I make as much food as possible for my 15 month old daughter, which can sometimes be a lesson in patience when working with a finicky toddler who is just discovering her own tastes.  A few months ago, when she had turned down all veggies in sight, I gave her a piece of bread with almond butter and jam.  She thought that was pretty awesome (PB & J’s never disappoint), so I tried a little jam on her whole wheat spinach pancakes the next morning.  Score.  The problem?  Store bought jams and jellies.  There are some decent natural ones out there, but even they use concentrated fruit to sweeten the taste.  I figured there had to be something a little healthier and less expensive I could make, but I didn’t know how to do that without learning how to can fruit (insert laugh here). That is when I came across Eating Bird Food’s Chia Seed Jam recipe.  Perfect!

chia seeds

I had chia seeds in the pantry, but hadn’t quite figured out what to do with them other than throw them into smoothies.  I had no idea they acted as a thickener.  They were exactly what I needed to easily make homemade jam I felt good about.

I minimalized this recipe as much as possible to make it simple and eliminate the extra sweetener.   I’ve found a simple trick for making the taste a little more sweet and adding additional thickener naturally is to put 1/4 cup dried prunes into your fruit mix before blending.  They add a lovely sweet background note and no one would know they are eating prunes.  If you are using this for adults who are used to their jam being sweet, you may want to add 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup.  I use only fruit, cinnamon and the chia seeds, because I prefer the tartness of the fruit and figure my little one doesn’t need to acquire any taste for sweets right now.  That will come soon enough!

chia_seed_jam

Chia_seed_jam

Use the Easiest Chia Seed Jam as a spread on toast, pancakes or french toast.  You can also stir it into yogurt or oatmeal!  It’s a great way to sneak more fruit into your kids’ (or your 🙂 diet.  You can get creative and add lemon zest to brighten up the taste.  I keep ours in an airtight container in the fridge 7-10 days.  

Ingredients:

1 16 oz package frozen fruit blend (I prefer the organic mixture of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, but any frozen fruit blend should do fine.  I’ve even used a tropical blend of bananas, strawberries and mangoes.)

2-3 tablespoons chia seeds (the more you use, the thicker the mixture will be)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

(optional 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup dried prunes)

Directions:  Thaw your frozen fruit completely and then process in a high speed blender until completely smooth (I use my Nuk baby food maker to steam it and then blend it).  Pour directly into your storage container.  Stir in your chia seeds and cinnamon.  Let it come to room temperature and then cover and place in the fridge.  It takes about 12 hours for the chia seeds to become soft and do their magic.  Enjoy!

 

 

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