I hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! Part of our festivities included an annual tradition: strawberry picking! We headed to a local farm just west of where we lived, picked ourselves a batch, and even snagged some raw honey to boot (confession: I have a small obsession with honey. It’s SO good for you and so neat to try different regional flavors! It’s also the best for anyone who suffers from allergies. Okay. I’m done).
At the end of the day, I found myself with exactly twelve bug bites and a LOT of strawberries. So, I’ve declared this week Strawberry Week! I’ll be sharing three different ways to prepare these seasonal fruits with healthy, simple recipes. First up, a family favorite: strawberry jam!My dad is usually the chief jam-maker in our house, but I wanted to try my hand at it, since it’s such a good way to preserve and use fresh fruit. My goal was to see if I could make a recipe with less sugar and preservatives than what you’d find on a grocery store shelf. This recipe is great for several reasons: it’s got only three ingredients, uses natural sweetener, and gets its jelling power from one of my favorite superfoods: chia seeds!
This recipe starts off with strawberries and a little honey (yay!) on the stove. You can use another sweetener, but I figured I’d keep this as simple and local as possible! The berries will start to cook down and become mushy, and also smell like fresh-baked pie. Marvelous things, I tell you!Once the berries have begun to break down, go ahead and mash them towards more of a liquid consistency—it’s okay to have a few pieces in there, because it’s jam, not jelly. Let it cook for a little while longer and resist the urge to sneak a taste of this molten strawberry goodness (you will burn your tongue, terribly. Not like I’m speaking from experience or anything.)
When the mixture starts to bubble, it’s time to add our chia seeds! I picked up a package during my last Trader Joe’s run—they’re such a good source of omegas and healthy fats, and can be put in anything from smoothies to oatmeal! Today, they’re adding their naturally gelatinous properties to thicken our jam instead of having to use pectin, like in other jams. These tiny seeds are similar to strawberry seeds in consistency, so you shouldn’t notice any major differences in texture.After another minute of cooking, it’s time to cool! Since we’re not going through a formal canning and sealing process (my dad does and it’s a LOT of work!) you’ll just need to keep this jam in the fridge, where it will last for several weeks. I love this swirled into oatmeal, with a bit of cheese, or spread thick on a slice of Ezekiel toast. Plus, it’s just one more way you can feel like a total domestic goddess.
Strawberry Chia Seed Jam (paleo, vegan, gf)
via Well Plated
- 4 cups fresh strawberries (bruised or overripe fruit works great in jam, so use those berries you might have thrown away otherwise!)
- 2 tablespoons sweetener, or to taste (honey, agave, etc…)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Heat berries and sweetener in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until berries begin to break down. Use a potato masher or whisk to break down fruit into small pieces.
- Continue to cook fruit mixture for another 10-15 minutes until fruit begins to bubble. Add chia seeds and cook for an additional minute, then remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes.
- Carefully pour mixture into a washed and well-dried mason jar. Let cool completely before transferring to fridge.