Today, I have decided to share with you how to make an allergy- and eco-friendly jam.
I know this might sound strange, confusing even. But hear me out!
By now, we all know this: I have allergies!
And although they greatly determine what I buy and eat on a daily basis, I also consider wastefulness and eco-friendliness.
Why is that?
Well, for one thing, I grew up in a family where wasting was frowned upon. I don’t believe that, at the time, anyone had the planet in mind. However, we were very much aware that wasting food was like “jeter l’argent par les fenêtres” (throwing money down the drain). We weren’t poor, but we were far from being rich. So any food not eaten and left to rot was indeed a waste of money.
My mom would monitor the evolution of our fruits and vegetables, and remind us which ones to eat as a priority. And the rule was: we were not to buy any new produces until the others had been eaten. So, I grew up to be an adult with food allergies AND a good sense of:
- How much food I eat per week, and therefore how much food I should buy
- How long veggies and fruits will last (their average shelf life), and so which ones need to be eaten first
- What to do with produces that don’t look so fresh anymore: confiture (jam), compote (sauce), soup, and roasted vegetables.
Second, our planet is in a state of emergency, and it is directly affecting our health. (If you are not familiar with this yet, read my post on how climate change is worsening our allergies.) It is thus important that we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. One of the ways we can help is by wasting less.
How is wasting fresh fruits and vegetables contributing to climate change?
Food waste is a worldwide problem that not only contributes to wasting your money, but also to damaging our environment in various ways. Think:
- Waste of space and water
- Damage to biodiversity
- Methane emission
- Fossil fuel extraction…
If you want more information, here is a quick read that will explain you the issue. 5 Ways Food Waste is Destroying Our Beautiful Planet.
How is a jam recipe helping you waste less?
Or even not waste at all?
When making a jam, preserve, compote, or soup, the fruits and vegetables are cooked and won’t look at all like what they did before. This allows you to put in any fruit that has bruised, softened, or that simply does no longer look good or fresh. Instead of just ending in your trash or compost, you are giving them a new life. In the end, it won’t show and people will only remember how good the result tasted… Delicious!
Using “passed” fruits and therefore not throwing them into the trash means 2 things:
- You are being ecofriendly by not contributing as much to methane emissions.
- In addition to having a positive impact on the planet… You are maximizing the use of your produces and therefore saving money by not needing to buy replacement fruits.
So what is in this marvelous allergy- and eco-friendly jam that I am talking about?
“Small but mighty”
Although they are tiny, chia seeds are really nutritious!
A single tablespoons of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fiber, 2.5 grams of protein, and about 70 calories. In addition, chia seeds provide you with several essential nutrients, including omega‑3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. All this contribute to a healthy gut, stronger bones, and a better immune system.
The best part is that they are flavorless! This makes it very easy to add them to ready-made dishes or incorporate them into recipes. You can eat chia seeds in the morning, at lunch or dinner. You can even drink chia seeds! For instance, in Mexico, they serve them with water, strawberries, and lime, as a very refreshing drink. Here is an article listing 35 ways to use chia seeds.
Are there any other benefits to making chia jam instead of traditional jam?
First, it is actually really easy and takes much less time that a traditional jelly or preserve recipe. If you use fruits that don’t require peeling or much cutting, it is as quick as 15 minutes. Otherwise, you will need to add prep time. Still, it will remain much faster than your regular jam recipe.
Second, in terms of allergies, it is covers all TOP 8 allergens, as well as corn, sesame, and oral allergy syndrome (OAS). People suffering from might be sensitive to pectin, which is present in apples, apricots, cherries, oranges, and carrots, among others. Chia seeds can be used instead of pectin.
Third, a chia seed jam is very low in added sugar. You are only using one tablespoon of added sugar per 2 cups of raw fruit. This is possible because the chia seeds give the jam its thicker texture, which would be obtained using sugar in traditional jam recipes.
Finally, this homemade allergy- and eco-friendly jam is more than just another spread for your morning toast. Because of its low sugar but high nutrition content, you can also eat it with a spoon as a snack or dessert without anything to worry about. You can also use it instead of jam between cake layers.
So, yes, I am telling you that there is such thing as a multi-purpose, safe, and healthy jam! How cool is that?
Just a few notes before you start cooking…
2 cups of raw fruits will make 1.5 cup of jam.
While this recipe is much more nutritious than your more common jellies, it does have the same calorie count.
This recipe works best with fruits that are fairly sweet in taste and relatively soft.
Berries, apples, pears, rhubarb, peaches, figs, kiwi…
Large fruits will need to be chopped prior to cooking.
Once done and transfered to a jam jar with a lid, your allergy- and eco-friendly jam will have the following shelf life:
- 2 weeks in the fridge
- 3 months in the freezer
No Waste Chia Seed Jam
- 1 saucepan
- 1 jar with a lid
- 1 potato masher or spoon
- 1 pear
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp agave nectar
- 4 tbsp chia seeds
- Prepare your fruits. Wash them and remove the stems, pits or seeds, and skin, as needed.
- If your using large fruits, chop them into small pieces.
- Transfer the fruits to a saucepan with the lemon juice and agave nectar, and cook them over medium heat until they break down and become syrupy. This should take about 10 minutes.
- While still in the saucepan, mash the fruits with a potato masher (or the back of a spoon or spatula), so the jam becomes fairly smooth. (If you prefer it lumpy, that is fine too!)
- Add the chia seeds to the mixture, and stir well to combine.
- Transfer your jam to a jar, and let it cool down for about 10 minutes.