves, nearly all contain added refined sugar, which may be listed as sugar, cane sugar, even possibly high fructose corn syrup), and credited by Dr. Robert Lustig as the #1 cause of our current obesity epidemic. Some also contain pectin, some of which is fruit derived and some not, the latter which can cause unwanted side effects including possible stomach cramping and bloating.
The truth is...making a healthy jam could not be more simple! Just a few minutes on the stove, time to cool, mix in seeds and voila! You've got a delicious jam with incredible health benefits...
Chia Seeds have long been appreciated (dating back to the Aztecs) as one fo the most nutritious foods on the planet, rich in plant based protein, including anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids. They are also unique (and super cool) because they are hydrophilic and can absorb 9 (!) times their weight in water. This will help you feel full (think natural diet pill) and their gelatinous consistency helps coat the GI tract slow the rate of glucose absorption. This is why the highly athletic Tarahumara tribe of Mexico use them for long, hot endurance races (look up Copper Canyon) with great success! And if that's not enough, they are also rich in calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, antioxidants, soluble fiber (helps to stabilize blood sugar) and much more!
Camu Powder is optional here, and the fruit is already rich in vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. Camu powder comes from a berry native to the Amazon and just 1 teaspoon contains more than 600% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) ! Be warned that it does add a tart flavor so if your berries are not sweet enough you may want to add more dates to offset the strong flavor.
Sugar-Free Summer Berry Chia Jam
2 cups fresh organic summer berries (or sub frozen, which can yield a sweeter result)
1 TB chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp pure maple syrup, optional for added sweetness
1 tsp camu powder, optional for additional vitamin C
1) Place the fruit (and date if using) in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the berries start to soften and burst. Cooking time will depend on which berries you are using and how ripe they are (blueberries take a bit longer). After they are softened, remove from heat and take a potato masher (or a large fork) and smash the berries in the pan.
2) Add chia seeds, vanilla extract, maple syrup (if using) and stir. If you are using the camu powder, stir in once the mixture is cooled. Store in a glass jar with tight fitting lid in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to one month.
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