Most jams and jellies are thickened with a combination of pectin and sugar. But if you're looking to reduce sugar in your diet, chia seeds are a healthy substitution. Chia seeds form a thick gel when immersed in liquid, creating a texture with the jammy mouthfeel you expect from a traditional fruit spread. Since Chia Cherry Jam doesn't rely on sugar to help set the jam, the sugar in this recipe can be adjusted up or down to suit your taste. This Chia Cherry Jam is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber for an easy, spreadable, spoonable, low-sugar jam.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook cherries, smashing with a wooden spoon (or a potato masher) until cherries are mashed and mixture is bubbling.
Stir in chia seeds, granulated sugar, and lemon juice until well combined. Cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in almond extract, if desired.
Let jam cool for 10 minutes and then stir one more time. As jam cools, it will continue to thicken.
Serve jam immediately, or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Imperial Sugar Insight
You can use any fresh or frozen fruit to create this chia seed jam.
Chia seed jam freezes well, so consider making extra to give as a gift for teachers, friends, family, or neighbors.
Chia seeds are dark in color and will stay visible in the jam once it's done. With darker colored fruits like cherries, blackberries, blueberries or strawberries, they won't be as noticeable, but something to keep in mind when using a lighter fruit like peaches.
Recipe developed for Imperial Sugar by Jessica Segarra @TheNoviceChef.