Easy Chia Seed Very Berry Jam

whole_food_plant_based_very_berry_jam_7

Did you grow up making jam each summer? Maybe your grandma had shelves of homemade jams that she canned with love and care? Or is your only homemade jam reference from TV shows where people use crazy-looking tools to extract hot jars from huge steaming pots? 😳

The idea of making your own jam can be intimidating, to say the least. We’re here to show you how simple it can be. Easy and enjoyable, even! Our Easy Chia Seed Very Berry Jam is packed full of sweet, tart fruit, is naturally sweetened, and uses chia seeds for thickening. No weird ingredients or special equipment needed. 

Stupid simple, and deliciously addictive, this refined sugar-free jam takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and only six ingredients.

What you need to make Easy Chia Seed Very Berry Jam

Frozen blueberries: purchasing frozen blueberries will shorten your cooking time. This is because water molecules expand when frozen. Softer foods have more delicate cell membranes, which breaks down some internal structure, saving us cooking time. Plus, frozen fruit is available year round! If you’d rather make your jam with fresh blueberries, feel free, but keep in mind that you may need to cook the jam longer. 

Cranberries: high in antioxidants and naturally-occurring pectin, which thickens liquids under the right conditions, cranberries are the perfect fruit for jam! Their tart flavor balances the mellow sweetness of the blueberries nicely. Cranberries have sturdier cell membranes, so fresh berries work just as well as frozen, purchase whichever you prefer. 

Chia seeds: these amazing seeds are full of fiber, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. But the real magic is what happens when they’re exposed to liquid. Chia seeds are hygroscopic, meaning they attract and hold water up to 12 times their weight! They also develop a gel-like coating that lends them a distinctive texture that’s perfect for jam. Don’t skip these, they’re crucial to our quick-setting Very Berry Jam.

100% pure maple syrup: sugar is added to the jam to sweeten it, of course, but also because it’s hygroscopic (vocabulary is fun!) properties help the pectin to thicken and set the jam. We like to use maple syrup because it’s a naturally derived and minimally processed source of sugar. Purchase whatever grade syrup you like, just be sure maple syrup is the only ingredient.

Lemon juice: the acid in lemon juice also helps the pectin set because it lowers the pH of the jam. From a flavor perspective, we love the bright notes of lemon combined with the sweetness of the fruit.

Salt: we always add salt to sweet recipes. It won’t make our jam salty when used in small amounts, but it will help balance and carry other flavors. Salt’s chemical properties mean it can cancel out harsh notes like bitterness and deepen otherwise flat flavor notes. Pro tip: if you don’t enjoy the bitterness of coffee, add a tiny pinch of salt to the grounds before brewing. You can thank us later.

How to make Easy Chia Seed Very Berry Jam 

If you’re using fresh cranberries, give them a quick rinse and pick out any stems, debris, or dried-out berries. 

Add your blueberries, cranberries, and water to a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. It’s okay to chuck them in without defrosting.

Once your pot is at a simmer, let it cook for about five minutes. As the berries start to soften, use a wooden spoon or a fork to mash about half of them. This is going to help release some of the natural pectin in the fruit and speed up the thickening process. Plus, breaking down the fruit a bit will help it cook. If you have a cocktail muddler, it would work great for this.

After the five minutes are up, add the chia seeds, maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt. While continuously stirring, allow to simmer for about three to four more minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken. This is the chia seeds absorbing water and gelatinizing (that’s a real word, we googled it).

Remove the pan from the heat. That’s it! You’ve just made jam, you amazing kitchen genius, you! We knew you could do it.

You can use your jam immediately while it’s still warm or let it cool to thicken more. If you like it as jammy and thick as possible, let it cool to room temperature on the counter, then pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours before use. Up to you, bugaboo! 

We love Easy Chia Seed Very Berry Jam on:

wfpb brunch board
Our favorite place to use our Very Berry Jam is as part of a big beautiful plant based brunch board! If a brunch board sounds intimidating, we promise it’s not. You can make as much or as little as you like, and most things can be made ahead of time. And don’t forget, you just made jam from scratch!

Storing and freezing chia seed jam

You can use your jam immediately while it’s still warm or let it cool to thicken more. If you like it as jammy and thick as possible, let it cool to room temperature on the counter, then pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours before use. Up to you, bugaboo! 

Our Easy Chia Seed Very Berry Jam freezes well. We suggest using it within four months for the best flavor. Be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator.

Easy Chia Seed Very Berry Jam

Molly Patrick
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1⅓  cups frozen blueberries (6.7 oz)
  • cup fresh cranberries (or frozen) (2.3 oz)
  • 1⅓ tablespoons water
  • 1⅓ tablespoons chia seeds (0.5 oz)
  • 1⅓ tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions

  • Add the blueberries, cranberries and water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. This will take about 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. As the berries begin to soften, use a wooden spoon or fork to mash about half of them.
  • Stir in the chia seeds, maple syrup, lemon juice and salt and continue to simmer, while stirring, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 3 – 4 more minutes.
  • Remove from heat. The Jam will continue to thicken as it cools.

Notes

Can be served warm or chilled.

Have you made our Easy Chia Seed Very Berry Jam? Did you feel like a certified wizard? Tell us all about it in the comments below. We love hearing about your triumphs!

May you always delight in new experiences.

Xo 
Team Dirty

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Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.

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