I love to make healthy and delicious freezer jam (without sugar or pectin!) this time of year when the berries, cherries, peaches and nectarines are plentiful and inexpensive. This jam is easier than any other version I’ve ever done, AND is actually good for you. It’s really not jam at all – because it doesn’t contain any sugar – just fruit and chia seeds. That’s it. That’s really more of a “fruit spread”, but whatever you call it – try it! It’s so easy, your children could make it while you’re at work!
I’ve been using this recipe for five summers in a row now, and I’ve used strawberries, raspberries, cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums. I’m pretty sure ANY fruit will work!
When I said “doesn’t contain any sugar”, I didn’t mean less sugar, I really mean NO sugar. I don’t feel like ripe fruit needs any sweetener at all, and this fruit spread is just like putting fruit on your oatmeal, toast or peanut butter sandwich.
So when someone tells you they have extra fruit – or when it’s on sale, say “YES PLEASE”! If you still have a lot of sugar in your diet and are weaning yourself off, use some stevia in the mix as well. It’s a great option when you want something a little sweeter because it adds NO calories and isn’t a made-up chemical compound.
We sold our house with a garden, berry patches and fruit trees, so now I make jam out of any fruit that friends let me glean, or is a great price at the grocery store.
Here’s how you do it:
- Cut up fruit into small pieces (you can leave it as chunky as you like).
- Taste for sweetness and add stevia to whatever degree you need. This will vary from batch to batch! Don’t feel guilty adding two or three packets for fruit that’s tart because stevia isn’t made from sugar, it’s not a chemical, and it doesn’t elevate your blood sugar levels.
- Add the chia seeds and stir.
- Let it sit for 20 minutes so it can set up (the chia seeds expand and thicken the jam!)
- Spoon into freezer jars, put the lid on and freeze.
I keep it in these teeny tiny jars because there are no preservatives or chemicals in this jam, so it doesn’t last more than a month in the fridge. I take one out of the freezer when I know I’m going to use it, so none goes to waste. I also make some in larger jars for when all the kids are coming home. It’s good on more than just sandwiches! My kids and grandson put it on whole grain pancakes or waffles, atop plain greek yogurt, oatmeal and rice cakes. If you don’t have any fresh fruit on hand, it’s also good in a green smoothie.
Here are the proportions I use:
- 2 C fresh fruit. It’s okay if it’s super ripe.
- 2 T chia seeds (cheaper if you buy them in bulk at Winco).
- 1 to 3 packets stevia, or none at all. Just taste it and add as needed.
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Also optional – I like this, but not everyone does.
And that’s it! Super easy, and this makes a healthy topping for anything you’d use jam on. Please try it! I promise you won’t be sorry.