This chia seed strawberry jam recipe is a delicious addition to vegan breakfasts or snacks. Jam is a great way to get more fibre; unfortunately, many store-bought and homemade jams are high in added sugars. Typical jam recipes call for 2 cups of sugar with only 1 cup of fruit! Luckily this healthy strawberry jam is low in added sugars and high in fibre and omega 3s.
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Is Strawberry Jam Vegan?
It’s commonly assumed that jam is thickened with animal gelatin and therefore is not vegan. However, jam is traditionally thickened with a substance derived from fruit called pectin. That ingredient makes most traditional, store-bought jams vegan. Vegan does not always mean healthy though, and fruit-based jams are a prime example of this.
Make Healthy Strawberry Jam Using Chia Seeds
Store-bought and homemade jams are often high in added sugar since it’s used to help thicken and preserve the product. For reference, my Grandmother’s homemade jam recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar for every cup of fruit!
Using chia seeds in a jam recipe enables greater control over the amount of added sugar because chia seeds are used as the thickening agent. A large amount of sugar is unnecessary in this situation because chia is used instead.
When making chia seed jam, be mindful of the amount of sugar used. If using sweeter fruit, you may not need to add any sugar. More tart fruits may benefit from a tablespoon or two of added sugar.
People can also choose the type of sugar used in the chia seed jam. Regular table sugar works, or try maple syrup or other favourite sweeteners.
Fruits contain natural sugars but are still a healthy and beneficial part of a balanced diet. Fruits provide essential nutrients including vitamin C, fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin A, magnesium and antioxidants. I’ve written an article about the health benefits of fruit vs the sugar content if you would like to learn more.
Chia seeds also contain omega 3s which are an essential fatty acid. Omega 3s may be lacking in a fully plant-based diet; therefore, adding a great source of omega 3s to jam is a great way to boost intake. Chia seeds are also an excellent source of plant-based protein.
Use Ground Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a great thickening agent and can be used either ground or whole. In this chia seed strawberry jam, I prefer to use ground chia seeds. By comparison, whole chia seeds result in a very seedy texture. If you prefer a seedy jam, feel free to use whole chia seeds, but I find the strawberries in this recipe already add plenty of seeds.
To grind the seeds, use a small blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. I have an old Magic Bullet blender to grind chia seeds and flaxseed (it’s cheaper to buy them whole and grind at home).
How to Store Chia Seed Jam
Store-bought jam can be kept in the fridge for long periods due to large amounts of sugar used to preserve it. Such large quantities of sugar prevent bacteria from growing. Also, store-bought jams have gone through a boiling process to sterilize them.
This chia seed strawberry jam should be kept in the fridge and used within 2 weeks. If you’d like to make a larger batch, freeze this healthy strawberry jam for up to 6 months. After you’ve thawed it in the fridge, be sure to use it within 2 weeks.
Can you Preserve Chia Seed Jam?
Some online recipes provide instructions on canning chia jam by boiling a sterile mason jar in water to form a seal. This helps to preserve the jam; however, there isn’t currently enough food safety information to recommend canning chia seed jam to preserve it.
There are several reasons for this. How long a jar of jam needs to be boiled to form a proper seal and to sterilize the contents of the jar depends on a lot of factors including sugar content, acidity and viscosity.
Accurate information about the total sugar content, acidity or viscosity of chia seed jam is not available since all these factors may be different per batch of jam. Without this information, it’s not possible to determine the time required to boil the jar. Therefore, it may not be safe to preserve chia seed jam.
How to Make Chia Seed Strawberry Jam
- Large bowl
- Potato masher
- 1 C strawberries mashed , about 1 1/2 C fresh
- 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
- ½ tbsp. lemon juice optional if you like a tangy jam
- 1-2 tbsp sugar optional
- Mash the strawberries.
- Add lemon juice and/ or sugar to the strawberries. Taste and adjust the lemon juice/ sugar to your taste.
- If needed, grind the chia seeds (I use a coffee grinder or small blender). Add 2 tbsp ground chia seeds to the strawberries and mix well so the chia seeds are evenly distributed through the strawberries.
- Let the jam sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to thicken. This may take longer depending on how watery the berries are.
- Store in the fridge in an air tight container (I use jars) for up to one week.