Local Pecan Butter and Strawberry Chia Jam

In an effort to use up the remainder of the whole pecans I received via. a farm box in the fall, I decided to whip up some pecan butter. This fresh pecan butter might be my favorite type of nut butter. Using whole pecans and shelling them myself definitely added wonderful fresh flavors, however is a huge pain in the butt. In the future I think I’ll buy local shelled pecans instead. πŸ™‚

I found this butter especially good spread on roasted sweet potatoes, sliced apples, sliced banana, and warm whole wheat pita. It would also work well replacing the peanut butter in a pb&j. The strawberry chia jam recipe that follows would serve as a great “jelly”.

IMG_7889Cinnamon Pecan Butter

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shelled pecans
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

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This past week I visited the Crescent City Farmers Market at its Uptown location. Not only was I overwhelmed by the variety of fresh food available, but the sense of community there as well. I also ran into one of my professors doing her part to support local farmers and a sustainable food system. She brought me over to an art instillation on the effect lead has on mockingbirds in New Orleans. That woman never ceases to surprise and amaze me with her wealth of knowledge, connectivity, and somewhat mysterious thought process on environmental issues.

Strawberries are finally in season here in New Orleans! Yay! I shouldn’t say “finally”, as my family up north won’t see strawberries until the end of May/beginning of June. I got a little excited and bought almost an entire flat of them. πŸ™‚ I also purchased the largest bunch of kale I’ve possibly ever seen (see pictures below).

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For my birthday I received a copy of the “Oh She Glows” cookbook from my parents. In that marvelous book, Angela Liddon includes a recipe for strawberry chia jam. The recipe is below, with only a slight reduction in the amount of sweetener. I was super excited when I came across this low sugar recipe, as jams and jellies are normally quite high in added sugars (used to sweeten but also preserve the canned product). The jam is fast and easy to make, as chia seeds are used to quickly thicken up the spread. I chose to use strawberries (as they are locally available), but you could use another type of fruit that’s more accessible in your location. Using frozen fruit is also an option. The last thing I would note here is that I’m not sure how you would “can” this jam. Since I’ve reduced the sugar content, it might not keep well. I’ve never canned before, so I don’t want to make any recommendations here. **Blog readers please share your canning tips with me if you have any! I’m just going to refrigerate my jam and spread it on sliced bananas, whole wheat bread, and roasted sweet potatoes!

Strawberry Chia Jam

Ingredients:Β 

  • 3 cups fresh (or frozen) strawberries
  • 2-3 tbl local honey (or maple syrup)
  • 2 tbl chia seeds
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Wash, de-stem, and slice the strawberries. Add them to a small pot on the stove along with the honey. Bring this to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes while stirring frequently.
  • Mash the strawberries with a potato masher (or a fork) until there are only some whole pieces left for texture.
  • Add in the chia seeds, stir, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the vanilla, allow to cool, and you’re done!

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