I was starting to panic at the prospect of using up an insane amount of rhubarb that had been very kindly given to me, when I remembered seeing a recipe somewhere that used pureed fruit and chia seeds to make a “raw” jam.
The brilliance in this idea is that it takes advantage of the naturally-gelling properties of the chia to thicken up the fruit puree. I figured that since cooked rhubarb is pretty much a puree, it should work like a charm. And, I was right. Oh, boy, was I right.
Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I do have to come clean on one thing. I have been eating this stuff “Joey Style” (ie: with a spoon). It’s really more like a compote than a jammy-jam anyway….and it is really, really good spooned over vanilla ice cream, hidden under vanilla yogurt or custard, or stirred into your morning oatmeal.
Rhubarb/Strawberry Jam with Chia
4 cups of chopped rhubarb
2 cups of chopped or quartered strawberries
4 tbsp sugar (I used 2 tbsp of brown sugar Splenda)
¼ cup water
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla
In a saucepan, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until rhubarb begins to break down. Add chia seeds and simmer for 10 mins. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool completely before transferring to a jar or a resealable plastic container; store in refrigerator. Jam will continue to thicken as it cools.
Notes: if you want a thicker (dare I say "jammier"?) finished product, add an additional tablespoon of chia seeds. It doesn’t matter if you use white or black chia seeds, but I think the white ones look prettier. Also, I have no idea how long this keeps. Mine is gone in a week. I think that if you want to keep it longer than that, you should consider freezing it.
*Now, don’t get me wrong, I was completely delighted when I received the bag o’ ‘barb, but I have never seen that much of it in one place. My kitchen looked like a farmer’s market, but without all the hipsters.