Jam and jelly are two popular types of fruit spread commonly found in most households. They're made from similar ingredients: fruit, sugar, water, pectin, and acid – usually from lemon juice. Many recipes call for them interchangeably, but you may wonder what makes them different. Jams and jellies are sweet, sticky fruit spreads, but they have some key differences. Jellies and jams differ in texture, appearance, proportions of their ingredients, and how they incorporate or utilise fruit. Find out how jams and jelly are alike and different in this article.
What is jam?
Jam is made from fruit that has been crushed or chopped and then cooked with sugar until the pieces of fruit become soft and lose their shape. During cooking, the water evaporates, and the mixture thickens to a spreadable consistency, though seeds, peels, and chunks of fruit may still remain. Jams can be prepared with or without pectin since fruits naturally contain it.
What is jelly?
Jelly is made by cooking fruit juice with sugar and acid. The juice is extracted by boiling crushed fruit or fruit pieces in water until soft, after which the pulp and peels are separated from the juice using a sieve to remove any fruit or seeds, resulting in a smooth, transparent spread. The jelly texture isn't loose like jam or preserves - it's more like gelatin. Jellies can be prepared with or without adding pectin, but most recipes include it since a good jelly should have enough gel strength to retain its shape and firm texture.
Differences between jam and jelly
Jams and jellies are two types of sweet and sticky spread made with fruit mixed with sugar, water, pectin, and acid — usually from lemon juice. However, they differ in texture, appearance, the proportions of their shared ingredients, and how they utilise or include fruit to produce them.
Similarly to jelly, jam is cooked with sugar and acid, but jam is made from fruit (pureed, chopped, or crushed) instead of juice.
Jelly has the smoothest consistency and is usually clear. In contrast to jelly, jam is not clear and may contain fruit chunks or particles. Jam typically has a looser consistency than jellies and has more texture due to the addition of fruit.
Jam vs jelly vs preserves
Making jelly, jam, and preserves involves mixing fruit with sugar and pectin. The main difference between the three spreads is in the form the fruit takes.
Jam is made from fruit pulp or crushed fruit. As a result, jam is less stiff than jelly.
Jelly is made from fruit juice. It has the smoothest consistency and is usually clear.
In preserves, the fruit comes in chunks in a gel or syrup. Preserves contain more fruit than jam. Marmalade is a type of preserve made of citrus fruits.
Which one is healthier?
Jam and jelly's nutritional value, taste, and spreadability are virtually the same. Both contain about 54 % sugar and have the same macronutrient profile. Even though they may provide some benefits, these sweet spreads are highly sugary products and may cause cavities, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Depending on the amount of pectin added and the type of fruit used, their mineral and vitamin composition will vary. Jellies and jams can provide some health benefits because of their pectin content. Pectin is a type of fibre found in the cell walls of plants and fruits. If mixed with acid, it forms a gel and is commonly used in the food industry to provide texture to products derived from fruits and vegetables. Pectin has prebiotic properties – this helps our intestinal bacteria grow and improves our health.
Researchers have analysed the nutritional profile of jams after nine months in storage and found no significant loss of antioxidant content. Jam can therefore serve as an antioxidant source when fresh fruit is unavailable. In such a case, jam is a better choice than jelly.
Rather than just being faux-meat, Mamu is different. It's a mushroom-based meat alternative that's getting its launch in restaurants so that chefs can test its versatility. Flora Tsapovsky investigates.