I love jam…namely my Mama’s Strawberry Freezer Jam. I could literally suck that stuff up with a straw. But man alive – as good as it is, it’s chock full of sugar. Most jams are. When we started eating the Trim Healthy Mama way, I had to start learning how to convert my favorite recipes to be made without sugar. And boy, I hit this one out of the park. BOOYA!
Most jams are made with a bunch of sugar, some pectin, and a little bit of fruit. I wanted my jam to be made of mostly fruit, sweetened with stevia, and thickened with something good for me.
I had read that you could thicken jam using an apple…but I didn’t want to go that route. I saw somewhere on Pinterest that you could make RAW jam with strawberries using chia seeds – and I know chia is great for thickening smoothies and oatmeal. So, I thought I would give it a shot: freezer jam, made without sugar, thickened with chia and in the, wait for it…CROCK POT. Booya again.
This turned out well so well…well beyond my imagination. I’m SO EXCITED to share this with you today! Especially during berry season. I’ve only made this with strawberries and blueberries so far, but I imagine it would work with any berry: blackberry, raspberry, etc.
Why in the crock? Well, I’ll be honest here…I burn stuff a lot. A LOT. Cooking things in my crock helps me be more successful…it’s harder to burn stuff in there. Possible, yes. Harder, yes…and no one wants burned jelly – that’s sacrilegious.
This recipe is really very easy. You simply wash your berries and chop them. I quartered my berries unless they were HUGE – then I cut them into smaller pieces. Add some lemon juice and stevia. Bingo. That’s it until you add the chia seeds later.
Why lemon juice? To help keep the beautiful red color…we don’t need no stinkin’ red food coloring around this joint. Booya – have I said that already?
I used stevia to taste – NuNaturals Pure White Stevia Extract that I purchased from Vitacost. You could also use sugar if you like – but you’ll need to sweeten to taste. It might take 1/4 cup or up to 4 cups – it will depend on the berry.
I used a little over 2 teaspoons of stevia for my batch, but you’ll need to use it to taste – it will depend on the sweetness of your berries. Add just a little and taste as you go to get it right.
After you put the berries in the crock with the lemon juice and stevia, you’ll cook them on high one hour – then you’ll mash them with a potato masher. You’ll cook another hour and mash again. After that you’ll cook a final two hours.
During the final two hours, you’ll want to put a spoon under the lid to prop it open a bit. That’s to help let the moisture escape so the jam can start to thicken. Make sure to tell your 3 year old why it’s there so she does not remove it and use it to torture her brother and the dog.
You’ll want to cook until it starts to thicken just a bit. This will vary based on your crock pot. Some crocks cook REALLY hot…if yours does, then keep a watch on this during the final two hours. You might only need three total hours.
When it is slightly thickened, stir in your chia seeds. I also purchase my chia seeds from Vitacost. They are such a great thing to have around for thickening stuff. Since they’re black and strawberries already have seeds, you can’t even tell that they’re in the jam. Nice!
Ladle your jam into jars and let it cool slightly. Refrigerate or freeze for longer periods. I imagine it would keep several weeks in the fridge – but I don’t know because mine didn’t last that long. I froze part of it…and I need to make MORE. We need jam to last us through the winter! What’s Christmas without a big ole delicious jelly biscuit?!
This mixture gets thicker as it sets up in the fridge – let the chia seeds work their magic. Booya.
**I store mine in the freezer in sterilized mason jars.**
Crock Pot Sugar-Free Strawberry Chia Jam
- 3 pounds strawberries or blueberries, quartered
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1-3 teaspoons stevia extract (I use NuNautrals) OR 4 cups sugar (start with the small amount and taste as you go to get the sweetness right. It will depend on the sweetness of your berries – some people have reported that 1/4 cup is enough sugar.)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Lightly grease a 5 quart crock.
- In crock, combine lemon juice, berries, and stevia. Stir to coat.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.
- Uncover and mash berries using a potato masher.
- Cover and cook another hour.
- Mash berries again.
- Cover and cook for 2 final hours with a spoon propped under the lid to let moisture escape. You might need only 3 hours, but I needed 4 hours for mine to start to thicken.
- Stir in chia seeds.
- Ladle mixture into jars and let cool slightly.
- Refrigerate or freeze for longer periods. This mixture will get thicker in the fridge as it cools and the chia seeds work their magic.
NOTE: When making Blueberry Jam, I find that I need to cook the mixture 5 hours to thicken instead of 4.
**I store mine in the freezer in sterilized mason jars.**
Yield: 4-5 cups jam
THM Compliant: This is a FP jelly with a serving size of 2 tablespoons.
*This post is linked at Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, at Make Your Own Monday at Nourishing Treasures, at Better Mom Monday, at A Round Tuit at Creating My Way to Success, at Mix It Up Monday at Flour Me With Love, at Melt In Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, at On The Menu Monday at Stone Gable, at Marvelous Mondays at This Gal Cooks, at Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands, at Trim Healthy Tuesday, at Clever Chicks at The Chicken Chick, at Fat Tuesday on Real Food Forager, at Hearth and Soul Blog Hop at Premeditated Leftovers, at Handmade Tuesdays at Ladybug Blessings, at Share It Link Party at The Winthrop Chronicles, at Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy’s Recipe Box, at Traditional Tuesdays at Intentionally Domestic, at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, at Teach Me Tuesday at Growing Home, at Works For Me Wednesday on We Are That Family, at Allergy Free Wednesday at Whole New Mom, at Healthy 2Day Wednesday at Authentic Simplicity, at Welcome Home Wednesday at Raising Mighty Arrows, at Cast Party Wednesday at Lady Behind the Curtain, at Wednesday Whatsits at White Lights on Wednesday, at Fresh Foods Wednesday at Gastronomical Sovereignty, at Show and Share Wednesday at Mostly Homemade Mom, at Wonderful Food Wednesday at All She Cooks, at Wellness Wednesday at Intoxicated On Life, at Gluten-Free Wednesday at The Gluten-Free Homemaker, at Proverbs 31 Thursday at Raising Mighty Arrows, at Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, at Frugal Food Thursday at Frugal Follies, at Thrive at Home Thursday at Live Called, at The Project Stash at 7 Alive, at Simple Lives Thursday at My Humble Kitchen, at Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs, at Thriving on Thursdays at Domesblissity, at Tasty Thursdays at The Mandatory Mooch, at Thursday’s Treasures at Chocolate, Chocolate, and More, at Pin It Thursday at Sweet BellaRoos, at Natural Living Link Up at Little Natural Cottage, at Foodie Friday at Simple Living and Eating, at Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, at Friday Food Frenzy at Mostly Food and Crafts, at Weekend Potluck at Sunflower Supper Club, at Serenity Saturday at Serenity You, at Sweet and Savory Saturdays at Dessert Now Dinner Later, at Weekend Whatever at Creative Christian Mama, and at Think Pink Sunday on Flamingo Toes.