Cranberry Orange Chia Jam comes together in minutes and is full of fresh, tangy cranberries and refreshing citrus flavor. Spread on toast, dollop on pancakes, or mix into plain yogurt or oatmeal for a low-sugar alternative to store-bought jams and jellies.
Does the word “cranberry” evoke memories of Thanksgiving (specifically, those infamous jellied cranberry molds that resemble the shape of a metal can)?
If so, you’re not alone. Cranberries are a staple on many Thanksgiving tables – mine included. But, for some reason, these flavorful tart berries tend to get the cold shoulder the other 364 days of the year.
What do you say we change that, shall we?
This Cranberry Orange Chia Jam is an extension of the cranberry sauce that I made for Thanksgiving this year… only a little more “jammy”. Because, as delicious as homemade cranberry sauce is on its own, my favorite way to enjoy it is definitely as a condiment. In the days following Thanksgiving, I found myself mixing leftovers into yogurt, using it as a sandwich spread, and even swirling it into baked goods. This got me thinking… why not turn cranberries into a wholesome, nutritious jam that I could enjoy all year-round?!
And so, this Cranberry Orange Chia Jam was born.
This recipe is for anyone who ever dreamt of making homemade jam, but was too intimidated by the intricate canning process for their dreams to ever fully come to fruition (fruit pun totally intended). This chia jam comes together in minutes, requires only a handful of ingredients, and does not involve any crazy sterilization techniques or special equipment. All you need is 5 simple, wholesome ingredients, a saucepan and 10 minutes. Now that’s my jam.
Chia seeds are the secret weapon in this recipe and what ultimately catalyzes the magical transformation from cranberry sauce to cranberry jam. I’ve professed my love for these little seeds on here before, but if you think that’s going to stop me from bragging about them now, then think again. Chia seeds are bursting with omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fats that may help to reduce inflammation and improve cognitive function), fiber (which increases satiety, improves digestion and helps to reduce cholesterol), and antioxidants (which help protect the body from the damage of harmful molecules called “free radicals”). Oh, and if that’s not enough, they’re also a rich source of many important minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Pretty impressive, huh?
Pair that with all of the nutritional benefits of cranberries (anti-inflammatory properties, healthy urinary tract function, and cardiovascular health just to name a few) and you’ve got yourself one heck of a healthy spread.
But aside from all that, one of my absolute favorite parts of making my own jam is being able to control the ingredients that go into it. While most store-bought jams and jellies contain upwards of 15 grams (nearly 4 teaspoons!!) of sugar per 2 tablespoons, this jam contains less than half that amount (an estimated 6 g per 2 tbsp based on my calculations). If you ask me, I’d say that’s a significant improvement. After all, there’s no reason for there to be more added sugar in your jam than there is fruit.
Now, as the great Beyonce once said…
I don’t think you’re for this jelly. (errr, jam?)
- 2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tbsp water
- juice and zest of 1 orange*
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- If using fresh cranberries, rinse well and drain.
- Add cranberries and water to a medium sauce pan, cover, and place over medium heat. Cook until cranberries begin to bubble and pop, about 10 minutes (keep a close eye on them to ensure that they don't overflow).
- Remove from heat and mash remaining cranberries using a potato masher or the back of a spoon.
- Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Transfer jam to glass container (with an airtight lid) and allow to cool before placing in refrigerator.
- To get the most juice from your orange, use your palm to roll the orange against the counter before slicing in half and squeezing out the juice.
- Makes about 1 cup. Jam may be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.