My Favorite Way to Use Up Ripe Summer Berries|Recipes Spots

My Favorite Way to Use Up Ripe Summer Berries

Hands holding a colander as they rinse strawberries and blueberries
Simply Recipes / Sarah Crowder

I recently took a magical trip to Oregon during the peak of berry season. I thought I had tasted really good berries before, but it turns out I was wrong. The strawberries and blackberries I ate were stupidly delicious, and I devoured them by the handful.

I wanted to bring a piece of the trip home with me, so I bought a flat of marionberries and carefully transported them home via car, plane, and car again. While I ate a few fresh, they were fading fast, and I wanted to capture their intoxicating flavor so I could enjoy it for as long as possible. Jam was an obvious solution, but I didn’t want to add too much sugar and I lacked the patience for true jam-making. 

Preserving a Berry Bounty (Without the Fuss)

If you find yourself in a similar predicament—overflowing with summer fruit, but unwilling to taint them with too much sugar or turn on your stove long enough to make real jam—then do as I did and make chia seed jam. It took about 10 minutes and perfectly captures true berry flavor.

You don’t need to use as much sugar as you would in traditional jam or cook it as long since the chia seeds thicken the mixture naturally. This helps the natural flavor of the berries really shine. While you can’t can this jam for long storage, it will last at least a few weeks in the fridge and freezes really well. Nothing busts up the winter blues like a spoonful of berry jam.

An open jar of marionberry jam with a spoon in it
Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

Tips for Making Chia Seed Jam

If you’re nervous about making jam, then this is the recipe for you. You only need a few ingredients, it has a very short cook time, and there’s no wondering if your jam will set up or is canned properly. The chia seeds do all of the work.

When using our recipe, you can play around with the fruit and proportions. I made the recipe using all marionberries and doubled it and it worked like a charm. Just be sure to taste the jam at the end since you might need a little more sugar depending on what berries you use.

How to Store and Serve

The mixture will thicken up in the fridge after a few hours, but if possible make it the day before you plan to use. Mine successfully kept for 2 weeks and likely would have kept longer but I ate the whole jar. I stuck a second jar in the freezer for a rainy day, and I know I’ll be thanking myself later.

A bowl of yogurt with marionberry chia seed jam stirred in
Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

I mostly ate my jam swirled into plain yogurt and it was glorious. If you’re a meal prepper, add a few spoonfuls to the bottom of several small jars, top with yogurt, and you’ve got homemade fruit yogurts for the week. It’s also great on toast, as a topping or filling for cake, blended into a smoothie, and more.

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