I am officially at the start of preparing and planning for the holiday season. I have begun to dream of Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts.
Thanksgiving is a food blogger’s favorite holiday! It is all about feasting on a spread of delicious food.
Oh, yeah, guess there is that whole giving thanks thing, and of course the spending-time-with-your family ordeal.
I kid, I kid!
However, everyone does gather around the table for lively conversation, catching up, and the scrumptious food! So really the Thanksgiving meal is a huge deal.
If you are hosting Thanksgiving this year don’t freak out! We’ve got this.
I have never hosted a big holiday such as Thanksgiving myself-hello, we JUST bought a house-but I do know that preparing as much of the food in advance is key to a stress-free Thanksgiving. We can all agree on that, right?
So, I have a side dish recipe for you that just takes 20minutes to make, is super-duper impressive, and it can be made up to a month in advance!
Now, that is a recipe to be thankful for.
I present to you Cranberry Chia Seed Jam.
That’s right, we are going to make totally impressive jam in just 20 minutes. The secret to a 20 minute jam: the chia seeds.
Chia seeds are like magic. When they are wet they swell up to create a thick, pudding-like consistency. Or in this case jam.
There is no pectin or stirring fruit over a pot for hours, or canning involved. None of that nonsense. There is no time; it’s Thanksgiving! Let the chia seeds do all the work for you.
Cranberry chia seed jam can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Go make this dish right now and cross one menu item off your list and the jam will be standing by in the fridge and waiting to be served to your guests on November 27th!
How does it taste, you ask?
Cranberry-y, perfectly tart, easily adaptable for more sweetness, thick like jam, and festive.
Serving jam for a side at a dinner sounds super weird; what do I serve it with?
I am so glad you asked. There are so many options:
Flaky biscuits with butter
Corn bread or muffins
Baked sweet potatoes
Slather it on pieces of turkey
Eat it with a spoon
And for any leftovers:
Spread it on toast or muffins the next morning
Stir it into yogurt or oatmeal
Spread it on a sandwich made with leftover turkey
This jam is very versatile and great any time of day. But I know your guests will be extra impressed when you serve it at Thanksgiving dinner. They will think you slaved over a hot stove for hours to reach that jam-like consistency, but you and I, we know the truth.
What are you waiting for? Go make this jam right now and be one step ahead of your game plan!
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and rinsed*
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 ½ teaspoons honey, more if needed (or agave nectar if vegan)
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Juice of 1 ½ to 2 oranges
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds***
- 2 teaspoons orange zest (about 2 oranges)
- Heat a small sauce pan over high heat. Add the cranberries and water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Allow the cranberries to simmer until they have popped, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Alternately you can transfer to a blender to puree, then return to the pot.**
- Turn the heat down to low. Add the orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Add the honey, or agave nectar if vegan, a little at a time and taste-test, adding more as needed. You may need to add more sweetener than 2 ½ teaspoons depending on how tart your batch of cranberries might be. I do tend to like my cranberry dishes on the tart side, so sweeten a little at a time as desired.
- Stir in the chia seeds and allow to heat for 8 minutes, or until the jam is clinging to the back of your spoon.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the orange zest. Transfer the jam to an airtight container (I recommend a glass mason jar). Allow the jam to cool in the fridge until chilled and chia seeds have expanded before serving, at least 4 hours.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
- Serve the jam with toast, dinner rolls, biscuits, muffins, stirred into yogurt, or on a turkey sandwich.
**If you prefer a more chunky texture to your jam then you can skip the puree step.
***If you are making a chia seed jam with a different type of berry, I suggest you add another tablespoon of chia seeds to thicken the jam. Cranberries tend to be very thick on their own.
Cook time does not include the 4 hour chilling time in the refrigerator.