No-Cook Cherry Chia Jam

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My 3rd and final attempt at the 10 pound cherry challenge: jam! This isn’t just any cherry jam though. This is a no-cook, no-fuss, super easy, quick, and nutritious jam! It’s just 2 ingredients and 3 steps. Can it get any better?

After making mini black forest cheesecakes and vanilla bean & honey roasted cherries, I realized I need to up my game if I was going to make much of a dent in that 10 pound box of cherries that Northwest Cherry Growers sent me. I thought jam would be a great way to use up a ton of cherries, but the thought of sterilizing jars, cooking fruit, and processing finished jars on a weekday night in an already warm kitchen was simply overwhelming. Add that to the fact that I discovered I would need to go out and buy more jar lids and it clearly wasn’t going to happen.

Then I discovered the amazing world of chia jam. Do you know anything about these magical little seeds? Yes, they are the same seeds as in those awesome Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pets/Heads. I can’t believe we were wasting them on novelty gifts for so many years. Chia seed was a staple in the diets of ancient Mayans and Aztecs – the word chia is derived from the Mayan language, meaning “strength.” Warriors relied on chia to boot energy and increase stamina.

These tiny seeds pack a nutritional punch, including 5 grams of fiber in 1 tablespoon of seed. That fiber causes chia to swell when immersed in water, creating chia gel. In this case, the chia gel turns pureed fruit into a jam consistency. You can also use chia gel to replace eggs in recipes (I’ll be trying that soon and reporting back) or in drinks.

This cherry chia jam is as tasty as it is good for you. It has a texture similar to raspberry or strawberry jam, but since chia seeds don’t really taste like anything, the flavor is pure cherry. If you don’t like the crunchy seed texture, you can put it back in the blender after it sits in the fridge to reduce the crunchiness. I tried it both ways and personally preferred it the way it is naturally, nice and hearty.

Cherry Chia Jam

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place cherries in blender or food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Scoop into a bowl and stir in chia seeds.
  3. Divide into jars and refrigerate for 1 hour, until chia seeds expand and the consistency becomes like jam.
  4. Use within 7 days or freeze.
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Check out the other 10 Pound Cherry Challenge participants to see what they did with their cherries:

For more on the challenge, make sure to check out OXO (FacebookTwitter,  PinterestInstagram) and the Northwest Cherry Growers (FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram). For the ultimate guide to cherry dishes, follow the project-specific Pinterest board.

Northwest Cherry Growers provided me with the 10 pounds of fresh sweet cherries and OXO provided me with the tools needed (Cherry/Olive Pitter, 9 Piece Nesting Bowls and Colanders set, and Food Scale) for the challenge, but as always all opinions and text are my own.

8 Responses to “No-Cook Cherry Chia Jam”
  1. Dawn | KitchenTravels writes:

    I was just reading about Chia seeds/gel earlier this week. Too funny! This jam looks wonderful, I am totally trying this recipe. Thanks! xo
    Dawn | KitchenTravels recently posted Kitchen+Travels :: Sonoma County Wine Road Dinner at Enotria (Part 1 – The Wine)

  2. Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board writes:

    I love chia jam – so much healthier than the sugar-packed kind, and I love that it highlights the fruit/berry so much more too! I’ve only ever made blueberry and raspberry versions that require cooking though – your method sounds so much easier and I love that it uses cherries – will have to try this!
    Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board recently posted Summer Salad with Chicken, Corn, Tomato, Avocado, & Feta

  3. Beverly Prevette writes:

    My daughter loves chia! She’s always trying something new with it. How much room do I need to leave in the jars to allow for the chia expansion?

  4. Beverly Prevette writes:

    My daughter loves chia! She has used it in lieu of eggs, and it works great!! How much room do I need to leave in the jars to allow for the chia expansion?

  5. Stephanie Nuccitelli writes:

    Beverly, I mixed everything together in a bowl, let it sit in the fridge while the seeds expanded, and then I transferred into jars. I haven’t tried mixing directly in the jars, but would probably leave an inch just to be safe.

  6. angelic writes:

    Do you think this would Work well for strawberry or blueberry?

  7. Stephanie Nuccitelli writes:

    Angelic, absolutely! Or any combination of those fruits. You can also add some sweetener if needed, depending on how ripe your fruit is.

  8. 15 Sweet But Not Less Healthy Recipes With Chia Seeds writes:

    […] & Photo credit to 52kitchenadventures.com 2014-03-11 Elena […]

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