This Strawberry Chia Jam is made with only a handful of ingredients, is free from refined sugar, and takes just 15 minutes to make. You can make chia jam with either fresh berries or frozen fruit for a healthy low sugar homemade jam that literally anyone can make.
Many years ago my friend Anne taught me how to make jam using a water bath canner and low sugar pectin. I'd pick the blackberries that grow wild around my family homestead in BC, and each summer would churn out enough batches to get through the year.
Folks would return their empty jars to me and exchange them for full ones, except for my hipster brother-in-law who insisted on keeping his jam jars for drinking wine from ????
Needless to say, I was a very popular lady during jam season.
These days Chia Jam is more my jam (<-- had to). It's bonkers easy to make. Like, so easy that my three year old could probably make it without much help.
Plus, since chia jam is thickened with chia seeds instead pectin, which requires added sugar, you can make your jam as low sugar as you want to. You can even make sugar free chia jam if that's your jam (<-- I'll probably stop after this one).
If you want to make Canned Strawberry Jam or Strawberry Freezer Jam, my girl Sarah from Sustainable Cooks has got your back.
What goes into Strawberry Chia Jam?
This ingredients list is short and sweet. You're going to need to grab:
- Strawberries! --> I'm using fresh local strawberries here, but you can totally use frozen as well.
- Chia seeds --> That's kind of a no-brainer, right?
- Lemon juice --> Just a little squeeze to brighten the flavour and add balance.
- Sweetener --> I'm using pure maple syrup.
- Vanilla bean --> Totally optional, but I think it adds a little something special here.
Only the strawberries and chia seeds are truly mandatory here. I'll make a strong case for the lemon juice adding a really good punch of flavour to your chia jam, but you can leave it out if you want to.
I sweeten my chia jam only a tiny bit as you'll see in the recipe below, but you can absolutely leave the sweetener out and it won't affect the texture of your jam at all.
As for the vanilla bean, I used half of a spent vanilla bean from a batch of vanilla extract. I think it gives this chia jam a special flare, but if you don't have vanilla beans on hand by all means leave it out.
How do you make chia jam?
Easy peasy, my friends. First, grab your fruit. We're making Strawberry Chia Jam today, with fresh juicy local strawberries, but frozen berries or another juicy fruit (like peaches) is totally fine too.
Step 1: Hull your berries and slice them into half or quarters. Smaller pieces cook faster, and are easier to break down further.
Add the strawberries and maple syrup to a saucepan, and place on your stove top over medium heat.
Step 2: Cook, stirring frequently, until the berries break down and become liquidy. This should take about 5-10 minutes.
At this stage you can use a potato masher and break the berries down a bit more if you prefer a chunkier jam.
Step 3: Add the chia seeds, lemon juice, and vanilla seeds (if using) to your cooked berries.
Step 4: Stir to combine everything well.
If you're down with a chunky chia jam, feel free to stop here and pour your strawberry jam into jars.
Optional step 5: Place the strawberry chia jam mixture into a blender.
Optional step 6: Blend or pulse until smooth. Pour into jars, and wait 10 minutes for the jam to set. You're done!
Why a blended chia jam?
One word for ya: toddlers.
Toddlers be crazy, yo, and I knew that if I had chia seeds visible in this jam that there was no way I'd be passing it off as "real" jam to my three year old.
Also, because it's blended, and because this chia jam contains only a teeny tiny amount of maple syrup, I've also been stirring a teaspoon or so into my 8-month-old baby's morning cereal to jazz it up.
You definitely don't have to blend your chia jam, and if you DO blend it, be warned that the colour takes on a bit of a muddy tone compared to un-blended jam. Blending does not affect that taste whatsoever.
Can I use another kind of fruit to make chia jam?
You sure can! You can use other berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or other juicy fruit like peaches, mangoes, or apricots. The procedure is exactly the same.
How long does chia jam last?
Since this Strawberry Chia Jam is un-processed (as in not canned) and contains very low sugar, it has quite a short life span. A jar will last you up to two weeks in the fridge, if stored in an airtight container.
You can freeze your chia jam if you wish (be sure to leave enough headspace at the top of the jar to allow for expansion in the freezer) and it will last three months in the freezer. Simply thaw in the fridge before using.
What kind of sweetener is best for this jam?
You can use whatever sweetener is your jam (<-- apparently I wasn't done).
I've used granulated sugar, honey, and maple syrup before, and all of those work great and only require a small amount. You can also completely skip the sweetener if your berries are sweet enough.
Can I make more or less of this recipe?
You sure can! Just toggle the number of servings in the recipe card below and it will automatically adjust it for you.
HOWEVER, I'll also point out that I'm using one tablespoon of chia seeds and half a tablespoon of maple syrup per each one cup of sliced strawberries. So if you know that you can easily scale the recipe.
Hey Nutrition Lady, are strawberries healthy?
Heck yes they are!
Strawberries are a low sugar fruit, and an excellent source of antioxidant and anti inflammatory nutrients. They are a great source of lycopene (good for your prostates, fellas) vitamin C and manganese.
Strawberries are also a very good source of folate, iodine, and dietary fiber. This Strawberry Chia Jam is a great Low FODMAP option for folks who suffer from IBS.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Balsamic Baked Strawberries
Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt Cups
Roasted Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles
Strawberry Yogurt Cake
Pumpkin Seed Butter
Strawberry Chia Jam
- 4 cups strawberries hulled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup more or less to taste
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ medium vanilla bean halved and seeds scraped out
- In a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups of sliced strawberries with 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup over medium heat.
- Stirring frequently, cook the berries until bubbly and juicy, usually around 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the berries from the heat and use a potato masher to further break down the berries.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 tablespoons chia seeds, and the vanilla seeds. Stir to combine well.
- If you want a smooth chia jam, transfer the berries to a blender and blend until smooth - always be careful when blending hot liquids!
- Pour the chia jam into jars and allow them to cool completely.
- Store in the fridge or freezer in an air tight container.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only and are calculated per cup of jam.
This recipe was originally published June 18, 2018. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on July 3, 2020. Last updated July 3, 2020.
Yum. Next on my list of recipes to try. Have you/ would you try it with blackberries I wonder?
I haven't, but I totally would! I'd imagine the same quantity of blackberries (4 cups of whole blackberries) would yield similar results.
Maybe someone I know will make some of this jam when she's back on the family homestead this summer!