A few weeks ago I took my children to a local strawberry farm. And it’s possible that I spent close to $20 on strawberries. Or not. Or maybe so. It was worth every penny and I even think we saved some pennies as they ate a few strawberries as they picked. Just a few (or 10). Who’s counting?
But with two bucket loads of strawberries, you have to come up with something to make besides cut-up strawberries at every meal, post-pick. Freezing the berries was one option, but my children seem less thrilled about smoothies these days and so I figured that would be a waste and only I would eat the berries. For several years now, I’ve tried to figure out a way to make strawberry jam/preserves that would be thick enough to spread and sweet enough to enjoy, but wasn’t full of refined sugars.
The other day during my littlest’s nap time, magic happened.
I made use of the last 4 cups of my strawberries, along with some chia seeds, maple syrup and lemon juice. And as my food processor whirred, I knew I was on to something. Something delicious.
A few hours later, I tasted a little spoonful of amazing. Thanks to the chia seeds, we’re talking about a spread that is packed FULL of omega-3s, a totally soluble seed that is a perfect protein. The spread is low on the glycemic index because of the use of maple syrup (a known natural low-sugar sweetener) and due to berries’ natural low sugar content. Factor in a whole bunch of antioxidants from the strawberries and lemon juice and you’re going to do a happy dance in your kitchen just like I did.
And the best part? This is kid tested and both kids and momma-approved! My children ate the spread by the spoonful (fine by me) and then asked if they could put it on their grilled chicken at dinner.
Tip #387 for picky eaters: offer as many dips as you can think of to get your children to try their meats and veggies. One day they’ll grow out of the pickiness and enjoy the foods in the natural form. Until then, get creative.
The way this spread works, is by way of the chia seeds taking place of your traditional pectin. Chia seeds soak up liquid, expand and create a gelatin-like consistency in any liquid they’re in. Note: if you like chia seeds in your smoothies, eat up quickly or else your smoothie will become pudding if you set it aside for too long. So for this spread, the consistency is not quite a jiggly jelly and not as sticky as a preserve. I feel like it’s the most fresh and perfect fruit spread I’ve ever tasted. I want to encourage you to buy your berries local. And try using blackberries, raspberries or even blueberries.