Easy Vegan Cranberry Balsamic Jam with Mint and Chia Seeds

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Mood: I’m tired of boring, overly sweet & one dimensional store-bought breakfast jams. I want flavours that will surprise me and textures that will delight me. I’ve also never cooked with Cranberries before & there seem to be a lot of them on sale in stores recently. Must experiment! FYI, I’m also feeling a tad bit lazy, so I can’t put in too much hard work either. Basically, time & effort wise, I’m going to channel Phoebe Buffay and say: “Oh, I wish I could, but I don’t want to.” (Currently binge-watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Season 1…again!) So…Easy, check. Exciting, check. Off to the kitchen, I go!

PS: Another festive coloured spread for your holiday themed breakfast table:) This one is sweet & the other one (Herb & Garlic Vegan Cream Cheese) was savoury, so now you have a perfect pair:)

Time: 15 mins (plus 3-12 hours chilling time)
Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup (perfect jam jar size!)
Category: Side; Breakfast; Spread; Jam
Author: Animagus Eats

Ingredients:
• 2 cups Cranberries (fresh)*
• 10-12 tbsp Maple/Agave Syrup (about 2/3 cup)*
• 1-2 tsp Dried Mint Leaves*
• 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar*
• 1/4 cup Chia Seeds*
• 1/2- 1 tsp Sea Salt
• 1 cup Water

Method:
1. First, wash the Cranberries, drain them & add them to a heavy bottomed saucepan.

2. Add the water & about 3/4 of the Maple/Agave Syrup quantity to the saucepan & let the mixture simmer at low-medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. Very soon, you’ll see that the cranberries will start to crack & pop. Don’t worry, it’s a good sign:) Keep stirring the mixture, now & again:)

3. Do a quick taste test & if the mixture is not sweet enough for you, then add the rest of the Maple/Agave Syrup to the saucepan.

4. Next, add the Balsamic Vinegar, Sea Salt & Dried Mint Leaves & stir well. 

5. Let the mixture simmer for a while (about 3-4 minutes). Once it’s reached a perfect jammy consistency,  it’s time for my usual Secret Sauce: Taste.Tweak.Repeat:) Once you’re happy with the flavours, turn off the gas.

6. Add the Chia Seeds to the jam, combine well & transfer the mixture to a jar. Once it has cooled down, chill it in the refrigerator for 3-12 hours. The thing with Chia Seeds is that the longer you chill it, the better the texture & the end result will be:) So it’s best to make this after dinner & then it chill it overnight, so that it’s ready, just in time for breakfast:) 

7. Fast forward to the morning..your delicious Vegan Chia-Mint-Cranberry-Balsamic Jam awaits! Beware, this is not your regular friendly neighbour jam. It tastes super funky & has almost a port-wine-like kick & decadence. Sweet. Tangy. Nutty. Luscious. Minty Fresh. It’s basically a jammy masterpiece. Enjoy it with bread, crackers, cakes, buns, vegan cheese, the works. Garnish with some dry/fresh Mint Leaves to add an extra touch of Red & Green Christmas spirit:) Okay, enough talk for now, my beloved jam beckons. I think you should get started on yours too;) Happy Eating:)

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Notes:
* If you don’t have Cranberries, then you can also use other berries like Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, etc. The jam may not taste as tangy as mine, but it will still be delicious:)

* You can also use Vegan Sugar (I recommend Vegan Brown Sugar) instead of Maple/Agave Syrup. Just add the sugar in parts & adjust the quantities, as needed, so that the jam doesn’t become too sweet:)
* I used dried Mint Leaves but I’m sure fresh Mint Leaves would work too. Adjust the quantities, as needed, depending on how minty you want it to be:)
* If you don’t like the tangy taste of Balsamic Vinegar, then just leave it out:)
* If you can’t get your hands on Chia Seeds, then technically, you can skip that too. Your jam definitely won’t have the same texture as mine, but it will still taste pretty awesome:)

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