You can make this easy keto and sugar-free chia jam from any frozen or fresh berries 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 keto waffles and pancakes, or just eat it with a spoon. It’s that good.
Why this is the best keto jam
This keto homemade chia 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. You can also make a lot and freeze it for later!
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 some delicious, all natural pure peanut butter in a bowl – I like to 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 jam brands labels read “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 just 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 bad stuff that I’d consume, and even pay more for, thinking that it was good for me.
Is maltitol keto?
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 erythritol 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.
Please remember to always examine the labels for these hidden ingredients, it’s the only way to know what you put inside your body. When shopping, read the ingredient list of every new product, and if you see something that looks shady, just google it on the spot.
And if you can’t find a good keto alternative to buy, why not have some fun and DIY?
Keto berry jam flavors
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 variety of currants taste even tarter, so no lemon addition to the jam. Extra sweetener? Yes, please.
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, kind of 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 disintegrate them. Which makes blackberry jam a more than 5 minutes 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.
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 knowledgeable 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 counteract 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 keto jam
Take your chosen amount of fresh or frozen berries (ingredients listed make a 7 ounces or 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. You can use the regular black or the white ones, whichever you prefer.
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.
Storage and freezing
Chia jam isn’t supposed to be canned, but it can be preserved as freezer jam, in an airtight container. I really like my mason jars. Just leave some room on top 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!
Sugar-free Chia Seed Berry Jam
- Smash the thawed frozen berries, or fresh berries, with a potato masher or a fork.
- Add the chia seeds: if the mashed berries are thicker in texture (blackcurrants, blueberries), add 1 tablespoon. If the mashed berries are juicier (strawberries, raspberries) add 2 tablespoons.
- Try for taste, and add the lemon juice and sweetener as needed. If adding more than two tablespoons of liquid, increase the amount of chia seeds.
- The jam can be eaten straight away, but it will get thicker after setting in the fridge for a few hours.
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