Strawberry jam is just the best, isn’t it? I love having fresh strawberry at the beginning of the season, to put on toast, waffles, ice cream, oatmeal …. mmmmm.
As a strawberry jam lover, I have tried my fair share of strawberry jam recipes. Each one is a little different. I actually make a few different kinds each year to use for different things. Farmer loves the full sugar ones, I grew up with the low sugar ones because my mom is a diabetic, and on some things I love the no sugar kinds because of how fresh they taste. I also try to be mindful of what my family and I put into our bodies, and we do all natural and sugar free options as often as possible.
Last year, I learned about something new, that makes all natural fresh strawberry jam making SO MUCH EASIER. It transformed the process from something that was already fairly simple to stupid easy and 1 step fast.
It’s called chia.
Now maybe you get out more than I do, and maybe you already know all about chia. But I didn’t, until I realized what it was. Chia is awesome! Remember like a million years ago those chia heads were all the rage? You just watered your chia head or chia pet and their hair would magically grow? Ya I know you had one, it’s okay.
Well this is the same stuff. It’s all natural, and it’s a seed. It’s really good for you and it has many uses. Maybe I will try and make my own chia pet with them and let you know how it goes!
One of it’s awesome uses is as a thickener. When the chia seeds get wet, they swell up and get soft. They turn a little jelly like, and make anything they are in a little thicker.
Which brings me to today’s topic- How to make fresh strawberry jam with no pectin.
It’s so easy you are going to want to make some right now because it only takes a few minutes.
- Prepare your strawberries– dump your berries into a sink full of cold water. Wash them and cut the tops off and dump them into a large bowl. Depending on your berries you can either drop them into the bowl whole or cut them in smaller pieces. I like my jam a little chunky so I leave them in big pieces.
- Smash your berries– Either mash them with a potato masher (if you prefer a little chunky) or toss them in a blender (if you prefer smooth jam)
- Measure your berry mash– I just dump my smashed berries into a large measuring bowl to see how much I ended up with. However you choose to do it, you need to know how many cups you have. If you have more than two cups, then you will need to do this recipe two cups at a time. Sometimes it doesn’t set up well if you try to make larger batches.
- Add your chia– For every cup of strawberry mash, add 1/4 cup chia seeds. This recipe doesn’t need to be exact so if you like really thick jam you can add a little more. If you like a little thinner jam, add a little less chia. With 1/4 cup chia, it comes out pretty thick.
- Stir every 5-10 minutes– Don’t worry you really can’t mess this up. It just needs to be stirred every once in awhile or the chia kind of gets weird on the top. The jam sets up in just a few minutes, but I let mine set for about half an hour.
- Put in small freezer safe containers– I say small because we didn’t add any preservatives so this jam will not stay good in the fridge for weeks like some jam does. You can freeze them or leave them in the fridge to enjoy right now. What am I even saying?! Of course you are going to eat it right now! It’s so good!
If you aren’t a fan of sugar free jam, don’t worry! You can easily add sugar to this recipe …. or stevia, or agave, or honey, or whatever sweetener you choose. Just add a little when you put in the chia seeds. The chia won’t be affected, it will thicken up whatever it’s in. Just stir it real well so the sugar can dissolve.
And the last thing is that I know some people don’t like the “seed” texture in their jam. I get it, it’s okay. If you hate the way the seeds feel in your jam, just toss the jam (after it’s all set up) in the blender for a couple minutes and it will break them all up. Even my old blender that only works half the time did a great job blending all the chia seeds up.
One of the things I really like about this recipe is that it literally doesn’t matter how many strawberries you have. If you only have half a container to use, just sprinkle in a little chia and you are good to go. Small batch strawberry jam is not a problem. AND you don’t have to deal with any of those weird measurements that some pectins call for.
Mmmmm, enjoy your delicious strawberry jam! Let me know what your favorite jam recipe is! I love trying out new ones.