After discovering how easy it is to use chia seeds to thicken fruit for jam a few years ago, I set out to create the ‘perfect’ ratio of whole food ingredients with the least amount of work (you guys have all figured out by now that I’m all about the easy around here, right?) that still resulted in the freshest-tasting berry jam like the traditional pectin freezer jam I’ve made for years. And to say I’m excited about this recipe is an understatement! SO good, SO quick & easy, and adaptable to different berries and sweeteners, this chia seed no cook blackberry freezer jam is my go-to recipe now – I hope it will be for you, too.
If you read the past post on freezer jam, you will know that we prefer uncooked jams because of the fresh and vibrant flavor as compared to cooked. It’s relatively easy to make jam without pectin if you cook it – but then it’s, well, cooked. Still tasty for sure, but it definitely looses that fresh flavor we love. So I stuck with quick freezer pectin products – and I still hold to the idea that they are fine – until I read that chia seeds could be used as a thickener.
Here’s the thing with pectin for me: it’s an item that I don’t normally have on hand. I have to buy it specially and I found I was out of it more than not. Chia seeds, on the other hand, have become a staple for us over the past few years. We use them every morning to top our granola to boost our omega-3s and provide other health benefits. So developing a freezer jam using chia seeds was a win-win for me – I could whip up a batch anytime our berry bushes produced enough and it actually increased the goodness of our homemade jam!
And while a lot of recipes using chia seeds will still have you cook the fruit, I experimented and found it’s not necessary. This recipe will literally take you 10 minutes – or less!
- wash fruit, add to the bowl of a food processor
- add remaining 3 ingredients
- whir up until the consistency you like
- pour into freezer-safe jars (I use half-pint canning jars)
Um, you can see why I’m pretty excited about this, can’t you? You don’t even have to stir 3 minutes like with the super easy pectin pouch. AND you can use any amount or type of sweetener you want with no worries about it not ‘setting’ since the seeds work no matter what.
I have used this recipe with blueberries, raspberries and all types of blackberries, but since the chia seeds create a texture, I think it really works best with berries that have seeds (or skins like the blueberries). We didn’t really like it with strawberries, but that’s totally up to you – the seeds may not bother you, so give it a try with other fruits if you like. Cut the recipe in half to make smaller test batches – and be sure to leave a comment if you do and how you liked it!
- 3 c. blackberries (raspberries and blueberries are good, too), washed
- ¼ c. maple syrup (or honey or even sugar - it's up to you)
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- ¼ c. chia seeds
- Place the washed and drained berries into the bowl of a food processor.
- Add remaining 3 ingredients.
- Process until a jam-like consistency is reached. You will see the mixture start to thicken, and it will continue to thicken a bit more as you add it to the jars.
- Divide it between 4 1/-pint sized jars (most canning jars are freezer-friendly) or other freezer containers.
- Label and freeze up to a year.
- To use: thaw and keep in fridge for a week or so - it doesn't store as long in the fridge as regular pectin jams, so be sure to use it within that time frame and only keep small amounts thawed at a time.
Do you use chia seeds? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!