Anyone have trouble making ZZZ’s? I’ve been blessed with a supernatural ability to sleep through anything (including storms and my alarm clock), but I know many who aren’t so lucky. Both Alex and I do, however, struggle with being well-rested due to our night-owl tendencies. Recently we’ve been focusing on being responsible with our sleep habits and when we do it, it absolutely pays off. We’re less stressed, more pleasant, and at least 85% more creative than when we’re sleep deprived. So lately we’ve been trying to cut back on the late night Gilmore Girls binging in favor of some actual pillow time.
Recently we were approached by the Cherry Marketing Institute to create a recipe with tart cherries related to sleep. Montmorency tart cherries (a variety of cherries, not a brand) contain melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates our sleep cycle. Here, we chose a chia jam with tart cherries as a comforting bedtime snack.
Chia jam is one of our favorites to make as it’s incredibly simple and utilizes the natural gel quality of chia seeds. Instead of using a gelatin, the chia seeds naturally thicken fruit into a jam-like texture. We created this cherry chai chia jam mostly for the fun alliteration (shout out to fellow word nerds!). However, it actually turned out to be our favorite of the jams we’ve made. The chai spices gently add a cozy flavor to the tart cherries, which are sweetened with just the right amount of maple syrup. Slather it on a thick piece of toast and it’s a naturally sweet treat that also promotes good sleep. (It’s hygge, for sure.)
Let us know if you make this recipe! Below is a little Q&A about this variety of cherries.
- What are Montmorency tart cherries? They’re a superfruit known for their distinctive sour-sweet flavor and unique nutrient profile (they’re a variety of cherries, not a brand).
- How are they different from sweet fresh cherries? Montmorency tart cherries are available year-round in dried, juice and frozen forms. Tart cherries are rarely found in their fresh form.
- Where are they grown? Over 90% of tart cherries consumed in the US are grown in the US. Traverse City, Mich. is considered the Cherry Capital of the World, since about 75% of the Montmorency tart cherry crop is grown in Michigan. Alex and I are big Michigan fans — check out our Traverse City Travel Guide from a few years back!
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This tart cherry chai chia jam recipe is sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute. Product opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors of A Couple Cooks!
- 10 ounces Montmorency frozen cherries (2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- In a small skillet, add the tart cherries, lemon juice, maple, spices, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water.
- Simmer about 10 minutes over medium heat until cherries begin to break down, stirring occasionally and using the back of a spoon to break them apart.
- Once the cherries are broken down, add 2 tablespoons chia seeds and stir until combined. Turn off heat and wait for the jam to thicken, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a canning jar and refrigerate; the texture will set even further when chilled. Keeps refrigerated for 2 weeks