The difference between jelly and jam is that jelly is made strictly from the juice of fruit while jam is made from crushed fruit. Specifically, jelly is made by crushing fruit, then straining out everything but the juice. The juice is then boiled, typically with sugar and pectin added, the latter of which reacts with the sugar and heat to give the jelly a thicker consistency for spreading.
The first step in making jam is about the same as jelly, but instead of straining the juice, the crushed fruit is left in, often with the seeds, if they are relatively small, such as with certain berries. Unlike most all jellies, jam may not contain pectin, as the mashed fruit will often give it sufficiently good consistency for spreading.
If you are wondering how to tell the difference between jelly and jam on sight, the jelly will spread pretty evenly, while the jam will tend to be a little lumpy.
- While there is a difference between jelly and jam, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, jam and preserves are to be considered the same thing. However, generally speaking, people call a fruit spread a preserve if the fruit chunks are somewhat large and it is called a jam if the chunks are relatively small and well mashed. Thus, the FDA doesn’t consider the two different as they only differ in the relative amounts the fruit was mashed, which differs somewhat anyways from brand to brand.
- Fruit “butters” are generally just a variety of jelly. All the fruit is strained out to leave the juice. The juice is then heavily enriched with a variety of things, such as pectin, and then can be whipped or cooked down until it becomes extremely thick.
- Yet another name for certain fruit spreads is “conserves”. These are simply jam where several different varieties of fruit are mixed to make the jam. They also will occasionally include nuts mixed in.
- Pectin is an indigestible carbohydrate, and thus is a good source of fiber in your diet. When heated with sugar and water, it thickens into a gel. It is found naturally in the cell walls of most fruits.
- For whatever reason, jelly is significantly more popular with kids than jam and jam is significantly more popular with adults than jelly.
- Around one billion pounds of fruit spreads are produced annually in the United States alone.
- Nine flavors of jams and jellies account for over 80 percent of the total U.S. production, with about thirty additional flavors comprising the remaining 20%. The most popular is grape jelly, followed by strawberry jam.
- Annual retail sales of all fruit spreads comes in around $630 million per year.
- The average American person will eat around 1500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time they turn 18.
- Jams and jellies have about half the calories of butter or margarine and unlike butter and margarine, contain zero fat.
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