Saturday, 21 February 2015

Citrus chia jam

Disclaimer: this post is where my interests in DIY, nutrition and cooking meet, and in which I make my own recipe jam.'ve been warned.

A little while ago, I found this blog post from A Beautiful Mess and I immediately thought: "that, I have to try!" A vegan, simple to make, healthy option to compose exactly the jam to fit my particular tastes in the breakfast foods department - what's not to like? 

Chia seeds are the new (or maybe not sooooo new) black among nutrition nuts. According to countless online articles chia seeds have incredible health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to burning fat without your involvement. In fact, reading the articles, you could come to the conclusion that they are heaven-sent miracle-seeds. 

I am always a bit skeptical when a new super-food is discovered. And, as with many other nutritional miracles, chia seeds benefits have also been researched and found a little less overwhelming then many nutrition portals claim. Especially the weight loss theory seems to be a bit fishy. This website cites a medical study by Appalachian State University in North Carolina, that seems to disprove the miraculous theories. 

Regardless of whether you believe one side or another, everyone seems to agree that chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, fibers, Omega-3 fats, calcium, and magnesium, and have no cholesterol. They are especially recommended for vegans and vegetarians as a great source of proteins.

Even better, chia does not contain gluten but still becomes sticky when combined with water which makes it a great substitute for other grains in baking and cooking.   

It is exactly in this role that chia is used in the jam making. It helps to thicken the boiled fruits.

I am a sucker for strong, sour citrus jams but they are not very easy to get. Most stuff you buy in supermarkets is seriously candy-like and has way too many stabilizers, preservatives and color additives.

So you can understand why I was so excited, when I saw Elsie and Emma's idea for home-made jams. Inspiration came from them but I composed my own jam which I strongly encourage you to do as well. There are so many possibilities out there.

Here is my approximate recipe and the comments about the experiment:

  • 1 large orange  
  • 1 large lemon
  • Peel of the orange and lemon
  • 1,5 tablespoons of sugar (I only had white, but I think Muscovado or Demerera would have been even nicer)
  • seeds of half a vanilla been
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • Peel orange and lemon and finely chop about 1/3 of the peels
  • Before you chop the orange and lemon, make sure to remove all of the white remnants of the peel and all of the seeds
  • Lightly caramelize the peels in all of the sugar. Make sure to use low heat, not to burn the sugar
  • Boil the citrus on medium heat, until they release their juices. As they boil, they will become relatively fluid and uniform
  • Add peels and boil for another 5-10 minutes, while continuously stirring
  • Then add chia seeds and stir over low heat until the jam thickens
  • Take off the heat, and let it cool down
Voila! The jam is ready. The jam came out almost perfect but it has a little bitter aftertaste. So if you are not a fan of sour or bitter tastes, you might want less peel and/or more sugar. 

The peel also makes the jam rather chunky, which I like but you might prefer to blend the fruits after boiling so the mixture is more uniform. 

I can also imagine using this jam with some good roast...maybe duck...

There is a wealth of recipes out there for chia seeds containing dishes, especially puddings and breakfast-y stuff (just check Instagram). But I am also thinking of making savory chutneys using the seeds - that could work pretty well.


  1. Looks like your little experiment turned out nicely. The citrus chia jam looks yummy! I love how it has little chunks in it, and I think it would be amazing with a good toast. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    Faith Thomas @ The Berry Farm

  2. I hope you'll enjoy the jam as much as I did :)