Looking for a healthier jam recipe that's free of preservatives and heaping cups of sugar? We've got you covered! And this recipe isn't designed for canning, so you can skip that step too. All you need is about 15 minutes and 3 ingredients to create your very own quick homemade jam.
So what's the catch?
Honestly, there are no cons in sight. This jam can't be sealed and stored in your pantry, but it'll stay fresh in your fridge for nearly 2 weeks. Prepare to drive your friends wild with jam-centric brunches, cheese boards, etc.
The secret ingredient
Chia seeds are the key to this recipe. If you haven't met them yet, prepare to fall in love. Here are a few fun facts to start the love affair:
- In just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, you’ll find 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and nearly 10% of your daily intake for calcium.
- Chia seeds can hold more than 12 times their weight in water.
- Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds are really easy to digest in their whole-seed form.
- Chia seeds are one of the richest sources for plant-based, omega-3 fatty acids (like the healthy fats found in salmon).
- They're naturally gluten-free.
- When combined with warm water, chia seeds can used as an egg substitute in vegan baked goods because of their excellent gelling properties.
- Chia seeds don't have much of a taste, aside from a slight nutty flavor. So they can easily be added to a variety of recipes without impacting the flavor.
Let's get back to the recipe.
The fruit quickly cooks down with a small amount of sugar, and the chia seeds are stirred in at the end. As the mixture cools, the chia seeds start working their magic. Over the course of a few hours, the seeds absorb the liquid and gel the fruit to give it a great jam-like texture.
You’ll need exactly 3 ingredients to get the job done (possibly 4 if you want to get fancy).
- Frozen strawberries: Using frozen fruit is important because it'll create more juice and break down a bit easier. Plus, it's always in season!
- Chia seeds: The chia seeds will absorb the fruit juices and gel the jam in a matter of hours. You won’t even believe it.
- Sugar: Depending on the natural sweetness of your fruit, you can use as much or as little sugar as you like. You can also use maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, honey or coconut nectar if you'd prefer. If your fruit is already sweet enough, you can even leave the sugar out!
- Lemon or vanilla: Optional, but either of these can be added towards the end of the cooking process to infuse the jam with added depth of flavor. More on that in the "tips and tricks" section.
Quick and Healthy Homemade Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Recipe
Yields about 8 ounces of jam
- 2 1/4 cups quartered frozen strawberries (I like to freeze fresh, ripe strawberries when they're in season)
- 1 - 3 tablespoons honey (or coconut nectar, maple syrup, agave nectar, etc.)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
Place frozen strawberries and 1 tablespoon of sweetener in a medium-sized pot over medium heat.
As the strawberries start to thaw, mash them with a fork or the back of a spoon and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Reduce heat to maintain a simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the strawberries are fully broken down and starting to thicken.
This is optional, but if you'd like a smooth jam, place the cooked strawberries in a blender and blend until smooth. Then place the mixture back in the pot over medium-low heat. (If you want to keep the texture of the broken down strawberries, skip this step.)
Taste the mixture and, if needed, stir in more sweetener until it's to your liking.
Add the chia seeds to the pot and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and pour into a glass jar. Let cool on the counter for at least 30 minutes, then place in the fridge until completely chilled. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid after the jam is fully chilled.
Serve chilled and keep sealed in the fridge for about 10 days.
More tips and tricks:
- To infuse with lemon: Add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice with the sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon zest when you add in the chia seeds.
- To infuse with vanilla: Stir in 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract just before pouring the jam into a jar.
- Mixed berry: Try combining different berries together to make a more complex jam.