This Blueberry Chia Jam is delicious, easy to make, and refined sugar free. Add it to toast, smoothie bowls, oatmeal, or overnight oats for a tasty pop of flavor!
Jam used to be my JAM when I was younger. I mean, what kid doesn't love a delicious, sweet, fruity spread? Or the empowerment of being able to make your very own meal??
I loved putting strawberry jam or grape jelly on my toast in the mornings. I'd take PB&J's to school every day for lunch too - those were the days before peanut allergies were the norm.
Now that I'm living that healthy #plantbased lifestyle, I have to be more careful with fruit preserves because some of them are thickened with gelatin. Many also contain ungodly amounts of sugar - or worse, high fructose corn syrup - which I try to avoid as much as possible.
Chia jam is my yummy, easy and wholesome alternative to store-bought varieties. I love making these fruit preserves so much that I also came up with a Strawberry Chia Jam too. Variety is the spice of life, you know?
What's in This Healthy Jam Alternative and What's Not
This delightfully nutritious fruit spread is made with just four ingredients and NO refined sugar. How do you like them blueberries?!?
So what's NOT in this jam?
If you didn't know, most commercially available jams and jellies have a ridiculous amount of sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in them. In fact, a typical jam consists of a whopping 60% sugar!
While not only unsettling (I'm not looking to eat a candy bar's worth of sugar for breakfast!), this can also be detrimental to health.
Excess sugar and HFCS consumption create large spikes in insulin (our body’s major fat storage hormone) contributing to changes in a person's metabolism. These changes can lead to a number of health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and dementia, among others. (SOURCES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
If you have ever made fruit preserves in the past, you may have also been exposed to the weird science of fruit pectin. While naturally derived from apples, this powdered additive is quite powerful and can cause your jams to seize. Good news though - my chia jam doesn't use a lick.
So here's what's actually in this chai jam:
- Blueberries: Feel free to use either fresh or frozen! You can also opt to swap in any berry of your choice (or the berries that are on sale).
- Maple Syrup: Since fruit is sweet on its own, so I only use a little pure maple syrup in this recipe. Don't worry, it still tastes delicious! In fact, not adding so much sugar makes the jam taste more like blueberries, which are one of my favorite fruits. If you don't have maple syrup, feel free to add a little sugar to sweeten things up if you want.
- Chia Seeds: Instead of fruit pectin, this quick cooking jam is thickened with the magic of chia seeds. When put in a liquid environment, chia seeds form a gel around themselves; they end up like mini tapioca pearls. It is this gel that makes them such a great base for jam. TIP: I also use chia seeds in baked goods to replace eggs and in my overnight oats as a thickener.
- Lemon Juice: The final ingredient is a squeeze of some fresh lemon juice for a touch of acidity. Why, you ask? It just tastes better. Think of it like this: what salt is to french fries, then lemon is to berries. You can also substitute lime here if you prefer!
Please note that this jam is not suitable for water-bath canning due to its low sugar content; it should be stored in the refrigerator.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are high in omega-3s, which are linked with a multitude of health benefits including: decreased incidence of anxiety/depression; higher brain function; and fighting inflammation.
They also contain fiber and protein - which help me to stay sated - as well as vital nutrients like phosphorus and calcium.
If chia seeds aren't reason enough for you to try this jam, don't forget about all of the health benefits of blueberries!
How To Make Blueberry Jam With Chia Seeds
Step One: Cook the Berries.
Add blueberries to a saucepan and cook on low for about 5-10 mins, stirring occasionally. Mash them with a fork while they are cooking to break them up.
NOTE: If you are using frozen berries, there is no need to defrost them first! Just pop them in and mash a little to separate the pieces. They'll defrost pretty quickly if you agitate them in the pan.
Step 2: Mix and Cool.
Take the blueberries off the heat and stir in maple syrup, lemon juice, and chia seeds. That's it!
Let stand until cooled, then transfer to a clean glass jar for refrigeration. That's right, you just made homemade blueberry chia jam. Suzie Homemaker, who?
How To Use This Healthy, Refined Sugar Free Jam
I can't tell you how much I've been loving my chia jam. I make a big batch each week and use it on/in:
- smoothie bowls
- Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Overnight Oats
- Strawberries and Cream Overnight Oats
- or as a topping on a healthy vegan banana split
You can also try this chia jam recipe with strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries depending on your mood. Heck, you could even go wild with a mixed berry jam!
I can tell you from experience, they all work splendidly. Feel free to get creative and find your own favorite mix. If you find a winner, let me know in the comments below!!
Frequently Asked Questions
Matt and I love this jam so much, it never lasts very long! That said, this chia jam will keep (tightly covered) for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Heck yeah, you can! In fact, you don't even have to defrost them (so long as they haven't frozen into a single lump). Just pour them in the pan and follow the recipe as written.
Yes! You can use fresh or frozen - either will work well!
Absolutely! I've made it with strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, and it has been delicious every. single. time.
If you make this recipe and LOVE IT, please give it 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!
Easy Blueberry Chia Jam
- Add blueberries to a saucepan and cook on low for about 5-10 mins, stirring occasionally. Mash them with a fork while they are cooking to break them up.
- Take the blueberries off the heat and stir in maple syrup, lemon juice, and chia seeds.
- Let stand until cooled, then transfer to glass jar for storage.
PLEASE NOTE: Nutritional information data is computer generated and only an estimate so it should be used only as a guide.
Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel clear and confident about what is uniquely nourishing to them. Mary Ellen's recipes and nutrition information have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more.