Blackberries grow in wild abundance where I live in Washington State. Growing up in the city in San Diego I never saw these kinds of things unless we went camping or on vacation out of state (or country). Sure, I saw farms with strawberries, pumpkins and other edibles but wild blackberries? Never. Not any wild fruit actually. We have only lived here as of last July and didn’t find out about the blackberries until the season started to wane. No wild harvested jams or pies for us this time around! I did get to eat a few fresh berries however and my baby got to try her first blackberry straight off the bush thanks to new friends here.
The other day we went to the store and I decided to make jam since my husband didn’t have interest in the mandarin and honey marmalade I made. What does go for? Blackberries. Well, he went for them after not finding plums. Out of season but still available. Part of me wants only to support in season foods grown locally or on my own land someday. The other part of knows that even though out of season these green house grown berries will make him happy. I suspect I will have to do the same with my children if they develop a fancy for a particular food. Though, I will always encourage and educate them on eating in season.
So today I am making jam. Blackberry and Chia Seed Jam with Honey! We tend to have an abundance of chia since my husband consumes some daily. I am usually not a huge fan (he usually will take a spoonful with just water and hold it in his mouth before swallowing it. No thank you.) but I think along with the berries it will be good! It also will boost the healthy goodness of the jam! Everything in this jam in fact is pretty healthy! A quick Google search of the ingredients will give you lists of all their amazing properties.
This particular recipe wasn’t made for canning though I will have plenty of those in the future! It will last a week or two in the fridge depending on how often you take it out and how tight you deal it. You can even freeze it for the future though that can alter the taste and texture. This recipe can also easily be made VEGAN if you prefer (it’s also naturally gluten free of you need it to be). Just swap the honey for maple syrup!
Ingredient wise you will need:
1 pound of blackberries (I am using fresh but frozen is fine and generally cheaper!)
3 tablespoons of chia seeds (We got ours from Costco)
3 tablespoons of honey (we use local) or maple syrup. You can alter this to taste. We like things on the sweeter side.
You can also add a dash (I tend to eye things but I would say this would be around a teaspoon or less) of vanilla extract.
OPTIONAL: a tab of butter (noted later)
After I took this picture I discovered my daughter is tall enough to reach onto the table. There she grabbed the honey and attacked it happily like Winnie the Pooh. I finally managed to get it back and she joyfully bounced next to me as she sucked on her hands after. Oh parenthood.
To make the jam you will need to add your berries to a pot (I use a slightly abused enameled cast iron pictured here. I promise I clean the crap out of this thing.) and heat on low while you mash lightly (leave some chunks!). They will create their own juice so there’s no need to add anything else just yet.
After mashing I keep mixing on low for about 5 minutes. You may start drooling now when the smell hits you in the face. A dish cloth can be used to sop up the mess.
Now you can add the chia seeds and the honey (or syrup). Stir continuously (be sure to scrape the bottom) for another 5 minute or so and watch it thicken delightfully.
If it begins to froth a tab of butter helps. You can try coconut oil if making it vegan but if I remember correctly it is something in the dairy that helps. It doesn’t harm the jam so leaving it for thing is fine.
Afterwards, turn off the heat and let sit for a minute or two before adding the vanilla extract. Now, you could can this in your preferred method if you want but due to the lack of pectin, et cetera it still won’t stay much longer. I let mine cool completely before putting it in a mason jar and setting it in the fridge.
You can put this in Tupperware as well. For a mason jar use a ladle and if you can there are different tools to help reduce splatter and waste.
I love easy to make treats like this. It is great for the beginning homesteader to a seasoned one. Perfect when you don’t have a lot of time and/or don’t want to wait for good eats. Plus, just because it is easy doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious.