There’s just something so grown-up about making homemade jam, dontchathink?
It may be silly but I feel like making jam automatically entitles one to major Grown-Up Bragging Points. There’s just so much awesomeness surrounding it, and so much solidarity and respect for past generations that have faithfully put up the harvest each year to be enjoyed in the long winter months to come.
In these days with a rise in traditional kitchen arts such as canning and All Things Homemade, we have the privilege of CHOOSING to perserve things because we want to, and not because we have to. That means I can do a batch of strawberry jam in July, maybe some peach preserves in a few weeks’ time, and dream up some kind of blueberry goodness in jars to make in August and enjoy when the craving for fresh fruit hits next February.
I can also hit up the grocery store or my local farmer to fill in the gaps – an ability that generations before us were not afforded. ‘Tis a privilege I do not take lightly, and one for which I am profoundly grateful.
My personal food philosophy includes a slow enjoyment of the simple art of cooking and preparing fresh, real food. This jam is a perfect example of doing just that.
This Recipe’s Story
The usual jam-making recipes call for pectin – a product on the grocery store shelves derived from fruit. Pectin thickens the jam. Cons: it includes preservatives and requires massive amounts of white sugar to work properly. I mean MASSIVE amounts of sugar. Sometimes more sugar than fruit! I’ve seen jam recipes with more sugar than most desserts! Imagine the sugar-rush that happens when people eat that stuff every day for breakfast. Yuck.
Enter my latest foodie crush: the amazing, incredible chia seeds!
They absorb a ton of liquid and function like pectin, thickening the jam perfectly. The seeds themselves are not noticeable in the texture as there are already seeds from the strawberries. If anything, it may be a little “extra seedy”, but I bet no one would notice unless they knew to look for it.
The other awesome thing about avoiding pectin is that you can use alternative sweeteners. If you don’t want to use honey (although I think the favour of honey marries beautifully with the strawberries) you could experiment with stevia, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, or even xylitol. Don’t use agave as it is highly-processed and NOT a healthy choice as has been claimed.
This jam lends itself to so much experimentation it’s almost impossible to write up a recipe. These are the basic building blocks. Now you can customize and play to your own preferences. Have fun, and enjoy!
P.S. Homemade jam makes an amazing gift for family and friends!