What’s better than peanut butter and jam? Making a juicy, fiber-rich strawberry chia jam that tastes like candy – with WAY less sugar – thanks to a hint of balsamic. It comes together in minutes and bonus: you can use this exact ratio of chia seeds to fruit to make chia seed jam with any fruit!
As you might expect, this plant-based dietitian is absolutely in love with chia seeds!! I pop these tiny little gems into a delicious brownie batter overnight oats to boost protein; I add them to a tummy-friendly low FODMAP smoothie for some soothing soluble fibre or let them shine as the star of the show in a matcha chia pudding.
Chia seeds have a ton of nutrition benefits so they are a wonderful addition to plant-based recipes. Chia seeds contain almost 4 grams of fibre and 2 grams each omega 3 fatty acids and plant-based protein in a single tablespoon, along with calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper.
And this juicy strawberry chia jam is a super simple way to include more of this nutrient-dense seed into your life. At its core, chia jam is really just 2 ingredients – chia seeds and fruit – in a specific ratio of 1 tablespoon of chia to 1 cup of fruit.
But…I’m not one to leave well enough alone, am I! And it’s even more delicious to get creative with your flavourings here. To make this strawberry chia jam a treat, I’ve added a little splash of balsamic vinegar as well as some vanilla and maple syrup.
If you’re wondering – um, VINEGAR?!? – strawberry and balsamic is kind of a classic flavour pairing at this point but I promise you…this chia jam doesn’t taste like vinegar AT ALL! Instead, the acidity and syrupy sweetness of balsamic makes this strawberry chia jam taste more like CANDY. It’s magic.
Grab these simple ingredients to make strawberry chia seed jam
You really need just 2 ingredients to make chia jam: chia seeds and fruit but adding a bit of sweetness, particularly when your fruit is not summer ripe, is a good idea. Then, let your creativity take over! A bit of acidity from lemon juice or balsamic enhances flavours as does vanilla.
- Strawberries: summer-fresh strawberries are a real treat in this recipe but you can absolutely use frozen strawberries too! You may like a bit of extra sweetener if your frozen berries aren’t sweet.
- Chia seeds: chia seeds, rich in omega 3 fatty acids, minerals like iron and plant-based protein are such an incredibly powerful plant food! And yes, you can use either whole or ground chia seeds in this recipe.
- Maple syrup: I like maple syrup here but you can absolutely use any sweetener you like, from cane sugar to monk fruit! If using a dry sweetener, you might like 1-2 tablespoons of water to keep the jam from gelling too firm. Start low, taste and adjust up as needed based on how sweet your fruit is.
- Balsamic vinegar: a rich, jammy, acidic note that adds a candy-like flavour to this chia jam which I think makes it really special!! Don’t have any? 1-2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice will also liven up the flavour
- Vanilla: I really love vanilla here, which enhances that dessert-like flavour.
- Salt: just a tiny pinch of salt to enhance flavour…it won’t make it salty!
An important shopping note: Chia seeds are a traditional staple food hailing back to the Mayan and Aztec civilizations and are still widely consumed in the countries where they are grown, including Mexico. For this reason, it’s important to choose a brand of chia that is farmer-focused and pays direct trade or “fair trade” benefits to support the farmers who export this incredible food to our shores.
How to make this yummy strawberry chia jam (works for ANY fruit!)
The best part of this strawberry balsamic chia seed jam – beside the flavour! – is that this 10 minute method works for different types of fruit!
You can make chia seed jam from any juicy fruit, i.e. apples or rhubarb aren’t gonna work but berries, peaches and pineapple will. The gelling nature of the soluble fibre in chia seeds means you can make a nourishing jam without any pectin or gelatin!
All you need to do is remember this ratio of chia seeds to fruit: 1 tablespoon chia seed for each 1 cup of fruit. Yep, it’s that simple. You can sweeten it and flavour it however you like but at its heart, chia jam is simply chia seeds and fruit!
- Step One: Mash and heat the fruit until steaming. Something I do differently than other recipes is that I mash the fruit as soon as I put it in the pot. The reason for this is that I’m not waiting for the fruit to break down on its own so I can cook it faster to preserve delicate nutrients like vitamin C. If the fruit mixture looks a bit dry, you could add a tablespoon of water too.
- Step Two: Add chia and flavourings. Once it is hot, take the pot off the heat and stir in the flavourings and chia seeds.
- Step Three: Put it into a jar and enjoy! You can use chia seed jam while it is still warm if you want a looser, compote-style spread for use with pancakes, waffles or yogurt, or you can let it come to room temperature and then refrigerate for up to 7-10 days.
Yep, it’s that ridiculously easy! Why wouldn’t you try it?!?
FAQ: Is chia jam healthy?
As a dietitian, I’ve got to tell you that chia jam is an incredibly nutrient-dense spread to enjoy on toast, waffles or stirred into overnight oats or yogurt. Plus, it just tastes so FRESH!
Chia seed jam is wonderful for a whole bunch of reasons, including:
It’s blood sugar friendly: contrary to popular belief, fruit is a nourishing choice for someone with blood sugar issues. Plus, the addition of high fibre foods like chia seeds help to further slow down the absorption of natural sugars in fruit. And when you make a chia jam, you don’t need a lot of sugar for gelling so you can control the amount and type of sweetener you use.
It’s nutrient-dense: fruit contains valuable fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals while chia seeds offer omega 3 fatty acids, plant-based protein and minerals like iron and zinc.
So yes, chia seed 100% is a healthy, nourishing food to enjoy more often!
Tips, Tricks and Substitutions
- This jam will keep well in the fridge for up to 7-10 days. And while you cannot can chia jam as it is too low in sugar to be food safe, you can freeze it in a freezer container!
- Don’t love the texture of chia jam? Try using ground chia! It totally works, with a quicker-setting gel than whole chia.
- Ways to use chia jam: You can use chia jam as a spread or topping for toast, yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles and overnight oats! Spread it on crackers, use as a topping for ice cream or a smoothie bowl.
More wonderful ways to use chia seeds
Quick Strawberry Balsamic Chia Seed Jam
This juicy, fibre-rich strawberry chia jam tastes like candy thanks to a hint of balsamic! It’s low sugar, blood sugar friendly and comes together in just minutes.
- 2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds, whole or ground
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or more, to taste, if berries aren’t sweet
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- tiny pinch salt
Place strawberries in a small sauce pan with salt over medium heat. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the fruit as it heats. When it is heated to fully steaming and looks all juicy and mashed, remove from heat.
Mix in balsamic, maple syrup and vanilla, then stir in chia seeds. Let cool for 5 minutes, taste and adjust sweetness if necessary then pour into a jam jar.
Enjoy immediately, or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate for up to 10 days.