This is just genius! And, it is officially my favorite strawberry jam ever. Apart from the fact that it tastes even better than the jam of my grandma (no offense), it also takes just 10 minutes to make, with no need to simmer jars, to wait hours till the jam gets thicker, or till the sugar dissolves. There is actually no sugar in this jam. Which is jet another advantage! And don’t be skeptical, it is still sweet and very aromatic.
The secret ingredient are chia seeds. The seeds work as a natural thickener in this jam since they absorb the juice from the berries and preserve it. For those who are not familiar with chia seeds, I highly recommend to try it and to read this. Apparently, it’s one of the healthiest foods on our planet, so it’s a shame to miss the benefits that chia seeds offer. And also in comparison to other superfoods, such as goji berries or matcha, chia seeds are considerably affordable.
I also want to share a little pre-story as to how I came up with the idea to cook a jam at the first place. I have to admit, cooking jam is not something I would normally do. I love fresh berries, just the way they are and normally I am reluctant to cook them.
This time was different. Last weekend Patrick and I went to a little farm for strawberry picking, just a bit outside of Hamburg. I can’t explain exactly why we did it, but at the end of the day, it was a nice experience, which left us with 4 kilos of strawberries. The strawberries were amazing, super sweet, juicy and aromatic! Not comparable to the stuff sold in supermarkets. So I think we ate two kilos right away, actually while we were driving back. I have to say, even with all my love for fresh berries, this was a strawberry-overdose. I was even concerned that I’ll develop an allergy.
Nevertheless, I still convinced myself to eat yogurt with some strawberries the next breakfast (or better to say: strawberries with some yogurt). But this was my very limit. Therefore, I started to search for the ways to recycle the rest of the strawberries, in a way that we could give ourselves a break from strawberries for at least several days.
This is when I came across the idea of making a strawberry chia jam! Apparently, other food lovers and bloggers, such as for instance thekitchn, have already figured it our (there many more bloggers who also cooked it, but I stumbled upon this one).
To be honest, I was a tiny bit skeptical in the beginning. I do normally have chia seeds at home and do use them now and then, but I can’t say that I was a big fan of chia seeds (just imagined myself a group of chia seeds fans 😀 ). And furthermore, I could not believe that this simple recipe can turn out as perfect as it was promised. I still decided to try though, and this has changed my opinion of chia seeds (still not planning on joining a fan group) as well as changed my vision of a perfect jam.
So, do try it! This recipe is great, it works and nothing can go wrong. The perfect scenario is, of course, that you have super sweet and aromatic strawberries. As I said, the berries we picked were so sweet that I actually didn’t add any sweetener at all, and even according to Patrick the jam was super sweet (btw: Patrick is certainly no supporter of the anti-sugar movement. He loves sweets). But in case your strawberries are a bit sour, or watery, just add some extra maple syrup.
- 2 cups threaded strawberries
- 2 spoons chia seeds (maybe a bit more, depending on how juicy the berries are)
- 2-3 spoons maple syrup (depends on the berries you have)
- Cut strawberries into small pieces (I cut roughly, to have both small and bigger pieces, as they look nice in the jam)
- Put strawberries into a large bowl, close with the lid, and on the medium heat bring to simmer (watch out that the heat is not too high, you want that the berries slowly give off their juice and not that they burn)
- As the berries start to boil, open the lid and simmer for another 7 minutes. Don’t worry that the mixture becomes very liquid, that’s exactly what we want – to preserve the juices.
- Remove from the heat. Mix in chia seeds and maple syrup. Even if the jam still looks watery, wait for 10 minutes before adding extra chia seeds (as they will absorb a lot of juice). If after 10 minutes, it’s still not thick enough – add more chia seeds. Also, try for sweetness and if you’d like it to be sweeter add some more maple syrup.