Thursday, August 13, 2015

Strawberry Chia Jam - Sugar Free

Over the last few months, I've experimented with a few different variations of Strawberry Chia Jam. I've made it raw (pureed the berries without cooking) as well as a version where I cooked it for about 10 to 15 minutes to hasten thickening. I've used regular black chia seeds and white chia seeds; this version photographed used the white chia seeds, but both work nicely. I finally found the method I prefer best which is somewhere in between the raw and cooked versions where it still retains the "fresh strawberry" taste.

I quarter the strawberries, add a bit of lemon juice and cook them a little until they heat up, then use a potato masher to start pressing and mashing the berries until they begin releasing juices. I prefer my jam somewhat chunky for texture; I like to bite into pieces of strawberry in my jam. As soon as the juices are released and it's the chunkiness that I like, I add sweetener, to taste (I used stevia), and then stir in the chia seeds. I increase the heat and bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer between 4 to 5 minutes before removing from the heat to cool down. As it cools it thickens and after you refrigerate it, it thickens even more. It initially loses it's bright red color after heating up and appears a bit pinkish but as it cools off, the red color brightens back up again. I snapped a couple photos below and included the easy peasy recipe. It keeps nicely for at least a week (possibly longer) in the refrigerator. It's great spread on biscuits or as a topping for ice cream or stirred into Greek yogurt. I used it as a delicious topping when I made ----> Panna Cotta a few months ago. You can sweeten as much or as little as you like, depending on personal preference and the sweetness of your berries. Enjoy!




Strawberry Chia Jam

Ingredients:

16 ounces fresh ripe strawberries, quartered
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chia seeds (I used white chia seeds)
Sweetener, to taste (I used stevia)

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, heat strawberries and lemon juice over medium heat. As the berries begin to heat, begin mashing with a potato masher until the juices release and you reach the desired chunkiness (if a smoother jam is desired, puree berries in a food processor or with a stick type blender). Add chia seeds and sweetener, to taste. Bring to a boil; immediately reduce heat and simmer about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat to cool and thicken; refrigerate to complete thickening and to store.

            

18 comments:

CyberSis said...

Hi GGC,

What *beautiful* jam. And I just love your darling strawberry tea service! Wouldn't this be perfect for a lovely afternoon "cream tea"?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cream_tea

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis,

Oh wow...yes it would! I have had these strawberry pieces for a very long time (25+ years at least). I began collecting everything strawberry when in my early 20s at least, maybe earlier. I have a little creamer/sugar on a tray that go with this and somewhere I have a cute lid to the jam jar that has a little strawberry as the knob to lift the lid along with a little strawberry spoon. I could not find the lid or spoon...but they are around here somewhere! I thought this jam was a perfect opportunity to pull a few of the pieces out. I actually have a full set of Mikasa "Strawberry Festival" stoneware packed away, too...complete with soup tureen, wine goblets (stoneware), etc. I was totally obsessed with strawberries. I have since recovered from that obsession and simply moved on to other "dish obsessions"...LOL.

If you only knew how many sets of dishes I have...but now I'm smarter and try to just buy a few of this or that. Some day when I am gone and someone is going through all my stuff, I know they'll be wondering "what's with all these dishes"...hahaha! :-)

CyberSis said...

LOL, GGC. Sounds like "someone else" I know! ;-)

Sami said...

Love your strawberry dishes, very cute. I seem to collect a lot of dishes too ...Pirex at the moment!
Will try your jam this weekend, as I've just bought strawberries, it will be a great topping for my morning yogurt.

Nanette Cordell said...

I do something really similar to this with blueberries, or sometimes I do a mix of apricot and peach.... or whatever I have on hand that is getting a little ripe! Love, love, LOVE it mixed into plain greek yogurt!

Barb said...

Have you made this with any other fresh fruits? And if do did you have to make any changes to the recipe? I would love to try it with fresh raspberries.
Thanks in advance for your help.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Barb,

I haven't tried it with other fruits but am sure it would be nice with fresh raspberries. I think blackberries would be good, too, but their seeds are a bit tougher. Raspberries sound good! :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Nanette,

Oh my, I never thought about using peaches...I bet that would be awesome! Blueberries and apricots sound great, too. Have you ever frozen yours? I may try doing that to extend it into the fall months. I enjoyed some in my yogurt as "dessert" last night. :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Sami,

Thanks. Glad to know there are others there that collect dishes, too. Pyrex dishes are great as well. I have a number of different casseroles, pie dishes, loaf dishes in Pyrex. I think the older Pyrex was made better (not as fragile) as some of the newer stuff.

Hope you enjoy the jam! It is really good on yogurt (I had some last night for dessert). :-)

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis,

LOL...I wonder who that would be? ;-)

CyberSis said...

Hi GGC,

Looking forward to fall and winter ... do you think frozen berries (or peaches) would work? I'm thinking you could defrost them and drain the excess moisture off before proceeding with the recipe.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi CyberSis,

I don't see why it wouldn't work and someone on here this morning mentioned they did something similar with peaches, nectarines and blueberries. If you drained the excess moisture and proceeded mashing, etc. I'm thinking it should work. Might want to make a small test batch first so you can adjust as necessary (in case you need more chia for thickening). If you try it, let me know how it turns out. I may give it a whirl with fresh raspberries...I picked some up at Costco this afternoon. :-)

Unknown said...

I made this recipe with frozen strawberries this weekend and it tasted really good. I did cook it for a while to evaporate extra moisture so it probably doesn't have that fresh berry taste like yours, however it is really wonderful and gelled up well. I'm thinking of using this over a no-bake low carb cheesecake.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi unknown,

Glad it turned out nicely with the frozen berries. I plan to use it over my no bake cheesecake too. Great minds think alike. :-)

Cammie said...

I am thinking of trying this with figs. They are already a little crunchy and should go well with the chia. Will keep you posted!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Sounds amazing Cammie! Let me know how it turns out. :-)

Jane Baines said...

Hi Gourmet Girl,

I had a carton of strawberries that needed to be used up so I decided to make your jam. While the berries were cooking, I also added about a teaspoon or so of dried lavender. OMG!Is THAT good!!!! I didn't try it this time, but I thought a splash of good balsamic would be good, too, although it might darken it up a bit. And, of course, you'd have to adjust the chia seeds for the extra bit of liquid - or maybe NOT?

I know my husband and I are going to love this on yogurt and muffins. Thanks!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Jane,

Glad you enjoyed it and what a GREAT idea to add the dried lavender. I bet your balsamic suggestion would be good, too. If you didn't add a lot of balsamic, you probably wouldn't need to adjust the chia. Worst case scenario if it turned out a little juicier than you wanted you could still add in a few more chia seeds because they would swell and thicken it even after the fact. I really enjoyed putting it on my yogurt and using as jam. Check out my post today (Monday night), I made cranberry-strawberry sauce that turned out great and could be used that way, too (if you like cranberries, that is). :-)