There’s just something so grown-up about making homemade strawberry jam, don’t you think? Especially instant pot homemade strawberry jam with chia seeds and honey. Now we’re feeling fancy, too, thank-you-very-much.
It may be silly but I feel like making jam automatically entitles one to major Grown-Up Bragging Points. There’s just so much awesomeness surrounding it, and so much solidarity and respect for past generations that have faithfully put up the harvest each year to be enjoyed in the long winter months to come.
In these days with a rise in traditional kitchen arts such as canning and All Things Homemade, we have the privilege of CHOOSING to preserve things because we want to, and not because we have to. That means I can do a batch of homemade strawberry jam in July, maybe some peach preserves in a few weeks’ time, and dream up some kind of blueberry goodness in jars to make in August and enjoy it all when the craving for fresh fruit hits next February.
I can also hit up the grocery store or my local farmer to fill in the gaps – an ability that generations before us were not afforded. It’s a privilege I do not take lightly, and one for which I am profoundly grateful.
My personal food philosophy includes an enjoyment of the simple art of cooking and preparing fresh, real food. This homemade strawberry jam recipe is a perfect example of doing just that.
How (and Why) Do You Make Homemade Strawberry Jam Without Pectin?
The usual jam-making recipes call for pectin – a product on the grocery store shelves derived from fruit. Pectin thickens the jam.
Unfortunately, it includes preservatives, and even more of a bummer -requires massive amounts of white sugar to work properly. (And I mean MASSIVE amounts of sugar. Sometimes more sugar than fruit! I’ve seen jam recipes with more sugar than most desserts!)
Enter my latest foodie crush: the amazing, incredible chia seeds!
They absorb a ton of liquid and function like pectin, thickening the jam perfectly. The seeds themselves are not noticeable in the texture as there are already seeds from the strawberries. If anything, it may be a little “extra seedy”, but I bet no one would notice unless they knew to look for it.
Can I Make Homemade Strawberry Jam With Natural Sweeteners Instead of Sugar?
The other awesome thing about avoiding pectin is that you can use alternative sweeteners. If you don’t want to use honey (although I think the favour of honey pairs fantastically with the strawberries) you could experiment with stevia, maple syrup, or coconut palm sugar – though note that I’ve only tested this recipe with honey.
Can I Use My Instant Pot/Slow Cooker/Stovetop/Campfire…?
That last one was sort of a joke, but after typing it I realized that the answer is probably yes! All you need to do is cook the berries, add your sweetener, then add chia seeds and let it thicken for a few hours. The heat source is flexible! Badda boom, badda bing – homemade strawberry jam.
(I’ve tested this recipe with the Instant Pot, the stove top, and a Slow Cooker, but now I’m tempted to make jam in my backyard next time we burn brush. That’s not weird, right?)
I used to cook my homemade strawberry jam in a slow cooker or on the stovetop, but since becoming obsessed with my Instant Pot, I’ve been slowly converting many of my old favourite recipes to have options for each (19 Easy (Real Food) Instant Pot Recipes for Hesitant Beginners). The instant pot is now my preferred method!
This jam was already pretty darn easy, but now it’s just RIDICULOUSLY simple – and geez louise is it ever fast! I mean, I can make a batch of jam while cooking dinner, listening to daughter read from her French book, and moderating an argument between my two boys. I may or may not know from personal experience. Ahem.
Can I Modify This Homemade Strawberry Jam Recipe? Do I Even Have to Cook It?
Heck yes you can modify! Go forth and be jam bosses, my friends! This homemade strawberry jam recipe lends itself well to experimentation. You can customize and play to your own preferences for fruit or other flavors. I think a blueberry-vanilla version would be amazing, as would a raspberry jam, and an apricot jam.
Technically, you could even skip the cooking step altogether and just blend fresh fruit, thicken it with chia seeds, and freeze. (Chia seeds thicken in any liquid – and it doesn’t have to be heated.) It definitely has a different vibe to it – the fruit tastes fresher and lighter. Less jam-like, more strawberry-sauce-like. Both are lovely.
Can I Use Frozen Strawberries Instead of Fresh?
Yup, you totally can! I did that with my last batch and it turned out perfectly. My strawberries were cleaned and then frozen single-layer on baking sheets, then added as-is to the Instant Pot.
I added a couple of tablespoons of water just to make sure it had enough liquid in the Instant Pot (a small amount of liquid is necessary in all Instant Pot recipes), but I’m not sure it was necessary because the berries themselves had plenty of juices as they cooked down. Add it if you want to feel safe, and skip it if you like to live on the wild side. 😉 (And then let me know how it turns out.)
I’m New to Making Jam. Can You Show Me How?
Through the magic of the internet, and mediocre one-handed shots from my iphone while making my latest batch – yes!
First, you add your washed and cleaned berries to the instant pot. Note a very small amount of water at the bottom – that’s because I used frozen berries this time, and as noted above: I added a few tablespoons of water to be safe and keep my instant pot in a good mood. (Probably not necessary since the berries have lots of liquid in them, but when it comes to jam – I’m not monkeying around.)
Then add your honey, and cook on manual for two minutes.
Once it’s cooked and the pressure valve releases, open the lid and mash up with a potato masher. (Or blend if you prefer.) Add chia seeds, and stir well.
Divide into jars, and let cool, then preserve as desired. (I like to keep a few jars in the fridge to use immediately, and then freeze the rest – see freezing tips below in recipe card.) The jam should be fully thickened in 1-2 hours.
And, obviously, enjoy the fruits of your labor (ha) on a slice of fresh-baked bread. Grain-Free Paleo Sandwich Bread pictured below. (Recipe still in development, but I’ll share it here asap.)
I hope you enjoy the recipe! Happy jamming! (Pun totally intended.)
Looking for more posts like this one? Check these out:
- 19 Easy (Real Food) Instant Pot Recipes for Hesitant Beginners
- 4 Things I Learned About My Instant Pot in the First 6 Months
Easy Homemade Strawberry Jam (Honey-Sweetened, No Pectin)
- Add cleaned and cut berries to the instant pot with the honey
- Set on manual mode for 2 minutes, and let pressure release naturally (NPR)
- If you like your jam on the smoother/blended side, then add mixture to your blender and blend on high for 10 seconds. If you don't want to blend, then use a potato masher to mash them up. (I prefer mine just mashed.)
- Add chia seeds (you can add them before blending, if you want the smoothest texture possible – either way works fine)
- Pour jam into small, clean wide-mouth mason jars, and let cool on the counter
- Use jam up within a week, or freeze* for later