This Strawberry Chia Jam is raw, refined sugar-free, and pectin-free. Instead, it is thickened with super nutritious chia seeds. Great on toast, yogurt, or ice cream.
A Healthy Strawberry Chia Jam Recipe
This definitely is not your traditional jam that you used to cook every summer with your mom and then enjoy all winter long.
The problem with most traditional jams is that they require an awful amount of sugar. The large quantity of sugar not only sweetens the fruit, but it also preserves it for many months or years. This was probably quite beneficial in times when there were no other (healthier) ways of preserving (like a fridge or freezer).
The other issue with traditional jams is that the fruit is cooked down for a long time. This thickens the jam, but unfortunately, it also destroys many of the fruit's nutritional properties. The addition of chia seeds allows the jam to thicken without any cook time or adding tons of sugar.
How to Make Healthy Jam
This robustly flavoured strawberry chia jam is incredibly easy to make. You can use it as a base jam recipe for other summer fruit and berries you like. It is a raw jam meaning that you can preserve the nutrients in your chosen fruit rather than destroying them with heat.
1. To make this healthy jam, you simply combine the chia seeds with your choice of natural sweetener and some lemon juice. The natural sweetener can be either raw honey or maple syrup. These both have a fuller flavour than simple white sugar. If in a pinch, you could use pasteurized honey. However, raw is so much better because it is unadulterated by heat. As a result, it has all of its quality nutrition intact, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and polyphenols.
2. Next, you need to wash your strawberries and remove their green tops.
3. To make things easy, you can use a food processor to chop the strawberries. Simply pulse them to a consistency that you like for jam, such as chunky or smooth. Afterward, you stir in the chia mixture into the strawberries.
4. Pour the mix into a jar, and refrigerate until the chia seeds thicken the jam.
The time for this process should only be about 30 minutes. This is much more efficient making jam the normal way as you don't have to seal jars in a water bath or ensure that your jam mixture is at an appropriate temperature. Simply mixing the jam and refrigerating will allow you to enjoy the bounty of summer strawberries easily.
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds have become super popular due to their nutrient density and high fiber. Chia seeds also make a great addition to healthy recipes like chia pudding or overnight oats.
Chia seeds come from a plant that originated in Mexico. They are small, round black seeds similar to poppy seeds, but can absorb a lot of fluid in a short amount of time. This is what makes them ideal for this homemade jam, as well as dishes like chia pudding.
Can I Make this Jam Without a Food Processor?
Absolutely! While a food processor is a convenient way of chopping strawberries quickly, you could simply chop the berries with a knife or crush them with a potato masher. This may take a little longer but it will ultimately give you more control over the final product. Sometimes it is easy to puree something beyond what you want in a food processor. By using a knife, you can ensure your strawberry mixture is as chunky or smooth as you like.
If desired, you could also try to make this jam in a blender or with an immersion blender. The only issue you may encounter with this that the jam mixture will turn smooth very quickly. If you are someone who enjoys a chunkier jam, the food processor or knife option may be a better choice.
Is this Strawberry Jam Vegan?
Yes, like many jam recipes, this strawberry jam is perfectly suitable for vegan diets. The majority of the ingredients are vegan. The raw honey is the only item that you may want to avoid if you enjoy a vegan diet, but luckily, robust maple syrup works just as well as a sweetener. Moreover, strawberries love the complex taste it gives.
Can I Make this Jam with Other Summer Fruit?
Yes, you can! Since this chia seed strawberry jam recipe doesn't rely on heat or sugar to thicken it, you can use many different types of fruits. The only thing you may want to adjust to taste is the maple syrup, honey, or lemon juice. This is because different fruits have varying levels of sweetness and acidity.
Another note is that your choice of fruit should be ripe and juicy in order to make a nice chia seed jam. Fruit and berries that are in season and local to you are always a great option. Consider trying a batch of blackberry, blueberry, or raspberry jam, or mixing them for a mixed berry jam.
Additionally, ripe, sticky peaches, plums, cherries, or apricots would be great during mid to late summer. You could even add some flavourings such as savoury herbs like basil, a dash of vanilla, or some nutmeg and cinnamon. The flavour combinations can be endless when you are making small batches of this chia seed jam on a weekly basis.
How to Store Jam
This chia jam recipe doesn't have a large quantity of sugar and you don't seal it in a water bath, so it doesn't keep fresh for very long. Since it is a fresh jam, you will want to store it in the refrigerator. It should keep in a sealed container like a mason jar for up to 1 week, but since this is a smaller batch, it should be easy to get through. Besides having this chia jam on toast in the morning, you could drizzle it over oatmeal or yogurt with an extra sprinkle of chia seeds. It also makes a great dessert sauce by being spooned over vanilla ice cream or freshly baked cheesecake.
If you don't feel you will be able to use this chia seed jam in a week, though, another option is to freeze it. For this, you can simply divide the jam between airtight containers and freeze it immediately. The jam should keep its integrity in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you have a large enough container, you can freeze it at the same time, but you may prefer to freeze it in portions to pull out at different times over a few weeks or months.
How to use this homemade strawberry jam
You can use this jam in many different ways. Here are some ideas:
- make a jam and peanut butter sandwich with your favorite bread
- flavor natural yogurt with it
- use it as a pancake or ice cream topping
Original Images from 2013:
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Raw Chia Seed Strawberry Jam
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons natural sweetener raw honey or maple syrup
- 1-3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice freshly squeezed*
- 1 lb strawberries fresh or frozen and thawed (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries all work well too)
- In a small bowl stir together chia seeds, natural sweetener and lemon juice.
- Wash and hull your fresh strawberries or let your frozen berries thaw. Place in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached. I like mine slightly chunky still but you can also process until smooth.
- Add chia seed mix and pulse a couple more times until everything is combined.
- Fill in a jar and refrigerate until jam thickens (about 30 mins.)
Yes, chia seeds can act as a natural thickening agent in jams, making them a healthier alternative to pectin.
Chia seeds not only thicken the jam without the need for sugar or cooking, but they also contribute essential nutrients like fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
To fix runny jam, you can stir in a few more tablespoons of chia seeds and allow the mixture to sit for a bit longer until it reaches the desired consistency.
Chia seeds typically need around 30 minutes to an hour to gel and thicken a mixture, but this can vary depending on the quantity and the specific recipe.