Say goodbye to those sugary, diabetes inducing, insulin spiking, sickeningly sweet industrialized jams. This keto homemade jam recipe is so easy, quick and delicious that you won’t want to live without it anymore. No need for cooking, no microwave, no pectin. You can tweak the flavor to suit your taste buds, adding erythritol or stevia for a sweeter jam, and lemon or lime juice for some tart sharpness. Or not. You can make it in under 5 minutes and have it right away, or wait for a couple of hours until the chia sets it harder. Have it spread on keto bread, topping Greek yogurt, make cookies with it, put it on waffles and pancakes, or just eat with a spoon. It’s that good.
I have great news for keto you: you don’t need bread to eat PB& J. No, really. I proudly present to you the keto version: Put your peanut butter in a bowl – I add some pink salt, too. Spoon some of your favorite berry chia jam on the top. Have they both together, but don’t mix them up in the bowl. Marry them on top of the spoon before each bite, and honeymoon them in your mouth. You’re welcome 🥰 And you can also upgrade the peanut butter part for an after gym version: mix it with whey protein and transform it in caramel.
The hidden sugars in store bought jam
Keto life shouldn’t be no jam life. And thus started my quest to find a sugar-free jam. But the options I encountered were never really sugar free. Some say “no sugar added”, a wording so wrong that makes me laugh. Finding one of these that really doesn’t have sugar added is a challenge indeed. Any juice concentrate is basically added sugar. How the industries get away with this swindling of the innocent? I used to fall for the con too, before I educated myself. It’s upsetting to think of all the crap that I’d consume, and even pay more for, unknowingly ruining my health, one sugary bite at a time.
If the sugar-free jam that you see in the store doesn’t include juice concentrate or syrup, it might still have maltitol. Maltitol is a sugar alcohol, but unlike erythritol, it spikes insulin: it has over half of the glycemic index of pure sugar. It should be a crime to have maltitol in diabetic labeled products, but it’s way cheaper than erythtritol or xylitol, so there you go. It’s present in almost every type of “diet” labeled “healthy” food item. Even sweeteners! You’d think every i.e. stevia sweetener is keto friendly and blood sugar safe, but many brands add maltitol to it as a bulking agent. Or even worse, maltodextrin, which has a even higher glycemic index than sugar.
Do your health a favor, always examine the labels and know what you put inside your body. When shopping, read the ingredient list of every new product, and if you see something you’re not yet familiar with, just google it. You’ll know if it’s shady before spending your money. And if you can’t find an alternative to buy, why not have some fun and DIY?
Some berry-licious ideas…
Black currant chia jam
Because of their sharp acidic flavor, currants are most often used in sauces and jams, instead of eaten straight. The frozen bags are cheap and very flavorful – a great option for your keto jam! The famous crème de cassis liqueur, used in cocktails like kir (with white wine) and kir royale (with champagne) is made of black currants. And a ton of sugar 👎
I love currants! And the red ones are the cutest, they look really christmassy. The first time I tried one I puckered really hard. I think my face turned inside out. How could such a small thing be so overwhelmingly sour? But it grows on you. The black ones taste tarter, so no lemon addition to the jam. Extra sweetener? Yes, please.
Blueberry chia jam
Blueberries make for delicious jam, but they present a structural challenge that you might wish to address. They are incredibly soft on the inside, but just mashing them with a fork or potato masher is not enough to fully crush them. No matter what you do, the blueberry skins remains unchanged. The berry “filling” just oozes out of the skin. They are tough, kinda like a grape peel, but thinner.
If this skins in the jam bother you, there’s no other way around it. You’ll have to use a blender, or an immersion blender, to properly desintegrate them. Which makes blackberry jam a more than 5 minutes jam.
Raspberry chia jam
Raspberries have the most interesting structure. You touch them with the fork (or your lips, or a feather) and poof! They’re gone. They are like fruit juice loosely surrounded by a delicate flexible container. Raspberries, unlike us, are cute bags of mostly water.
That’s why they need a large amount of chia seeds to jelly properly. But it’s no big deal. The chia seeds are so similar to the raspberry’s own seeds that you can’t even tell they’re there. The raspberry chia jam looks like a regular, commercial sugar jam. If someone doesn’t know better, they won’t be able to tell the difference.
Strawberry chia jam
Before you dispense judgement, I know that strawberries are not berries, but I call them berries anyway, because, well, the name ends in berry. By the way, my knowleageble husband recently brought to my attention that watermelons are actually berries. Yep, the world has gone crazy.
Strawberries have a more delicate flavor, if compared to other berries used in jams. They are fragile, and tend to lose the fresh taste when frozen. To conteract this, if using frozen strawberries in your keto jam you’ll probably have to add a good amount of both acid and sweetener
How to make any berry sugar-free chia jam
Take your chosen amount of fresh or frozen berries (Ingredients listed make a 200 grams jar, multiply as needed) and put them in a flat bottomed bowl. If frozen, wait for them to thaw.
Take a potato masher, or similar blunt weapon, and smash the berries until desired consistency. You can easily puree them to oblivion, by hand – they are really fragile – or just smash them lovingly, to leave some bits and chunks. Your call. Now add the chia seeds.
If you want the jam to have a really smooth texture, make it in a blender jar, or insert an immersion blender in the bowl, and pulse it a few times. This will turn the berries into juice, and break down the chia seeds. It’s also a good idea if you don’t care for the chia seed’s alien egg appearance.
Before spicing up your jam, try for taste. It might just be perfect as it is. If not, adjust the taste to your liking: For a sweeter sugar-free jam, you can use any keto friendly sweetener of your preference, either liquid or powdered. You can also add spices and extracts, such as ginger powder and vanilla.
For a tangier jam, you can add lemon or lime juice. Citric acid is another option. Citric acid is sold in powder form in the baking section in supermarkets, and you can achieve a more pronounced tartness in your jam by adding a small amount, as it has a much more powerful acid kick than lemon or even lime juice. Citric acid makes your jam last longer, as it works as a natural preservative.
One wonderful thing about this recipe is: you can just try and add more or less of anything to your taste, at any point in time. Even after the jam is set in the fridge, it’s still fine to add some more sweetener, lemon, other flavor (vanilla?) or even more chia seeds or water, to alter the consistency if you find the jam to be too runny or hard. Just mix it well after the additions.
How to preserve sugar-free chia jam
Chia jam isn’t supposed to be canned, but it can be preserved as freezer jam, in an airtight container. Just leave some room on top of the jar for the liquid expansion, to avoid explosions. Frozen food will remain safe to eat for as long as it is frozen, but the taste will decay over time. When ready to enjoy, thaw the jam in the refrigerator. Your delicious keto chia jams will keep refrigerated for about one week… if they last that long!
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- 170 grams of the berry of your choice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
- lemon or lime juice, to taste
- keto sweetener, liquid or powdered, to taste
1. Smash the thawed frozen berries, or fresh berries, with a potato masher or a fork.
2. Add the chia seeds: if the mashed berries are less liquid (blackcurrants, blueberries), add about 1 tablespoon. If the mashed berries are juicier (strawberries, raspberries) add about 2 tablespoons.
3. Try for taste, and add the lemon juice and sweetener as needed, and any flavors you'd like. If ading more than two tablespoons of liquid, increase the amount of chia.
4. The jam can be eaten straight away, but it will get thicker after setting in the fridge for a couple of hours.
US Cups approximate conversion: 3/4 cup of the pureed berry. Other ingredients as indicated.
I used frozen berries for all variations of the recipe. If using fresh berries you might need little less chia seeds to achieve the same consistency, as fresh berries hold less liquid. Or just add some more water/lemon (or lime) juice.
Nutritional Information is calculated based on black currant jam, made with 14 grams of chia seeds – one tablespoon. All berries are low in carbs, but if you are calculating your macros verify your chosen berry nutritional profile for accuracy.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 50 grams or 1/4 of a jar of black currant jam
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 33Total Fat: 1.2gCarbohydrates: 4.4gNet Carbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1.4gSugar: 0.1gProtein: 1.1g
Nutrition information is provided as a guideline only. Different brands of ingredients may have different nutrition facts. If you are doing therapeutic keto for medical purposes, please remake the calculations using the nutrition facts from the labels of the ingredients you selected. Net carbs calculated exclude carbs from insoluble fiber and the sugar alcohol erythritol.