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)
- 2 pounds of fresh strawberries washed and cut in half, tops removed
- 1/3 cup honey more if you like your jam to be quite sweet
- 2 T chia seeds
- 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
Sandra A Richardson
Hi, I have always made jam on the stove with pectin and lots of sugar. This was new to me. I use my IP many times a week and I am used to cooking with it. This recipe was an experiment mostly. Is it supposed to be of a thinner consistency than a pectin jam? It smells great and it is still cooling. Will the Chia seeds thicken it as it cools?
Hi Sandra, yes, the chia seeds definitely take some time to thicken. It’ll seem thin at first, but after cooling it should be thicker. How did it turn out?
Mine came out really runny. Let it sit on the counter for about an hour before putting in the fridge/freezer. Is this common and will thicken more as it sits?
Let us know how it comes out!
Could you elaborate/provide some sources about what is unsafe about agave?
If a person has a sensitivity to seeds, what would you recommend? ( diverticulitous)
How did this turn out? Using the canned method?
Googled recipes for strawberry jam using chia seeds and well the first link didn’t work so moved to the 2nd = yours and so so glad that happened. Looking for recipes to use the abundance of strawberries we get locally (we get to pick our own off a farm) here in SE Queensland, Australia (its winter for us right now) but knew I didn’t want a whole bunch of sugar. We also buy local honey from an Apiary so this recipe is a match made in our local heaven!
Oh hurray, I’m so glad you found this post! I too am looking to use my recipe in the next day or so – we just picked strawberries today 🙂 Happy jam-making!
DId anyone hot water bath can this recipe last year? Did you let it sit for the chia to soak up the liquid or did you just can straight from cooking or raw? Getting ready to do my first batch for the season and figured I’d check for others experience or tips before I give it a go. Thank you!
M Gracie Canon
Is this recipe good for most all berries? Would be great if it is. Fast and simple! Gracie
I am making jam for my wedding favors.
How long does this jam last?
Hi April 🙂 What a fabulous idea – I love it! And congrats on getting married soon. This jam lasts different times depending on how you make it. If you do traditional hot water canning and seal it in jars then it will last for a couple of years on a shelf, it would last maybe 6 months in the freezer, and if you make it and just put it in the fridge, then probably 2-4 weeks, depending. If you tend to get toast crumbs and such in your jam, that may reduce the time that it stays good 🙂 If you know how to do canning, I’d recommend that method so that your guests can choose to open it and use it whenever they want.
I will be sharing this recipe for my filled holiday Purim cookies called hamentashen. http://wp.me/p3DSWe-2f
Approximately how many ounces of jam does this make? I want to make sure I have enough jars before starting…Thanks!
Hi Tambi, sorry, I’m not sure of the exact end result measurement. I would think a dozen regular-sized mason jars would be enough, and if you had leftovers you could always use any container at all, and you can even freeze it. Hope that helps! (Sorry this reply was so late!)
Can I use frozen berries? Nothing fresh this time of year and really want to try this! Thanks for the great recipe – I LOVE chia!
I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not! You may have to play around with quantities a little to get your desired thickness, but I would think it would be fine. Let me know if it works! 🙂
I make a refrigerator jam that contains chia seeds and sweetened with honey. I want to try cannig but unsure if the consistency of the jam would change, especially the chia seeds? Also I make my batches cold, so could I then can it or does the liquid need to be hot first? And how long would it need to be in a water bath…. Still 10-15minutes to until the lids pop?
I just received an email and could only see part of your comment via email. I sadly can not view the entire comment nor can I see your reply on my comment. Thoughts?
Oops, never mind…. I found it. Thanks
This looks amazing! I LOVE jams and jellies but try not to eat too much sugar. I’ve got a big bag of chia seeds, I’m going to make this as soon as I have time. Will link to you! Cheers.
I think the hot water canning would be just fine. It only takes 10-15 minutes for the chia seeds to absorb liquid, I don’t think they’d need to sit overnight.
This is great Beth. My daughter loves strawberry jam on her bagel and this fits the health bill. We have also discovered Chia Seeds and featured them in a low-carb strawberry smoothie on our blog. My hubs loved our post mainly because one of the “touted” benefits of the Chia Seed is hair growth (possibly). HAHA. He is now taking it in pill format every day (gotta love it!). Happy Friday.
could you use blueberries instead of strawberries and it’d work the same?
Mmmm this sounds so yummy and fresh. I”m looking forward to trying it! Already pinned it.
Why, oh why? I just did my last batch of strawberry jam two nights ago. I’m gonna have to remember this for next year.
Did you know that citrus seeds contains pektin? You just take them out of your fruit, put them in some light fabric and let them boil with your soon to be marmelade.
This sounds great! I used pectin for the first time ever…..thought it was all natural and literally did not bother to check it at all! The amount of sugar I needed to use was insane! And I am feeding it to my kids in the morning getting them all sugared up for the day. I will absolutely be trying this! Thanks so much for posting Ill let you know how it turns out! Could you sub in different types of berries and if so would you adjust the amount of chia seeds?
Yummy! I use Pamona Pectin for making jam (usually raw freezer jam) as it doesn’t have preservatives and I sweeten it with honey. Dan says I don’t make it sweet enough so this year I’m going to use more honey then I have but it works really well. I’ve made my own pectin as well but it’s a little more work intensive than I want to take the time for these days.
Yes, I’ve heard lots of good things about pomona’s pectin. I might opt for that if the chia seeds bothered me (perhaps with a different fruit), but so long as the chias are unnoticeable, I think I will stick with them. They are probably a whole lot cheaper, too. It’s a good alternative, though, if you want to use pectin! 🙂