I grew up eating my Grandma’s strawberry freezer jam. We ate it on bread, pancakes, muffins, and when we thought we could get away with it, by the spoonful right out of the jar. Those were the days of young taste buds that crave sugar and nothing is ever too sweet. When I started making my own jam, I was shocked at how much sugar went into traditional jam. Nowadays, my mature taste buds prefer to taste more of the fruit and far less sugar.
Cooking Light (June 2004) has a good recipe I discovered several years ago that has 3 ingredients, no pectin, and far lass sugar than the recipe my Grandma used to use. Recently, I was a chaperone on a field trip with my son to a farm where our group got to pick fresh strawberries. The berries were sweet so I bought more afterwards and wanted to create an even better version of the Cooking Light recipe I had been using. What if I cut out the sugar all together and used honey? And what if I increased the nutrition value without changing the texture by adding chia seeds? My Simple Natural Strawberry Jam was born and the fruit is the star of the show in this recipe.
Simple Natural Strawberry Jam
- 8-10 cups chopped Strawberries
- Zest of 2 lemons & juice of the same 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/3 cup apple or grape juice
- 1/2-3/4 cup honey
In a large pot or sauce pan, add chopped strawberries and lemon zest; bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reserve the juice of the lemons for later. Simmer (low boil) uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Combine chia seeds and apple/grape juice and allow to sit while the strawberries cook. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 10 minutes, and stir in reserved lemon juice, soaked chia seeds, and honey. Allow to cool for another 10 minutes prior to pouring into glass jars or containers. Refrigerate or freeze. Use to top yogurt or ice cream, on bread or toast, or by the spoonful!
Note: Do not expect this jam to taste like store bought or traditional homemade jam. It is less sweet but can be easily sweetened by increasing the honey a bit or adding agave after it’s cooked.
School is out and so are the fresh fruits and vegetables! Summer is the best time to eat perfectly ripened, juicy berries loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many years ago, I was with my friend Pam in Las Vegas and we went to the crepe place in Paris (the casino that looks like the Eiffel Tower). We ordered triple berry crepes and as we ate she said, “Oh man, this tastes like summer in my mouth!” It was winter in Michigan at the time and a little taste of summer in Vegas was something we both needed.
Over the years, I have thought of her saying that and how much food is a part of our seasons. Apples, pumpkins, and cinnamon are as much a part of Fall as the leaves changing on the trees. Winter makes me crave veggie laden soups and stews that have cooked all day in the slow cooker. Summer is reserved for salads, berries, and refreshing iced tea. This salad bursts with freshness, crunch and creaminess that is a virtual summer party in my mouth.
Bolthouse Farms makes an exceptional line of yogurt based salad dressings that have become my go to when I don’t have time to whip up something homemade. Their Mango Chipotle, at 40 calories for 2 tablespoons, is the perfect compliment to any fruit based salad. Bolthouse Farms dressings are found in most major grocery stores in the refrigerator section.
Avocado, Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad
- Mixed Salad Greens (Spinach, Romaine, Kale, Arugula)
- Avocado, sliced
- Strawberries, quartered
- Turkey Breast, chopped
- Walnuts, chopped
- Almonds, chopped
- Goat Cheese, crumbled
- Mango Chipotle Bolthouse Farms Salad Dressing
Directions: Built your salad and enjoy with a tall glass of unsweetened iced green tea! Mango, blueberries, and apples would be great add-ins to this salad.
Click here for more information about the health benefits of berries including weight loss and metabolism boost!