This Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Jam has fresh and vibrant fruit flavor, and it’s made without pectin – it uses chia seeds as the thickener! This easy refrigerator jam is refined sugar free, vegan and Paleo-friendly.
Are you one to make your own jam? If you are, you already know the beauty of transforming a bounty of fresh fruit into a delectable spread you can enjoy on everything. If you’re not, it may seem like a time consuming process that’s not particularly worthwhile – you can just grab a jar of your favorite flavor for a few bucks when you’re at the grocery store, right?
Right, in theory…but, wrong. Because the jam that you buy from the supermarket will never be as fresh and vibrant and delicious as the jams that you can taste warm from the saucepan, watching the fruit as it bubbles along into jammy goodness.
You also know exactly what’s going into that jam. You can admire the fresh stalks of vibrant red rhubarb as you grab them from the farmer’s market, and steal a sun-ripened strawberry or two as you cut the stems off. Oh, and forget about those cups and cups of sugar most jam recipes call for. 1/3 cup of maple syrup is all this jam needs – I shutter when I see recipes calling for upwards of 5 cups of white sugar!
We’re just using enough maple syrup to sweeten up the tart rhubarb, while still letting the flavors of the sweet strawberries sing without overpowering them. This precariously short time of year where rhubarb season and strawberry season overlap deserves to be commemorated, and this jam gives me all the farmer’s market fresh flavor I could have ever dreamed of.
Most jam and jelly recipes call for pectin to help thicken the mixture. I didn’t have any pectin, and I was wanting to make jam ASAP (a.k.a. I was too lazy to go to the grocery store), so chia seeds stepped in to save the day. The chia seeds, when exposed to moisture, plump up and thicken the jam (or any liquid) right up, totally naturally.
Chia seeds are also a nutritional powerhouse, which doesn’t hurt. The tiny seeds contain a ton of fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and vitamins. The chia seeds, in combination with the time the fruit spends cooking down on the stove, create the perfect spoonable and spreadable “jam” texture. A splash of lemon juice, added at the end of cooking, introduces a bit of brightness back into the jam and rounds it out perfect.
This jam is a refrigerator jam – it doesn’t require any canning so no need to sterilize the jars or boil them or anything. On that note, you also can’t pop it in the pantry and have it in November. It will stay good in the refrigerator for a few weeks though, and I don’t think you’ll have a problem taking it down in that time.
The five simple ingredients used in this recipe are in perfect harmony here, and you’ll want to be spreading this jam on everything! Swirl it into yogurt (SO good) or add a dollop on top of your oatmeal. It will make your PB&J sandwiches way better…and might I recommend you add a bit to these Homemade Peanut Butter Cups for a PB&J cup? You won’t be disappointed! Enjoy :)
Remember to #bakerita if you try the recipe!
- 12 oz. rhubarb, cubed (cut each stalk down the middle and then chop)
- 12 oz. strawberries, quartered
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- In a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and maple syrup. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. After 5 minutes, when the mixture is starting to release juices, use a potato masher (or a fork) to lightly mash the strawberries and rhubarb.
- Add the chia seeds and lemon juice and reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue cooking uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from scorching, for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and there are no big fruit chunks left. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools so don’t let it reduce too much.
- Let cool completely before transferring to clean jars. Keep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Cut this recipe in half if you only want one jar of jam!