Third anniversaries are for giving leather, apparently. Normally this would mean wallets? Shoes? Hideous leather housewares? But coming off a year of Fifty Shades, the 3rd Anniversary is probably more exciting than usual. Not for us though. Nope. When is the vanilla anniversary? Too far?
SUGAR FREE CHIA JAM MADE WITH BLACKBERRIES AND THYME BLOSSOMS! YAY!!!
(Whoa, slow down. I'm excited for food. Let me start again from a calmer place)
Well, hello. Have you been outside lately? It's freaking lovely out there. At least here in Vegas. Sorry if you live some place where you have to like, scrape ice off your windshield or, I don't know, wear a coat? Honestly though, don't be too jealous of our sunshine. It's going to be boiling lava hot in about a month. Probably earlier. We get about two weeks of decent weather in the Spring and again in the Fall, in between the times where it's one thousand degrees outside and when it's flipping freezing. Don't worry though, it's also broken up by apocalyptic wind storms that are super fun.
Anyhow, we've been playing outside, and gardening, and all sorts of good weather activities. We've also been experimenting with "time out"...
...which is bullshit.
I'm sure it will work in the long run, but right now is not the time to sell me on the virtues of time out. Ugh. I'm frustrated just writing about that. So, my child is super interested in doing jerk things with his plastic golf clubs. These range from hitting small dogs, throwing clubs into the pond, and clubbing the flowers that are doing their best to survive in this desert. Hence, time out.
In between time outs we've been picking flowers, pruning the roses, training the trumpet vines, and all around torturing the flowers. I wonder why Carter thinks bashing the foliage is the plan? Huh. I have been eyeing the French Thyme and wondering, what I can do with all the little blooms that are exploding off of the carpet of Thyme under the roses. I already snipped the blooms off of the chives and drowned those suckers in white balsamic. I'll show you the glory that is Chive Blossom Vinegar when it's ready in a few weeks. I decided that the thyme blooms would be perfect with some berries. Right?! Yeah, that plan evolved into some super yummy jam. It's my new jam. I said that in my head like it's my new jam. Like my slow jam. Like how Poison by Bel Biv Devoe is my jam.
It's sugar free, crap free, bug free, since I rinsed the thyme like a fancy lady. Like, how a fancy lady would rinse herbs, not how I'd rinse a fancy lady. Thought I should clear that up before we move on.
This recipe requires you to remove the tiny little thyme blossoms off the thyme heads. Thymes heads? Does that make sense? Ok. Rip off flowers. Huh, another mixed message to my toddler. That kid has got to be so damned confused.
Here's what you need:
10 oz. Frozen Blackberries (about 1.5 C)
1/4 C Xylitol (or another sweetener, but Xylitol really works here, but it's good for your teeth)
4-5 Sprigs of Thyme with Blossoms
1-2 T Thyme Blossoms removed from the springs
1/4 t Vanilla
2 T Milled Chia (you can use chia seeds, but the milled stuff keeps the texture more jam-ish, I like it both ways)
Here's what the thyme blooms look like in the wild,
You're going to want to pull those sucker's heads off. It's going to take awhile and you're going to have to be very careful and not completely kill those poor abused flowers. It's fine if you have lots of green when you remove them. No biggie. Go ahead and pluck a good amount. A tablespoon or two-ish.
I rinsed the sprigs first and that made the pluckin' a little tough. Wet blooms stick to your fingers. Next time I'll either let them dry first or I'll just not wash it. What? Like it's going to kill me? No. (Said the dead fancy lady)
So, thaw your berries in a small pot over medium heat with the lid on. Go ahead and throw the 4-5 sprigs in at this point. You can add them near the end if you're worried about too much Thyme-y-ness in the jam.
Once the berries are thawed and getting warm and watery, add the xylitol, vanilla and water. Stir it up and simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes. Go a little longer if it's too watery, just to reduce it down a bit.
Mash the berries a bit with either a potato masher or a fork or something until you have a good consistency for jam. This is going to vary for everyone, but don't mash it to crap. Just a bit to release the juice and avoid gigantor chucks in your jam. Be gentle.
Add the chia and stir it into your jam. If you decide to use the seeds instead, you're going to need to play with the amount here. I'd probably stick to the same amount, maybe 1 more tablespoon. So, 3 tablespoons? Let it simmer a few. Remove from heat and cool in the pot to allow it to thicken partially.
Fold the blossoms into the jam, very gently. Although the blooms are super cute and pretty, they're going to get engulfed by jam. They were pretty while they lasted, but their flavor will live on.
RIP Thyme Blossoms
That's it. Put it in a mason jar, or jars, and stick it in the fridge to cool and thicken fully. The chia makes it get all gelatinous. It's pretty cool.
Obviously this isn't like normal preserves. Well, I guess you could "jar" it, but that's too much for me today. Time out has exhausted me, guys.
We use this to flavor our Greek Yogurt. If we ate bread we'd eat it bread. Carter eats it with almond butter in a sandwich, that he eats crust first and leaves the middle?!? What the hell is that about? Bizarro child and his bizarro kid cuisine.
I was going to chit-chat about the virtues and accolades of CHIA!!! But those exclamation points are about all the attention that chia will get in this blog, as I'm hearing all sort of things fly out of my kid's crib and, unless I want the next thing to fly out to be him, I'd better go get him from his nap.
Chia is incredible. Trust me. Eat it. Sing the song. Eat some more.