3 Ingredient Strawberry Chia Jam
Normal women romanticize exotic vacation spots, dates with George Clooney, and a world in which brownies don’t contain calories. I romanticize canning. I have yet to work up the nerve to try the real-deal (canning that is—George, I’m available when you’re available), and until I do, I’m perfectly content with this easy, no-can Strawberry Chia Jam.
In addition to my southern belle alter ego (the one who made you Cajun Shrimp and Grits, Baked Fried Chicken, and Bourbon Buttermilk Pie), a part of me also longs to live on a farm. In my idyllic country world, I raise my own chickens, grow my own vegetables, and can the bounty of my fields. I long to fill mason jars with sacred summer flavors, then stow them safely for a dreary morning in February. It sounds industrious, wholesome, and wise.
In real life, five hours of yard work on Saturday nearly killed me, I find chickens to be rather smelly, and I refuse to live more than 15 minutes from a Trader Joe’s. Thank goodness for Strawberry Chia Jam. It allows me to savor all of the benefits of homemade jam, without the fuss of actually canning it.
When you make your own jam, you can use the freshest, sweetest fruit available, control the amount and kind of sweetener (store-bought jams are often saturated with refined sugar), and above all, experience the deep, pure fruit flavor of scratch-made jam. While traditional canning requires scrupulous attention to detail, intense sterilization, and a dedication to quantity that intimidates me, this Strawberry Chia Jam demands only three ingredients, 30 minutes (much of which is hands off), and makes as small or large a batch as you please.
Making Strawberry Chia Jam is as simple as heating and mashing the fruit with a bit of honey, stirring in the chia seeds, then letting it cool. That’s it. We be jammin’ (sorry).
As the jam rests, the chia seeds thicken and remind me of little speckly strawberry seeds. In addition to being cute, they’re loaded with fiber (a whopping 5 grams per tablespoon), giving the chia jam an extra nutritional benefit.
I’ve been enjoying this Strawberry Chia Jam on toast, mixed into my yogurt and oatmeal, and even slathered on Strawberry Shortcake Waffles. It’s also a great way to use up any overripe berries you have lurking in your refrigerator, and you can swap the strawberries for other summer fruits you love or have on hand. My next project is blueberry chia jam, if for no other reason than I impulse bought the two-pound value berry box at Trader Joe’s last night.
Chia jam, done. Think I’m ready for a pet chicken?
3 Ingredient Strawberry Chia Jam
- 24 ounces strawberries — or fruit of choice, fresh or frozen (if the fruit is large, slice it into pieces first)
- 2-4 tablespoons honey, — maple syrup, or agave (I used honey)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
Optional add ins:
- Aged balsamic vinegar — (good with berry jams)
- Ginger — or cinnamon (good with stone fruit jams)
- Vanilla extract — or almond extract
- Orange or lemon zest
In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit and 2 tablespoons honey. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it begins to liquefy (about 5 to 10 minutes for berries, longer for firmer fruits). Once the fruit is liquidy, bring it to a gentle boil and let cook until it breaks down and becomes saucy, about 5 minutes. Mash lightly to reach your desired consistency (I kept mine fairly chunky).
Taste the jam for sweetness. If you desire more, stir in additional honey a few teaspoons at a time, until you reach the desired taste. Stir in any optional mix-ins.
Stir in the chia seeds and let cook one minute. Remove the pan from the heat, stir once more, and let sit for 10 minutes. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools. (If it seems very thin, add 1 to 2 additional teaspoons of chia seeds, stir, then let sit 10 additional minutes.)
Transfer the chia jam to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.
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