Recipe by Chef Nikki Dinky
Talk about easy! Some strawberries, a little sugar, some lemon, and chia seeds to thicken things up, and 15 minutes later you’ve got jam. Chia seeds can be added to things raw for a nice little crunch, but when cooked or left to soak, they swell up, absorbing more than 10 times their weight in water, thickening whatever you put them in—they will absorb any excess water in your jam, giving it a perfect consistency. Besides making for a foolproof jam, chia seeds are super high in fiber, antioxidants, protein, iron, and calcium, which is why they’re a favorite ingredient in my house.
Makes 1 cup
• 2 cups stemmed strawberries, fresh or frozen (10 ounces)
• Kosher salt
• ¼ cup granulated sugar + more to taste
• 2 tablespoons chia seeds
• Juice of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons) (optional)
1. If your fresh strawberries are extra-large, cut them into halves or quarters (keep frozen ones whole, even if large). In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the strawberries along with 2 tablespoons water and a pinch of salt, stirring to combine. Bring this mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the strawberries have broken down and most of the water has evaporated—15 to 20 minutes.
2. Turn the heat to low and use a potato masher or fork to mash the strawberry mixture until it is mostly smooth. For a completely smooth jam, blend the strawberry mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth, then transfer back to the pan over low heat.
3. Stir in the sugar, chia seeds, and lemon juice if desired and cook until the ingredients are well incorporated and the sugar is fully dissolved—2 to 3 minutes. Carefully taste the jam (it’s hot!) and see if it needs more sugar. The recipe calls for a low amount of sugar in comparison to other jam recipes, and sometimes I do need to add an extra 1 to 2 tablespoons, depending on how sweet the fruit was to begin with.
4. Transfer the jam to a jar and allow it to cool completely before serving. It will thicken as it cools and the chia seeds will work their magic, so don’t worry if it looks a little thin.
Raspberry Jam: Sub in 2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (8 to 10 ounces), for the strawberries, and reduce the cook time to 5 minutes in Step 1 Raspberries break down very easily, so you’ll get a perfectly smooth jam with no blender or mashing required. Raspberries are actually my favorite, but you can also try blackberries, blueberries, or mixed berries. These should take 10 to 20 minutes to cook.
Make a bunch: The recipe can be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled! Making a bunch then freezing some is a great time saver, which leads to…
Freeze It: Store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year. To thaw from frozen, put jam in the fridge overnight.
Use It: Make a more nutritious PB&J that’s lower in sugar using this jam and a 50-50 mix of peanut butter and plain hummus that’s been well blended.