30-Minute Strawberry Balsamic Vanilla Chia Seed Jam is a healthier take on a classic favorite jam. It’s basically strawberry chia pudding, so not only is it perfect for topping toast with, but feel free to dig right in with a spoon!
Every year when strawberry season rolls around I go a little hog wild, especially if I’m picking my own. There’s some kind of primal instinct that kicks in when I go into a strawberry field with nothing but an empty container. Every single time I end up coming out with way more than intended or needed. But I could do a lot worse than too many strawberries, lol.
I typically wash, hull, and flash-freeze a tray or two of berries, but I don’t need more than that. My mom used to make freezer jam, which I made for the first time ever this year (it’s both ridiculously easy and delicious). Freezer jam is a little too sweet for how I like to eat on a regular basis these days though, so I decided to just make a small batch and use the rest of my berries to make a healthier version of jam.
Chia seed jam has been around for a while now; I can’t remember where I first saw it, but I think it was at least four years ago. It’s taken me until now to try it for myself and now I’m kicking myself for waiting.
A lot of people think chia seeds have a strange consistency when wet, but here I think they work well because the chia seeds mimic the look of the strawberry seeds! And chia seeds are integral to this recipe, as they’re what make this jam “gel” and thicken.
My mom always used fresh lemon juice when she made her jam and for a fun twist on that, I went with balsamic vinegar here (because who doesn’t love the strawberry/balsamic combo, right?). I sweetened my jam with a touch of honey because I don’t like my sweets overly sweet, but you could add a bit more honey if desired. Also, note that I wait until the jam is done cooking to add the honey because I use raw, local honey for the allergy benefits (so I don’t want to cook the benefits out of it!).
Of course this jam is great for sandwiches or toast, but you can also layer it with yogurt and fruit for a morning parfait, or use it as a topping for oatmeal (noatmeal, maybe?) or pancakes.
What’s your favorite thing to make with fresh, local strawberries?
- 1 lbs (455 g) fresh, local strawberries, hulled and halved if very large
- ¼ cup (60 ml) water
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ½ tablespoon good-quality balsamic vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup (60 ml) raw, local honey (more or less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add the strawberries, water, chia seeds, vinegar, and salt to a medium-sized saucepan. Cover the pan, bring to a simmer, and then cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing the berries with a potato masher or fork.
- Turn off the heat, cool 20 minutes, and then stir in the honey and vanilla.
- Cool to room temperature, and then store refrigerated (or freeze for later use).