I often find myself at the tail end of food trends. I was way late in discovering things like spaghetti squash, smoothie bowls, and roasted brussels sprouts, and I have yet to try many things I so desperately want to like burrata, swordfish, and stuffed squash blossoms. However, with chia seeds this was not the case. Though largely unavailable and unheard of a decade ago, I first tried chia seeds as a sophomore in high school. My cross country coach believed that the seeds provided a plethora of nutrition and energy, and she told us of the ancient Mexican and South American cultures whose warriors attributed much of their stamina to chia seeds. Since then, chia seeds have steadily grown in popularity, and they are now easily accessible in nearly any grocery store. I’ve been sprinkling chia seeds on my yogurt nearly daily since high school, but it wasn’t until recently that I tried using them as a thickening agent. I was amazed at their ability to soak up the juicy blueberry sauce in this recipe to form a texture similar to jam made with pectin.
The chia seeds lend a unique texture to the jam that at first I wasn’t too sure about. It quickly grew on me though, and I now enjoy having it on toast in the mornings. This was also my first time using lavender in cooking, and is something to cross off my bucket list! The flavor combo of blueberry and lavender was lovely, and after declaring guava my favorite flavor in Hawaii, I’m decidedly smitten with floral flavors.
Note: The amount of lavender may need to be adjusted. The first time I made the jam the lavender scent way overpowered the blueberries, so I cut the quantity from the original recipe in half. I used dried lavender from my garden, so it could be that it happened to be a little more potent.
1½ cups blueberries
½ Tbsp. dried lavender
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1. Heat blueberries, lavender, water, and honey in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until mixture is simmering and the blueberries have broken down, about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in vanilla extract.
2. Stir in chia seeds and let the mixture sit at room temperature for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. Jam can be stored it in a sealed container in the fridge for about a week.
Yield: 1 pint
(Recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is)