Here’s a no pectin blackberry jam that actually tastes of fruit and not sugar!
Blackberries and chia seeds are the base of this low sugar blackberry jam recipe. Blackberries bring the flavour and the chia seeds thicken it up.
Blackberry foraging time is one of my favourite times of the year! We have this little secret spot we go to near a river and there are tonnes of juicy blackberries. I can’t grow bulk amounts of berries in my shadier garden so I make the most of harvesting what’s out there to freeze for over the colder months. So far this year we’ve foraged 10kg already!
So, for that reason this is a blackberry jam recipe, though it can absolutely become a jam of whatever berries you’ve got and love!
Foraging for Blackberries
Wild blackberries grow in abundance here in New Zealand and I’m sure over other parts of the world it’s the same. They are a real invasive pest plant though, so they are often sprayed with herbicides. For this reason, if you’re planning on foraging, make sure you find a spot where you know that they have not been doused in chemicals.
The berries we harvest come with extra little caterpillar friends so we soak them in salty water for about 30 minutes to encourage them to crawl out. I’m not sure if salted water works any better than plain water, but that’s how my dad always did it so that’s what I do now! Then they can be picked off as we see them.
It’s a bit of a process but hey, they’re free berries so I’m not complaining!
Chia seeds in Jam
Chia seeds are the magic ingredient that provide the thickness in this jam. Usually jam is thickened using pectin which along with acidity and sugar helps the jam to gel and set. This recipe is a blackberry jam without pectin. Traditional jams need a lot of sugar and this can really mask the taste of the fruit itself. It also means it’s not very healthy.
When chia seeds react with liquid, their outer shells swell up into this jelly like texture and this is what provides the thickness.
This jam uses only the sweetness you actually want to taste, and it doesn’t have to be from refined sugars. You could use whatever sweetener you like. Or, if your fruit is sweet enough on it’s own you could even miss the sugar out completely.
How To Make Blackberry Jam - The Method
I use around 450 grams of blackberries for every 500ml (pint) jars or for 2 x 250ml (8 oz) jars. Frozen (or fresh) blackberries are added to a saucepan over medium heat, along with a tablespoon of lemon juice.
Once the berries start heating up they will release their juices. Keep stirring it as they do so. When the mixture starts to simmer and the berries break apart, add in a pinch of salt and your sugar or sweetener of choice. I wait until at least this stage because it is easier to taste it to see how much sweetness you’ll need.
Now the mixture needs to simmer for around 15-20 minutes until most of the excess liquid has been reduced. If using frozen berries it may take a little longer. It will still be runny though while it’s hot and before the chia seeds have been added in. Taste it again at this point and see if it needs any more sweetener.
Once simmered down, remove it from the heat and stir through chia seeds. Stir them in the moment they hit the jam, or they’ll clump together. It will start to thicken within about 5 minutes and will continue to do so as the jam cools. Leave it to cool in the saucepan.
Carefully pour the cooled jam into clean jars and store in the fridge or the freezer. As it is a low-sugar jam, it will last for only about a week in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Alternatively, it can be preserved via a hot water bath. This method will allow it to store unopened for up to 6 months. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within a week.
Canning Blackberry Jam - Long Term Preserving
To store the blackberry chia jam long term, take a large saucepan and place a rack or something similar in first, then fill it halfway with water. Lower the jars in the water . (If you don’t have a rack, you could use the lids of your spare preserving jars instead. This stops the jars from sitting directly on the bottom of the pan.) If possible, add more water so the jars are covered by about 2cm worth of water.
Bring the water to the boil and once it is boiling, keep it at a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let the jars sit for 5 minutes before carefully removing them. Preserving tongs from a kit like this work a treat for this!
Once the jars are cooled, check that the buttons on the lids are concave and remove any preserving jar bands if that’s what you’ve used. Label the jars and store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
Looking for more preserving recipes? Try these!
Quick Blackberry Jam Recipe - No Pectin Added
- 450 grams Fresh or frozen blackberries (or berries of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 pinch salt
- 2-3 tbsp sugar or sweetener of your choice (use more or less as needed)
- 1 ½ tbsp chia seeds
- In a saucepean over medium heat add the blackberries and the lemon juice. Stir it together continuously as the berries start to release their liquids.
- Once the berries have broken down, let it come to a simmer and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes stirring regularly as the liquid reduces. Frozen berries usually release more liquid then fresh and may take a little longer. Add a pinch of salt and sweetner of your choice and stir it through.
- Once most of the excess liquid has been reduced, take the pan off the heat. Stir through chia seeds, mixing them in well. Leave the jam to cool in the saucepan.
- Spoon it into clean jars and store in the fridge for up to a week or the freezer for up to three months. Alternativey the jam can be preserved in a hot water bath in which case it can store unopened for up to 6 months. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within a week. (See the above post for preserving via a hot water bath.)