Sometimes an afternoon calls for jam on toast--with a cup of tea, of course! I love jam, but too often find that the store-bought kind loses the flavor of the fruit with too much sugar. What's the point of enjoying an apricot jam, for example, if it tastes more like corn syrup than those perfectly tart stone fruits? Naturally, faced with this dilemma (and another heap of apricots I wasn't sure how to finish), I set about figuring out how to make my own jam. I had two caveats: it must taste like the real fruit (so minimal sugar) and it must be easy (the thought of canning, standing over a boiling pot of water sterilizing jam jars felt like too much work in this summer heat).
After searching the interwebs, I found my inspiration in a Blackberry Chia Seed Jam recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod and a How to Make Chia Seed Jam tutorial from Oh My Veggies. The reoccurring theme? Chia seeds! They replace the pectin that helps the jam gel. These little orbs turn translucent and gummy when exposed to heat, giving them a texture similar to tapioca as you might remember from my Easy Vanilla Cinnamon Chia Seed Pudding recipe. I also threw in a handful of basil because I love the combination of tart fruit and earthy herbs. What's great about this recipe is that it is so versatile that you play around with your favorite fruit and herb combinations.
2 cups diced apricots
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 organic lemon, juiced
2-3 tbsp honey (depending on how sweet you like your jam)
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine fruit, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and honey in a saucepan and cook on medium until fruit begins to break down, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in basil. Cook for two more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chia seeds. Allow to cool completely. Store in a mason jar for up to two weeks. Serve on toast, as a compote with age cheddar, or over your morning oatmeal. Enjoy!
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