A bowl of jam filled with chia seeds sits next to cranberries and apples.

Chia Apple Cranberry Jam


With the holidays just around the corner, and an abundance of seasonal fruits in the stores, making chia jam can be a great activity for a rainy, stormy day. Not only do you get to reap the nutritional benefits of seasonal anti-inflammatory fruit, but you can also gift this unique and delicious jam to friends and family alike.


by Dr. Kelley Garrison

Licensed Naturopath at Foothills Naturopathic

We all know and love apples and cinnamon, the quintessential aroma of fall. Yet, let’s not get boxed in with this combination. Inspired by my favorite jam, orange marmalade, I opted to leave out cinnamon and instead add orange, for a sweet and tangy flavor profile. This combination is lovely served with both sweet and savory foods. You really can’t go wrong. Rosemary roll with dinner? Spread on some apple cranberry jam. Greek yogurt bowl for breakfast? Stir in some apple cranberry jam. Pork loin for your protein? Top with apple cranberry jam. You get my point.

The taste is delicious, but the health benefits are great too, especially when it comes to your gut. Cranberries, apples, and oranges are very rich in unique polyphenols that help boost the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and reduce inflammation. Cranberries help encourage the growth of a specific keystone species called akkermansia which helps improve metabolic health including blood sugar regulation and body weight. Oranges are rich in two unique polyphenols naringenin and hesperidin which have been found to help reduce inflammation in the lining of the stomach. Finally, apples (especially their peels) are rich in pectin and polyphenols which feed good gut bacteria lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. So together this combination of apples, cranberries, and oranges, can be a very tasty anti-inflammatory gut tonic.

Now, let’s talk about the chia. Chia seeds are a rich source of soluble fiber, and naturally gel when mixed with liquids. Therefore chia, along with the natural pectin from the apples, helps thicken the jam without needing a lot of sugar to help the jam reach its set point. This recipe only uses ¼ cup of additional sweetener and simultaneously provides about 1.5g of fiber per 2 tablespoon serving. That’s definitely a win-win!

Finally, you can easily adapt this recipe. If you want to add additional spices, fresh sliced ginger root, cardamom pods, or a cinnamon stick are great options. Just make sure to remove them before you puree the mixture. Furthermore, you can choose what sweetener you would like to use and increase the amount as desired. Sugar is a neutral sweetener, and doesn’t add an additional flavor of its own. Honey and maple syrup on the other hand will. Since Washington state is one of the top producers of both apples and cranberries, this jam is both a regionally and seasonally inspired treat that is great for sharing or gifting this holiday season.