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The Easiest Berry Chia Jam

Here's TMI for ya — a few months before our wedding I started having the worst stomach cramps, and I was so bloated. I constantly looked a good five months pregnant. I like to avoid the doctor's office at all costs, but eventually I felt I had no choice. 

The doctor suggested I switch up my diet and follow a specific one she recommended, and keep a food diary so we could narrow down the issue. It helped tremendously, and part of the reason is because I knew exactly what I was eating. For the first time, I was reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists. It turned out simple things (like the jam I had been eating for years) had ingredients that were triggering my sensitivity. Since then, I've been trying to have a batch of homemade staples on hand (like this berry chia jam), so I can make smarter food decisions without sacrificing taste or time. This jam couldn't be easier to make, and it's absolutely delicious. I've been having it with this coconut cashew butter on toast in the morning on weekends and in parfaits I make to take to work on weekdays. It's so yummy (and good for you!)!

Ingredients (makes two jars): 
10-12 ounces (around 2 1/2 cups) frozen raspberries 
10-12 ounces (around 2 1/4 cups) frozen blueberries 
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons orange juice (about 1/2 medium orange, juiced) 
Up to 4 tablespoons maple syrup (optional), to taste 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine frozen raspberries and blueberries, chia seeds and orange juice. Cover and let the mixture defrost for about three hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. 

Once the berries are defrosted and soft, use a potato masher to mash up the mixture to your desired consistency. I like some texture in my jam, so I don't mash it much.

Taste, and if you'd like a sweeter jam, stir in some maple syrup to taste (keep in mind that you can always just drizzle maple syrup or honey onto your jam later, if you prefer). If the chia seeds aren't nice and plump yet, let the mixture rest for about 20 minutes to let them absorb some more moisture. 

Store leftover jam in the refrigerator, covered, for about 1 week. We use these jars.
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