All Natural Mixed Berry Chia Jam

If you want to delight your guests and loved ones with a beautiful, delicious and succulent seasonal jam, have I got the thing for you!

Even better? This version is brimming with nutrients and will only take you about 10 minutes to whip up (yup, that’s right, 10 minutes!).  Oh and don’t worry, I won’t tell a soul… your domestic goddess status is safe with me.

I’ve always relished the idea of jam but rarely eat it because most commercial brands and home preserved varieties are more about the added sugar than the fruit.  It’s a real shame too because fruit contains so much natural goodness (and plenty of sweetness), it doesn’t actually require much messing.

But how to create a jam without the pectin and the heavy sugar load needed to activate it?

That’s what I love about this recipe.  It allows the taste and the star quality of the fruit to shine through without bogging it down with additives/preservatives.  Chia seed is a natural gelling agent and a perfect fit for this raw, natural variety of homespun jam. Chia also brings with it an array of nutrients to complement the fruit, which you can read more about in the Nutrition & Cooking Notes.

The other fun thing about this recipe is that you can choose (and vary) the fruit according to its seasonal availability to create a different taste experience each time. Chia works particularly well with berries because the tiny seeds mimic those natively found in the fruit but you could certainly experiment with other pulsed fruit (or ideally a combination of berry and other fruit) and see how the resulting texture appeals. With something this easy, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine creating a new variety every week.  And now that the warmer months are finally upon us [yay] it’s nice to support local growers and benefit from fruit at its peak of freshness and nutrient quality whenever possible.

By the way, I also think these little jam jars would make a gorgeous hostess or mother’s day gift!

No?

All Natural Mixed Berry Chia Jam 

All Natural Mixed Berry Chia Jam

  • 8 – 12 (about 150 grams) plump, juicy and happy fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) dazzling fresh blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) orange zest, optional
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) chia seed

Makes about 1 cup of mixed berry chia jam (6 servings)

Nutrition & Cooking Notes:

  1. Chia Seed: Chia seeds offer plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants and an impressive array of minerals. Unlike flaxseed, chia does not have to be ground to be bioavailable (ie: to be absorbed and usable by the body). Flaxseed has a similar nutrition profile to chia (with slightly less fibre, omega-3s and minerals per serving) but flaxseed has the added benefit of containing lignans – plant compounds believed to be protective of breast health – which chia does not.  Chia is more expensive than flaxseed but due to the highly concentrated nature of its nutrients on a gram per gram basis, a small amount of chia goes a long way. You can find chia seed at any health food store and many larger grocery stores.
  2. Fresh & Frozen Fruit: Chia works particularly well with berries in this recipe because the tiny chia seeds mimic those found natively in the fruit but you can certainly experiment with different pulsed fruit (maybe a combination of berry and other fruit such as apple, peach, plum or apricot for example) and see how you like the resulting texture.  Frozen berries will work here but you may need to thaw them first and allow some of the moisture to drain. You can also increase the amount of chia seed to enhance gelling effect if there is a higher moisture content from the frozen fruit.  Again, some experimentation may be required.
  3. Citrus, Spice & Fresh Herbs: You can play around with different varieties of citrus including lemon, lime and orange and add other flavorings such as cinnamon, clove, cardamom, anise and ginger. Fresh herbs such as basil, thyme and mint can also add a zing factor.
  4. Not a Preserve: It’s important to note that the featured recipe is a raw, fresh food jam that does not contain any additives or preservatives. This particular jam is not suitable for canning or long term storage.  It should be kept in a container in the fridge and enjoyed within one week.

Directions:

  1. Combine: strawberries, blueberries, orange zest, orange juice, honey and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor.  Pulse briefly until desired consistency is achieved.  For a chunky jam with pieces of fruit still visible, you will only need two or three pulses.  This will also allow the blueberry to appear distinct from the strawberry which is quite beautiful.  If you prefer a more uniform colour and a smoother texture, continue pulsing until desired consistency is achieved.
  2. Transfer fruit mixture to a suitably sized bowl and add chia seed, mixing with a wooden spoon to combine.  Your fruit mixture will gel relatively quickly but I like to leave the mixture in the fridge for about 2 hours before serving for an ideal jam consistency.  You can store the jam in a glass mason jar in the fridge or any covered container to be consumed within one week.
  3. Keep in mind that this is a raw, fresh food jam that does not contain any additives or preservatives. This particular jam is not suitable for canning or long term storage.  It should be kept in a container in the fridge and enjoyed within one week.  With a recipe this simple, you can make a new variation every week and take advantage of seasonal fruit and herbs from your garden throughout the summer!
© Inspired Edibles

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my favourite way to enjoy this jam is on my morning oatmeal 

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Comments

  1. Elizabeth says

    Kelly, your pictures are GORGEOUS! They literally jump off the page. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prettier presentation of jam and this recipe is simply genius. You’re right, the ratio of sugar to pectin in preserves is really high but I would have never thought to use chia seed as a gelling agent. So clever and the 10 minute prep time is crazy! I’m so excited to try this recipe… the oatmeal idea is great! (looks so beautiful). A perfect gift idea for sure (do you ship?? ;-).

  2. Kristy says

    A jam that doesn’t involve canning?! I’m all over this Kelly! The kids love jams and preserves on toast in the morning, but like you I’m not a big fan of the store bought variety and canning is not something I have time for right now. This is perfect. I can’t wait to try it. All I need are the chia seeds. :)

  3. Sandra @ Kitchen Apparel says

    Yay…Chia jam! Can you believe I have actually never made chia jam but I have been meaning to. I’m thinking I would love to do this with some of my lingonberries but strawberries and blueberries…oh I am so jealous right now. Few more weeks and we should be getting some!!! And…that is probably the prettiest morning oatmeal I have ever seen. Great recipe <3

  4. says

    I’m extremely intrigued by this recipe! I make jam one jar at a time all of the time, but it still requires a 2:1 ratio of fruit to sugar, some acid (lemon or orange juice) and cooking in order to get it to become “jam”. So I’m assuming that the chia seeds have a gelling effect when it reacts with the fruit? Or do you think that there really isn’t a “reaction”, but rather that the chia absorbs the liquid from the jam, causing it to gel or basically thicken? Never having had chia seeds before, I don’t know what they taste like so can you taste them in the jam? I know – lots of questions, but as I said – I’m extremely intrigued. :) This is definitely one of those recipes that I’m going to have to try in order to satisfy my curiosity. It certainly looks good!!!

  5. inspirededibles says

    HI MJ! Yes, you’re spot on with the chemistry of conventional jam making — the delicate balance between fruit, sugar, pectin and acid. The chia is much simpler :) it simply absorbs water so whether you are enjoying it with a squeeze of citrus juice or without, as long as there is moisture present, it will create that viscous, gelling effect which is really cool.

    I have to say, I treated myself to some of this jam this morning and it is so light and fresh tasting with just the right sweet note (though you could always add a bit more honey/sweetener to suit your personal preference) – the fruit really comes through. I think you would love trying this one MJ and it would be the perfect introduction to chia :)

  6. inspirededibles says

    I am not surprised that you haven’t tried chia jam sister — you are hardcore :) hunter, gatherer, forager, pioneer woman ☆

  7. inspirededibles says

    I know, I know… a jam recipe that was made for us, right? (all the traditionalists are rolling their eyeballs at me ;-) that’s ok, we make choices ♡.

  8. inspirededibles says

    Aww, thank *u* Elizabeth!! You brighten my days immeasurably with your kindness! Hope you like this one as much as we do. Have a beautiful weekend ✿༻ღ.

  9. Sissi_Withaglass.com says

    What an unusual jam, Kelly! And, believe me, as a regular jam maker, I am very rarely surprised in this theme.
    I haven’t bought chia seeds yet though they wink at me every week when I go to my organic shop. So expensive… but this seems an excellent way to use them.
    Your photographs, as always, fabulous and so different! I wonder how much time you spend taking them… Apart from hard work I also am sure you are very gifted!
    Like you I am not a big fan of jams because of the sugar content, but when I prepare jams (preserves) I usually add only 30% of sugar (which seems enough to preserve my jams) and there is even one jam I make without sugar! Moreover it keeps for long years: it’s my plum “butter” (I posted it some time ago). I use only very ripe fruits and slowly simmer it for several days. It’s the only jam I couldn’t live without: tangy, smokey and with such a deep flavour!
    You have made me plum butter hungry ;-)

  10. says

    I was just talking to Rhys about making some chia seed jam!! It seems like chia seeds are the only thing here that aren’t extraordinarily expensive for what they are. So, you best believe we have been eating them like craaaazy!! Rhys eats chia pudding now almost every day for breakfast, but he loves toast. We always joke about him starting up a food truck, “Rhys’s Toast Truck” with just everything on toast haha. I know he would dig this chia jam on it. I must find some happy strawberries and dazzling blueberries! Although I think I’ve missed the boat on that season here…I will have to experiment with some fun fruits that are in season. I think I would love this on oatmeal, just like you. If not just for taste but to gaze at because it’s so beautiful!!

  11. Eva Taylor says

    I’m totally with you Kelly, store bought jams are just so terribly, sickly sweet that I too prefer to make my own. I adore that photo with the crumpets, did you make them? I hadn’t thought to add chia seeds to a jam but I like that it would bring some additional texture. Your jam is just and absolutely gorgeous colour Kelly.

    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

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