Last weekend our local farm’s “Pick Your Own” finally opened and we came home with an abundance of this summer’s first red, sweet, juicy strawberries! We froze about half the batch and I’ve been having fun finding new ways to use the other half. Today, I’m sharing a super easy recipe for a quick, raw strawberry jam that needs no cooking and no refined sugar!
The secret ingredient to this raw jam is the super nutritious chia seed. I’ve written about the health benefits of chia seeds before and I’ve been using them almost every morning on my yogurt, granola, even my salads. What makes chia seeds perfect for this raw jam is their ability to absorb almost 10 times their weight in water and create a kind of gel-like consistency (it’s also what makes them a great substitue for eggs in lots of recipes!).
I first found this idea at this neat blog, Eating Bird Food, and I immediately thought, “Umm, duhh! Chia seeds are perfect for this!” And they really are. If you’re looking for a way to make jam in about 5 minutes without worrying about added sugar, cooking times, pectin, and all the other things that go into making a traditional jam, you’ve got to try this out!
Start with about a cup of the best berries you can find. Berries tend to be very high in pesticide residue so I always make sure to buy organic, if not from a local farm. You can use either fresh or frozen, but if they’re frozen you’ll want to leave them out to thaw out a bit before using.
Mash the berries to the consistency you like. Since my berries were literally picked that day, I just used a fork to mash them because they were already so soft. You can also use a potato masher or throw them into the blender or food processor. Just be careful not to over-blend them, otherwise you’ll end up with more of a jelly than a jam. Of course, if you’re more into jellies, then blend away!
Once you’ve got your berries to the right consistency, add a tablespoon of water, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and a sweetener of your choice. I added a little less than a tablespoon of raw honey, but you could use maple syrup, stevia, or any liquid sweetener. Mix it all very well, making sure the chia seeds are all covered with the liquid and everything is well incorporated.
NOTE: Since my berries were pretty juicy on their own, I skipped adding the water and the jam turned out fine. So I would adjust the water based on how juicy or liquid-y your berries happen to be.
Transfer the jam to a glass jar, cover it, and place it in the fridge for at least an hour to help it “set up.”
That’s it! You now have a jar of homemade, raw jam that’s healthy, nutritious, and refined sugar free! Use it as you would any other jam – on toast, in a PB & J sandwich, spread it on pancakes, waffles, muffins, or just eat it right off the spoon! Hey, it’s super healthy so go ahead and live a little.
If strawberries aren’t your thing, you can use almost any other berry for this jam. Blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are all great for this easy homemade jam! And don’t worry about the chia seeds, you don’t even notice them in the jam since the berries already have seeds as well.
This is by far my favorite, most innovative way to use chia seeds yet!
Have you ever tried making chia seed jam? What’s your favorite jam flavor?
- 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)
- 1 tablespoon water (or less, depending on how "juicy" your berries are)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- liquid sweetener to taste - honey, maple syrup, stevia, etc. (optional)
- Mash strawberries using either a fork, potato masher, blender or food processor until desired consistency.
- Add water, chia seeds, and sweetener, if using, and mix very well until everything is incorporated.
- Transfer jam to a glass jar, cover, and place in fridge for at least 1 hour to set up.
- Enjoy as you would regular jam.
- Jam should last about 1 week in the fridge.
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