This strawberry chia jam takes only 15 minutes and 4 ingredients, with no refined sugar and only a little maple syrup/honey. It’s a great healthier alternative to traditional jam that’s delicious too.
I’m sure it helped having lots of good strawberries over the winter from Florida, but my toddler has decided he likes them again. One of the good parts of this is when he started asking to go apple picking again the other day and was told he couldn’t for a few months still, I could at least say we can go strawberry picking soon instead. I have many memories of strawberry picking myself and I’m looking forward to taking the kids.
I always loved when my mum made strawberry jam and I have been wanting to try strawberry chia jam for a while as a lower-sugar and quicker alternative to the traditional style. In anticipation of getting local strawberries, I decided to make some and instantly liked it – I can’t wait to start trying other versions.
I used to love helping make various fruit jams with my mum when I was younger, and also enjoying them on toast or scones. This continued as an adult now and then – I remember when I lived in Northern Spain, I went with my parents to my sister’s house in the South of France. She had a cherry tree that was laden with cherries when we were there and we were tasked with helping avoid them all being wasted.
As a cherry lover, that wasn’t exactly a problem for me but there were more than even I could eat. We made pretty much as many things as we could think of to use them up – there were many jars of cherries in brandy and we tried making jam but struggled to get it to thicken. I wish I’d known then about using chia seeds as I thickener as it would have made things that bit easier.
If you’ve ever used chia seeds in other things, you’ll know that they make a kind of jelly texture when mixed with liquid. Jams usually rely on a combination of the natural pectin in the fruit (or some is added) combining with the sugar and lemon to thicken them. Usually that means a lot of sugar is needed, but using chia seeds means that’s not the case.
Since strawberries are naturally fairly sweet, this strawberry chia jam is still sweet enough with only a small amount of sweetener in there – I have used maple syrup since the flavor is very complimentary but you could also use honey.
The chia seeds do give a slight seedy-looking texture but since there are seeds in strawberries anyway, strawberry chia jam doesn’t look so unusual and you don’t taste them as seed-like. This way of making jam is also a lot quicker than a more traditional one too; it’s all done within around 15-20 minutes as you only need to cook the fruit long enough to break up and soften, not then thicken up over a long while as the chia seeds do that within a few minutes.
I’m afraid my photos of making it aren’t as good as they should be as I was holding my less-than-happy infant at the time, but it shows it’s that easy, you can do it one-handed. And it tastes good. As I say, I can’t wait to try other varieties of chia jam now I know how easy and tasty they can be.
Strawberry chia jam might not have quite the same glossy, sugary sheen of a traditional jam, but it’s quick to make and a whole lot healthier and still tastes great. It’s perfect to top your toast, British scones, or whatever else you want to enjoy it on, so grab a box of strawberries and give it a try.
- 8 oz/225g strawberries
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Husk and roughly chop the strawberries and put in a small pan.
Place the pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally until the strawberries have released lots of juice and are soft and mushy, around 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the maple syrup/honey, chia seeds and lemon juice. Stir them all in well.
Return the pan to the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring now and then. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, transferring to a jar or other sealable container after a minute or two. The jam will keep refrigerated for a good month or more.
If you are looking for another variation on strawberry jam, you need to try my strawberry peach jam, also lower in sugar.