There were a few months of my life when I drank chia water every day. I was training for my first marathon and my friend told me to read Born to Run and Born to Run told me to drink iskiate, a chia-based, Mexican-born energy drink that will help you run 18 miles without blinking an eye. Or something like that.
Ever since then, I’ve thought chia seeds were magical. Besides turning you into a super-athlete (this didn’t happen for me, by the way), they can turn milk—or coconut milk or almond mix or oat milk—into pudding. And, apparently, mashed up fruit into thick, spreadable, toast-worthy jam.
No granulated sugar. No cooking.
Not that I have anything against sugar or cooking. But sometimes you need a break. Maybe you want something sweet, just not too sweet. Maybe it’s 114 degrees outside (or feels like it, what’s the difference) and you refuse to turn on your oven and stove. We’ve all been there.
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Enter chia jam to the rescue. Here’s how:
1 cup prepared fresh fruit. This could be fresh berries, from blackberries to blueberries to raspberries. Or chopped stone-fruit, like peaches, plums, or apricots.
4-ish teaspoons chia seeds. Emphasis on the ish. This all depends on how juicy your fruit is and how thick you like your jam. Start with 4. Refrigerate for 30 or so minutes and see how things are going. If you want it looser, add more fruit. Thicker, add more seeds.
1 tablespoon syrupy sweetener. I like honey or maple syrup best. Sorghum or agave syrup would be lovely, too. Add or subtract to taste.
2 teaspoons citrus juice. Especially lemon, but also lime or even grapefruit. Vinegar works here, too. Maybe apple cider vinegar to keep the fruitiness going or balsamic, especially if the jam is strawberry-y.
1 pinch salt. Salt in jam?! Sure thing. Salt everywhere. It will make the fruit taste fruitier.
Mix everyone together. Refrigerate for at least a half hour or until thick. In the meantime, tell your peanut butter to take a deep breath and get ready. Lunchtime is about to get crazy.
JAM ON LEMON ICE CREAM? DON'T MIND IF WE DO
This article was originally published in June 2018. We're bringing it back because it's even hotter out now than it was then. Have you made chia jam before? What kind? Tell us in the comments.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.