To Market We Go + Strawberry and Chia Seed Jam

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Scratch beneath Sydney’s surface and you’ll find a treasure trove of Real Food foodies from the heart of Sydney and its surrounds: from Elke’s local raw honey, to Pepe Saya’s butter to Kate Walsh’s Real Food Project, Sydney is bursting with thoughtful and yummy goodness. On top of this (lucky us!) we have some truly outstanding farmers bringing their wares to a local market near you.

Who doesn’t love a farmers market? Every now and again we manage to get to the North Sydney Produce markets; Darling Mills pickled cornichons and the Sweetness the Patisserie’s anything are like little keys that can take you away to a blissful flavour wonderland. Sigh. Just thinking about them now… However, many of the Sydney markets can run on the expensive side, and my desire to source and support local food/growers is thwarted by my (necessary!) frugal ways. How I would love to partake in your organic apple cider, but I’d prefer to keep my electricity connected. Which is why I am so loving the Northern Beaches Friday markets*. They’re weekly (score!) and have a number of farmers bringing in their loads at prices I can actually afford. It’s not so much a gourmet market, as it is the kind of market that comes to mind when you think farmers market.

Over the Moon milk (from Dungog) is the best tasting stuff you’ll find aside from getting it straight from the cow, The Free Range Butcher (from Barraba) does a great deal on birds and there’s plenty of fruit and veg to choose from.

Also, pony and donkey rides, a petting zoo for the kids, a jumping castle and much more. Fuhn. (Hence adding this to the Project Tourist section). And loads of I’m hungry give me something to eat right now stalls, including Rustic Flair’s truck with oh my goodness, the most amazing Elderflower tea.

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Last Friday, we were running out of strawberry jam, so we bought a half kilo bag of strawberries and headed home to make some of our own.

I started with this recipe from mountainmamacooks (super superb blog), and tweaked from there.

STRAWBERRY AND CHIA SEED JAM

Ingredients
400g strawberries
2 tbs chia seeds
2 tbs raw honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Method
Start by washing, de-greening and chopping the strawberries. (If you’re after a smooth consistency, mountainmamacooks suggests throwing them in the blender, I however, was after that chunky squashy consistency, hence the chopping.)

Next, place all the ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Once the jam begins to simmer, turn the stove down and let it simmer for five minutes or so, until the strawberries look soft.

Mash the strawberries with a potato masher until your mix is sufficiently squashy for your tastes.

Transfer to a sterilised jar to thicken a little more. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Notes
Why chia?
Chia is an amazing seed, full of fibre and a complete protein. These seeds also have a similar texture (slightly gummier) to strawberry seeds, so it’s easy to slip in for fussy eaters. Using chia also replaces the thickening action that pectin and sugar, or jam sugar gives – a far superior alternative in terms of health. However, omitting the sugar does reduce it’s shelf life as sugar is such a powerful preservative.

Why lemon juice?
Helps keep the pretty red colour. Another function normally done by the sugar.

Why raw honey?
I use raw because that’s what we have on hand, although I know by simmering, I lose some of the nutritional benefits – even so, honey has lower GI than sugar, so is a better alternative. Also, I think the jam would be too tart without it, but if you don’t need the edge taken off, by all means, omit it.

Mss&MRs

*The Northern Beaches Markets are every Friday, 8am till 1pm, 1472 Pittwater Road, Warriewood.

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