orange chia jam

Sunny and sugar free orange jam

I’m not really a sweet tooth but oh boy, I love mornings with fresh baked bread, butter and jam. It reminds me of holidays in Southern Europe and lazy late breakfast in Zandvoort on a warm summer day… Which are rare, I know.

Traditional recipes for jam are often made with lots of sugar; not just for preservation but also to get that jelly texture a jam needs. We all like a bit of sweetness once in a while but wouldn’t it be great to make a jam that you can eat every day? In both sweet and savory dishes? 

Chia is the answer! Chia seeds are high in fibre: they can absorb about 10 times their size and weight in liquid. After taking in all that liquid they become jelly and guess what: that’s perfect for thickening jam!

You can make chia jam with all kinds of fruits; this time I’m using oranges. I love the zingy, slightly bitter taste of oranges. It pairs perfectly with saffron and spicy cardamom, but of course you could use all kinds of seasoning. In this recipe the jam is still a bit chunky and I have used coarsely grated zest because of the bite. If you prefer a more smooth texture simply blend the cooked fruit before adding the chia seeds.

orange chia jam

Orange chia jam 

Makes 500 gr (450 ml)

    • 5 oranges, peeled and sliced
    • Zest of 1 orange
    • Juice of 1 orange
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 4 tbsp. of rice syrup (or other sweetener)
    • A pinch of saffron
    • A pinch of cardamom
    • 2 tbsp. of chia seed
  1. Cut the skin of the 5 oranges (including the white part so you’re left with just the orange fruit)
  2. Cut the peeled oranges into 4. After removing the white centre core, cut all pieces into small cubes
  3. In a pot combine all ingredients, except for the chia seed, and place over low heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until you get a saucy consistency. Don’t worry if there seems to be too much liquid: the chia seeds need enough liquid to cause it to swell and jell
  4. This is the moment to taste: is the jam sweet enough? Do you get that subtle hint of the saffron and cardamom? If necessary add more seasoning and slow boil for another minute
  5. Now add the chia seeds and stir well. Leave on a low heat for another 10 minutes; until the jam thickens
  6. Remove from heat and cool down before using or storing

You can keep the jam in your fridge for a maximum of 2 weeks, but I bet you the jar will be empty before those 2 weeks are over ;-).

Spread a thick layer of this jam on fresh bread, add a spoon to yogurt or oats for breakfast or use it in muffins. The advantage of this not too sweet, zingy orange jam is that you can actually also use it for savoury dishes: add some chilli flakes and it suddenly becomes a great dip for grilled prawns or chicken nuggets. And if surprisingly there is any jam left near the end of the 2 weeks: you can also mix it in with your fresh smoothies!

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