I was gifted some lovely blackcurrants yesterday so made some rather delicious blackcurrant and apple chia jam!
I'm really not a fan of adding loads of sugar to sweeten things up and most commercially produced jams are 50% sugar!!
However the sugar does more than just sweeten the jam, it also creates a gel with pectin, and preserves the jam, preventing mould, so this jam won't keep as long but chia seeds do a fine job of creating a firm gel like texture.
So I had a couple of eating apples which were lovely and sweet, also apples contain pectin, a preferred fibre source for our gut buddies!
Blackcurrants are a great source of vit C and anthocyanin, a polyphenol which gives food a purple colour and another one of our gut buddies favourites!
My secret ingredient is inulin, a white powder derived from chicory, which just happens to taste sweet and is another preferred source of fibre for our gut microbes!
You can buy a big bag of Inulin powder from most health food shops or Online. Its such an easy thing to add extra prebiotics and natural sweetness to drinks, bread, cakes and cookies. I bought mine from Grape Tree. However don't go overboard, recommended daily dose is 2 teaspoons. So 2 tablespoons in 2 jars of jam is fine. You will have to add another source of sweetness, in addition to the inulin.
Using chia seeds to thicken the jam adds more fibre, protein and good fats!
I added a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup to add a bit more sweetness but you could add honey, brown rice syrup or coconut sugar, which has minerals!
If you are concerned about adding sugar then the best sugar free option is Stevia, available in powdered or liquid drops. I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners, nor are our gut microbes but Stevia is the best choice available.
So my jam is a feast for my gut microbes, and a treat for my tastebuds without adding loads of empty calories!
Because this jam doesn't contain high levels of sugar, it won't keep as long as traditional jam so
I wouldn't make a big batch. It will only keep for a few weeks in the fridge, so make small batches and if you have lots of blackcurrants or summer berries, then freeze them. Frozen berries work just as well.
Here is my simple recipe.
Ingredients - makes 2 medium jars of jam
Enjoy with sourdough toast, scones or swirled into yoghurt or kefir!
🍃 Health educator🍃