Homemade jam brings me straight back to my childhood. My mother would always make big batches of jam at the end of summer with homegrown raspberries she grew in her garden. The house would smell amazing and over the course of the winter we would enjoy the jam every weekend with delicious, puffy, crispy, little Russian pancakes called ‘Oladiye’ (pronounced: Oh-lah-dee-yeh – try saying it in a Russian, bond-villain accent for fun). The jam would be made with buckets of sugar, of course, and the Oladiye would be fried in vegetable oil, because vegetables are healthy, right? Thankfully, we know a bit better these days and even though my mother still loves to make Oladiye for us, I actually insist that when she does, she use my sister-in-law’s recipe for Marcela’s Easy Paleo Pancakes. These four-ingredient paleo miracles are the closest I’ve come to a healthy version of my childhood, weekend treat.
The jam, however, was a tougher sell. Russians, you see, LOVE sweet things. So much of Russian cuisine requires a sugary component. Even savoury dishes like salads are usually sweetened with sugar (and mayonnaise). The other thing Russians love is tradition. If you don’t make things the way your grandmother made them, you’re not doing it right. So you can imagine my mother’s shock the first time I set down a plate of Paleo Pancakes smothered in this refined-sugar-free Paleo Blueberry-Goji Jam! Thankfully, she’s a brave soul and (hesitantly) took a bite. Then she took another, and another, until it was all gone. She denies it but I’m pretty sure she licked the plate while I had my back turned! It’s safe to say that if it passed my mother’s test, it will likely pass yours as well.
The Chia Jam Backstory
This Blueberry-Goji Jam is something I’ve been tinkering with for a while and I have to give credit where credit is due. The homemade memories I owe to my mother, but the idea of using chia seeds to make jam has a more recent story. A few months ago I was doing some food styling for my friends at ELXR Juice Lab (purveyors of Toronto’s finest cold-pressed juices), and one of the things they created for their new menu was a blueberry-chia jam. It was absolutely amazing and if you’re in the Toronto area I highly recommend getting your hands on one of their parfaits that includes this beautiful, delicious jam. Ever since that day I’ve been obsessing over making a homemade version so that I can enjoy it with my pancakes on the weekend (and just about everything else!). At long last, I think I’ve made something that comes close – but I will admit that the ELXR version may be better (if only by a margin)! As you can see, the jam is thick, glossy and if you didn’t know any better you’d think it was something that came out of your grandma’s kitchen.
Aside from the fact that this recipe is refined-sugar, dairy, grain, legume, and gluten-free, it’s great because it takes very little time to make and is very easy. It’s perfect for the weekends if you want a break from, say, my Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce (which I consider to be an advanced recipe). But it’s equally well suited for weekdays when you’re in a rush to get out the door. As mentioned, the Paleo Pancakes have only four simple ingredients – five if you want to add a scoop of paleo protein powder. While you prepare your pancakes, you can just as easily create the Blueberry-Goji Jam, which takes about 10-15 minutes and has only 5 ingredients – OK, six if you include water!
I hope you like this recipe and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!
Homemade Blueberry-Goji Jam
INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)
for Blueberry-Goji Chia Jam:
1/2 cup frozen, wild blueberries (Costco sells giant bags of these)
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp dried goji berries
2 tsp ogranic maple-syrup (more or less depending on preference)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water
for Blueberry-Goji Chia Jam:
- Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and simmer over medium-low heat until the thickened and water is reduced by at least 1/4.
- That’s it! See, I told you it was easy!
- Pour overtop of Marcela’s Easy Paleo Pancakes (recipe here)