Have you ever wanted to know how to make homemade jam but you've been intimidated by the process of canning? Or, maybe you've been looking for a healthier recipe to complement your usually healthy cooking, wanting to make a healthy jam recipe, free of preservatives and heaping cups of sugar.
Good news, you can have both!
Photos via edible perspective
Learn how to make healthy homemade strawberry jam!
Today I’m going to share the answer to all of your homemade jamming woes. All you need is about 15 minutes and 3 ingredients to create your very own quick homemade jam.
So, what's the catch?
There isn't one!
While this jam won’t have the ability to be sealed and stored in your pantry, it will stay fresh in your fridge for nearly 2 weeks. Can you imagine hosting a brunch and lining the table with fresh and healthy homemade jam? Your guests will go wild, imagining you spent hours over the stove creating this jam masterpiece.
The secret ingredient: chia seeds!
The secret ingredient comes straight from a 1980’s commercial. Do you remember Chia Pets? They always were slightly frightening to me. Who would have ever guessed those little black seeds are actually edible? And that they’re packed with nutrients!
Here are a interesting few facts about chia seeds:
- 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 very easily digested 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).
- Chia seeds are naturally gluten-free.
- Chia seeds combined with warm water can used as an egg substitute in vegan baked goods because of their excellent gelling properties.
- Chia seeds are nearly tasteless, with an ever so slight nutty flavor. This means they can easily be added to a variety of recipes without impacting the flavor.
One of my favorite ways to use chia seeds are in smoothies. They don’t impact the flavor, they blend easily with the other ingredients, create a super thick texture and add a powerhouse of nutrients.
But today, we're going to get a little more creative by using chia seeds as the secret ingredient in creating this quick and healthy jam recipe. Oh yes we are!
If you’re nervous in committing to buying an entire bag of chia seeds check the bulk bin or bulk spice aisle. You can often find mini bags as well. If you’re familiar with chia seeds and ready to commit you can buy a 3-pound bag at Costco for a great deal!
Now, it's time we chat about this 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 lovely 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 will 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 use maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, honey, coconut nectar or just pure cane sugar. If your fruit is sweet enough, you can even leave the sugar out!
- Lemon or vanilla - These can be added towards the end of the cooking process to infuse the jam with added depth of flavor.
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. to make vegan)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
Place frozen strawberries and 1 tablespoon of desired 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 the simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the strawberries are fully broken down and starting to thicken.
Step 4 (optional):
For a smooth jam (besides the crunch from the chia seeds), place the cooked strawberries in a blender and blend until smooth. If you want to keep the texture of the broken down strawberries, skip this step. Place the mixture back in the pot over medium-low heat.
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 contents into a glass jar. Let cool on the counter for at least 30 minutes. Then place in the fridge until fully 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 flavored jam.
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