No matter how many recipes I use chia seeds in, it’s impossible for me to hear their name, or look at a label, without singing the iconic “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” jingle (You too?). The truth is though, that these tiny seeds represent so much more than the sprouted hair of their terracotta claim to fame. From a nutritional standpoint, one tablespoon of chia contains a higher concentration of antioxidants than a small bowl of blueberries, more calcium than a glass of milk, and up to 8x the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids included in a similar serving of salmon; talk about a superfood! While I have been including the seeds in my morning smoothies for a while now, I have also started experimenting with them in baking, and in this case, in ‘jam’ (I use the term jam loosely as this is not your typical toast spread).
When added to a liquid base, chia seeds dissolve to create a substance which resembles gelatin. Here, the gel takes the place of the pectin and copious amounts of sugar you might find in a more traditional recipe. You know I love a good spin on an idea too, so I decided to add a savory twist with red pepper and a bit of spice. This is a great condiment to make when pineapple is out of season, and not exactly sweet enough to eat as is. I like to serve it lightly broiled over a brick of cream cheese, as a party treat. It freezes well too, so feel free to whip up a batch and eat half now, and save the rest for later (The recipe will fill 2, 12-ounce jars).
If you are interested in learning more about chia seeds, or would like a sweet jam recipe – of the concord grape variety to be exact – please take a look at my latest article on Foodable Network!
- 2 Cups Peeled, Cored, Chopped, Pineapple
- ¼ Cup Diced Red Pepper
- ¼ Teaspoon (or More) Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 Tablespoons Honey
- 2-3 Cups Water
- 2.5 Tablespoons Chia Seeds (Black or White)
- Combine the pineapple, pepper, pepper flakes, honey and 2 cups of the water in a medium-sized nonstick saucepan. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the liquid has almost completely evaporated and the pineapple is soft. Add water as necessary, based on how juicy your pineapple is to start with. Essentially, the pineapple should be broken down, and the ingredients should look like they are beginning to gel.
- Optional: At this point,I like to give the whole pan (off the heat) a quick shot with my immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can quickly pulse ½ of the mixture in a regular blender or a food processor. This step is entirely up to you, and dependent upon the consistency you want to achieve, but I prefer my 'jam' to be on the smoother side. Once blended, pour the mixture back into your pan.
- Add the chia seeds to the mix, and stir constantly (the seeds will stick to the pan), for approximately five minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Allow to cool, as the 'jam' will continue to solidify as the temperature decreases.