Chia seeds can easily be used to create a healthy jam or fruit sauce with only a few ingredients and all of 10 minutes preperation/cooking time – it’ll be far healthier than the sugar-laden versions on your supermarket shelves and believe me, it’s very simple to do!
If you’ve read my ‘About’ page, you will have gathered that I’m not the sort of nutritionist who encourages you to go down to your nearest health store and spend hundreds of dollars on ‘superfoods’. This is as so few of them are supported by any reputable clinical research and their ‘benefits’ are largely based on anecdotal reports – so my advice is usually to save your money!
However – we do keep chia seeds in our pantry as I love how it turns into a jelly-like substance when you add water to it and unlike the over-inflated claims that plague the other ‘superfoods’, these tiny seeds are actually really nutritious and satiating with plenty of micronutrients, antioxidants and fibre – something all too often lacking in Australian diets.
However, you may have also heard rave reviews about their Omega-3 content, but unfortunately this claim is an over-exaggeration as chia seeds only contain ALA’s (Alpha Linolenic Acid) which is not efficiently converted by us into EPA and DHA – the ‘active’ Omega-3 forms which are so beneficial for your heart and brain function and general good health. So, be aware that though chia seeds will raise the levels of ALA and modestly raise the EPA in your blood, they cannot be relied on to contribute much DHA at all. Note that marine-based foods are the richest sources of DHA and it’s recommended to consume these regularly.
1 x 250g punnet of strawberries
1.5 stalks of rhubarb
0-2 tablespoons honey (this is optional – add it based on taste and preference – or add a squirt of liquid stevia for sweetness without the extra energy)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Makes around 22 tablespoons and each tablespoon is approximately 15Cal when the jam is made up with strawberries and 1 tablespoon of honey – this is one quarter the energy value of normal jam!
- Wash, chop then cook your rhubarb in a touch of water until it just begins to soften (approx. 2mins)
- Add washed strawberries (cut off the green leaves, but keep white parts as this contains pectin which helps the jam ‘set’ and cook together with the rhubarb until all the fruit is soft
- Put cooked fruit, chia seed and any desired sweetener into a food processor and pulverize!
- Refrigerate overnight and the chia seeds will absorb the fruit juices/water to become a gel
You now have a lovely jam for kids sandwiches, breakfast toast, wholemeal pancakes or instead of buying yoghurts full of sugars and artificial flavourings, try adding the jam to a quality plain yoghurt, such as Chobani.
Of course you could always change it up a little! Use other ripe fruit or berries that you have on hand, experiment with changing the consistency or sweetness to suit your tastes or if you like a few chunks in your jam, just set aside a bit of the cooked fruit prior to pulverising the rest with the chia seed/honey/stevia and then add in after processing and prior to refrigeration.
Image – Courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net