That’s a long recipe title, isn’t it? I debated leaving out the “lemon and vanilla-kissed” part, but given that the weather is firmly in the frigid winter category after a couple of briefly sunny and mild days, “lemon and vanilla-kissed” feels especially good. Even better when combined with strawberry and peach.
I know, I know. I live in New England, where winters are always terrible (except that one eerily warm one in 2010-11, I think?). But I promise you, this winter has been bitterly cold and especially long, even by Boston standards. So that’s why you’re seeing a seasonally inappropriate recipe here. Because I need a taste of summer for sanity’s sake, and if you’ve had a similar winter, I bet you do too.
Organic strawberries were $5.99 a pound at Whole Foods and I cringed, but I still bought them. I had to. I couldn’t find fresh peaches (duh), though I did find frozen and ended up buying frozen strawberries for the jam as well, which meant that I savored the fresh strawberries in all of their delicious simplicity. Like cherries and watermelon, one can never have too many strawberries.
Chia seed jam is something I’ve been making since last summer, after seeing a really simple recipe for a blueberry vanilla variation on the back of a Bob’s Red Mill bag. I’ve adapted it over the months to use even less sweetener, because unless we’re talking rhubarb, most fruit is perfectly sweet all on its own – despite what the ingredients on store-bought jam would have us believe.
Strawberry and peach are a great pairing, and lemon and vanilla bean make this really something special. The way it will make your house smell when you’re cooking it…it’s intoxicating, almost to the point where you’ll forget that it “feels like 3” outside.
I’m already contemplating turning this jam into one very awesome pie filling, but in the meantime, I recommend a pretty coconut milk yogurt and (chocolate!) granola parfait. Or you could just eat it straight out of the jar. That works too.
- 10 ounces frozen strawberries, defrosted
- 10 ounces frozen sliced peaches, defrosted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or coconut nectar or maple syrup)
- 2½ tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract)
- stevia to taste (optional, I used 10 drops of liquid vanilla stevia)
- Combine the defrosted strawberries, peaches, and agave nectar in a small saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the fruit begins to soften, about 5 minutes. The strawberries will break down on their own, but you can use a fork or a potato masher to mash the peach slices if you like. Keep the texture a bit chunky, unless you'd prefer a smoother jam.
- Add the chia seeds to the saucepan and reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring constantly. Cook the jam for an additional 5 minutes, or until very thick.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest, and vanilla.
- Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary. I used a few drops of liquid stevia.
- Transfer the jam to a jar or airtight container and allow it to cool, then slather it on toast, use it in a parfait, or make one killer pb & j. I also like to add it to oatmeal or as a sauce for banana soft-serve.
- Chia seed jam should be kept in the refrigerator and will last about a week.
Photography by Aaron Scott.
I’m trying to figure out how I can live in Boston for late Spring through Fall, then move somewhere sunny and warm December through April. Southern California, Arizona, Miami…those would all work.
Let’s take a quick mental vacation:
If you could move according to the seasons, where would you live?