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Homemade Strawberry Chia Jam

The One Ingredient Diet 2014 Challenge is off to a roaring start: over 200 people from Indonesia to India, from San Francisco to Santa Fe, are eating nothing but whole foods for the entire month. The Facebook group is incredibly lively and participants are inspiring tons of exciting new recipes, including this one. A few members of the group noticed that all store-bought varieties of jams have added sugars, preservatives, and more. Definitely not approved for the One Ingredient Diet!

Making homemade jam often requires pectin or other “gelling agents” so that it holds a firm jelly-like consistency. Making an all-natural variety can be much harder. The a-ha moment came when one participant suggested using chia seeds: they’re a super-nutritious whole food that just happens to create a gel in water. By combining just chia seeds and berries (with optional maple syrup) you have a whole-food alternative to preserves that are incredibly fresh with bright, real-fruit flavors. I’m hooked. Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches will never be the same again…

Strawberry Chia Jam

Makes 1 cup of jam

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

Homemade Chia Jam

Step One

Grind the chia seeds, if necessary. You can use whole chia seeds, but they tend to be hard to chew and get stuck in teeth; ground seeds give your jam a much more uniform consistency. A high-powered blender like a Vitamix makes the perfect substitute for a grinder. Simply add the chia seeds to the blender and turn on high for 5 seconds. Alternatively, you can purchase already-ground seeds.

Step Two

Add the chia seeds, whole frozen strawberries*, and 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup to a food processor and pulse about 10 times until some small pea-sized chunks of strawberry remain. I like starting with frozen strawberries because they break up into small chunks rather than turning completely soupy immediately.

* Though I haven’t experimented with other varieties yet, I’m sure you can achieve similar results with any frozen fruit. Raspberries? Apricots? Blueberries? Give it a shot.

Step Three

Add this mixture to a saucepan and allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. This serves two purposes: 1) it reduces the mixture (i.e. evaporates some of the water) to create a thicker consistency; 2) it gives the strawberries time to cook so they soften into a jam-like texture.

Allow to cool and set in the refrigerator for about an hour. Store (refrigerated) in a sealed container for up to a week. No, this version doesn’t last forever like store-bought preserves, but that’s a good thing โ€“ when food doesn’t go bad, you know there’s a problem.

Chia Jam Sandwich

Strawberry Chia Jam

39 Comments

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  1. Chia jam is brilliant isn’t it? I made a blackberry version this summer and loved it- especially with my lemon-coconut scones and coconut whipped cream ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I put this on pancakes yesterday and was pretty proud of that… until I heard about those lemon coconut scones, Emma! Oh my! That sounds incredible ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Thank you for this recipe! I enjoy jam, but it’s never healthy enough, & I’m always too lazy too make it. But this solves all those quandaries! If it’s too much to use in a week than I may freeze it in the old ice cube tray. I wonder if thawed frozen jam is still yummy. I guess I’ll find out :0).

  3. Chia seeds – brilliant!
    I will be making jars of this jam as gifts.
    Think I’ll be trying the recipe with blueberries as well. Can’t resist!

  4. You brilliant, brilliant (Yes, double brilliant) man. I usually boil 1 cup fresh fruit, 2-4 tbls of maple syrup, a couple tsp of lemon and 1/4 cup of water for 5 ish minutes…..but I LOVE the idea of adding chia. Making this tomorrow.

    • Hi Brigette, I honestly can’t say. I don’t have enough
      experience canning to know for sure how it works but I think it’s a
      little more involved than just fruit like this. But you’ve got me
      interested now — I’m going to research more into preserving and
      I’ll let you know if I find anything! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I make this but I don’t cook it because I eat mostly raw and it turns out great. The chia seeds are a thickening agent. I also use dates to sweeten it instead if maple syrup.

  6. I’m curious- does chia ever go bad? I’ve had a bag of it for a couple years. I only used it a few times. It was really just starting to peak it’s way into the well known world back when it was given to us and I wasn’t quite ready for it. Anyway- just wondering If you
    Guys that use it might know? I’d like to try it making jam now- I’m super curious!

  7. This is my new favorite recipe. I have made it with blackberries, blueberries, triple berry mix, and strawberries. All were wonderful and so easy and so much better than from the store! Thank you for a new favorite! I am very interested in any info about canning/preserving it that you dig up, since my family goes through it so fast!

    • Hi Danielle, that’s awesome! I still haven’t tried this with blueberries, but I’ve been meaning to do that forever. Not sure about canning… I’m sure any typical preserving advice would apply here, but it’s not an area I’m too familiar with.

      • The blueberries were my daughter’s favorite and didn’t need any sweetener at all. Thanks again for the great recipe.

  8. Thanks for the recipe. I prepared and did canning process before I read comments. Hoping it turns out.

  9. I love strawberry jam and I used to buy a reduced-sugar version that has lots of strawberry chunks… but it’s still full of nasty ingredients. And it still has sugar!
    That’s why I’ve been wanting to make my own jam. And this recipe is the best I’ve seen! I’m already loving it ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess I’ll buy more strawberries and chia seeds this week to give it a try.
    Thanks for the amazing recipes! I love your blog!
    Cheers from Argentina

    • That’s a good question, Betty. Stevia is just a plant, and the stevia extract that we use in cooking is nothing but the extract of that plant, so it’s not “artificial” at all. However, it is processed quite a bit to take it from the whole leaf to the white extract. So it’s not perfect, but definitely better than typical artificial sweeteners. Hope that helps!

  10. This jam is fantastic. I made it and then froze it in ice cube trays. I pop the little jam ice cubes out and put them into a freeze bag to store in the freezer. One cube thawed is perfect on toast, and this extends the life of the yummy jam.

    • Hi Lisa, I love the idea of freezing these, thanks for reporting back and letting us know that it works. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. just found this on Pinterest and was so excited to find a jam recipe that was simple and didn’t involve an all-out canning process.
    i find store-bought jam far too sweet and have recently realized how many additives and junk is in it too, so it’s been a no-go. but, i have missed it!
    this is perfect. easy to follow recipe with clear pictures and instructions. i used my vitamix to grind the chia seeds as well as mix everything together, although i didn’t have the patience to wait for my fresh strawberries to freeze, so i just used them at refrigerator temperature and it doesn’t look too soupy for me.
    it is setting in my refrigerator now! can’t wait to have some tomorrow morning on Ezekiel toast with cashew butter! <3 thank you for posting this!

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