Strawberry Chia Jam

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As you’ve probably noticed, I love berries.  Berries are the one type of fruit that I think us Brits do really well. We may be lacking in the tropical fruit department, but you really can’t beat fresh British strawberries, especially when they’re in season. As a child I used to love going to the ‘pick your own’ strawberry farms or delving in the countryside hunting for wild blackberries.  It was one for me and one for the punnet. Honestly, even the memories make me smile as I write this. The question was always what to do with so many berries after we’d picked them…

Now my Mum does make a mean blackberry and apple crumble (perhaps I could persuade her to share this over the next few months), but when it comes to strawberries, for me it has to be jam. I like mine a little chunky (“with bits”), really sticky and preferably layered with peanut butter…

Although there’s nothing wrong with shop brought jam, unfortunately they are really high in sugar. I think for a jam to technically be classified as a jam, it has to have at least a 60% sugar content. This means it must contain at least 60g of sugar per 100g of fruit. That’s pretty high!

My favourite alternative is homemade chia jam. I’ve already shared a very similar recipe for my raspberry chia a few months ago (here), but I wanted to write an entire post dedicated to chia jam, just in case you missed my first! It’s so easy to make and literally requires just a handful of ingredients, which you’ll likely already have in your cupboard. Instead of being laden with sugar, it’s sweetened with just a couple of tablespoons of honey. I find that honey works really well as it’s not too overpowering, but date, maple or rice syrup should all work equally as well. Making your own also means you don’t need any artificial sweeteners or preservatives. For those who haven’t heard of the concept before, chia jam uses chia seeds (duh!) as a natural gelling agent to absorb any extra liquid and to thicken the jam. I promise you won’t taste them and they don’t get stuck in your teeth! The chia seeds and the honey do this for you – naturally and deliciously! Plus, you’ve got the added nutritional benefits from using chia seeds – they’re an excellent source of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids.

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I know there are plenty of recipes out there already, so I can’t claim to have come up with the concept myself, but this is my own take on it, so I hope you like it! This strawberry chia jam (like regular jam) is incredibly versatile. I love to spread it on toast with peanut butter, I like to spoon in generously onto my porridge, and I love to swirl it into my yoghurt bowl in the evening. As it’s mostly fruit and it’s not too sweet, I apply it liberally, so I hope you do too!  

I chose to use strawberries, as large punnets are currently on offer in my local supermarket, but this recipe would work well with any berry. Feel free to try raspberries, blueberries or blackberries instead and if they’re not in season, frozen do the job too!

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Now for the recipe…

Strawberry Chia Jam

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Makes: One 300ml jar

Time: 25 mins

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan (option)

Ingredients:

  • 350g fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. honey (or alternative sweetener of choice)
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds

Method:

  • Chop the strawberries into small chunks.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the strawberries, lemon juice, vanilla extract, honey and water to boil.
  • Use a fork to mash the strawberries into a pulp. If you like your jam a little chunky, then leave a few strawberry chunks whole.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the chia seeds.
  • Stir gently for a few minutes until the jam begins to thicken and then leave it to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once thickened, remove from the heat and pour into an airtight jar. Leave it to cool before you put the lid on.
  • Once cool, refrigerate until desired. I suggest it will keep for a week, if you haven’t eaten it before then!

I told you it was easy. All you need is six simple ingredients and you’ve got one seriously delicious jar of sweet spread. If you fancy doubling the recipe, you could give a jar away as a gift. Pop a pretty ribbon around it, package it up with a loaf of freshly baked banana bread and you’ll be in everyone’s good books for sure! As usual, I’d love to hear how you get on if you give this a try. Feel free to comment below or tag me on Instagram @mylifeisforliving and let me know your favourite way to enjoy it.

Until next time,

Hannah x

#mylifeisforliving