COMPOSITION OF INGREDIENTS
Artisanal jams are prepared with few ingredients:
- The fresh fruits of your choice which will compose jam
- Sugar used for preservation and to give texture to jam
- Lemon juice is added to help the jam set
- Natural pectin
We guess that many more elements go into the composition of an industrial jam jar. It varies depending on the brand and type of jam. However, here is a general list of ingredients commonly used in industrial jams :
- Fruits : Industrial jams usually contain fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, apricots, oranges, cherries, etc. Fruit can be fresh, frozen, or processed into a puree or concentrate. The amount of fruit can vary, but it is usually between 50% and 70% of the total content.
- Sugar : it is an essential ingredient in the manufacture of jam, as it acts as a preservative and helps gelling. It can be used in different forms, such as granulated sugar, powdered sugar or glucose-fructose syrup. The amount of added sugar varies, but is usually between 30% and 50% of the total content.
- Gelling agent : Some manufacturers add gelling agents to help thicken and give a jelly-like consistency to jam. Ingredients such as pectin, agar-agar or gelatin can be used.
- Citric Acid : Citric acid is often added to impart a tart flavor to jam and act as a preservative.
- Flavourings : Some manufacturers may add artificial or natural flavorings to enhance the flavor of the jam.
- Preservatives : in some industrial jams, preservatives may be added to extend the shelf life of the product. These preservatives can include sulphites, sorbic acid, benzoates, etc.
In view of all these chemical preservatives, stabilizers and emulsifiers used by manufacturers, we advise you to check the labels of jam jars to find out the complete list of ingredients.
We need to provide details about pectin, the preservative that is commonly used for artisanal (which remains optional) and industrial preparation.
Pectin is a substance that occurs naturally in fruits, especially in parts such as peels, seeds and membranes. It is classified as a soluble fiber and it plays an important role in the texture and consistency of fruits. It is therefore used in the food industry, particularly in the manufacture of jams, jellies and other fruit-based products, due to its gelling properties. When heated in the presence of sugar and acidity, natural pectin forms a gel network that helps thicken and stabilize these products, creating a gelatinous texture and better hold.
Natural pectin is often extracted from citrus processing by-products, such as peels and pulps. It can also be extracted from other pectin-rich fruits, such as apples, strawberries and currants. This natural pectin is then transformed into powder or gel in order to be used in culinary preparations.
It is important to note that natural pectin can vary in chemical composition and pectin content depending on the fruit used. Some manufacturers may also offer natural pectins that are certified organic, with no additives or additional chemical modifications.
Some jam makers add chemically obtained pectin to their recipe. Indeed, there are several types of pectin, each with specific properties and uses. Here are the main types of pectin:
- High Methoxyl (HM) Pectin : This is the most common type of pectin used in making jams and jellies. It requires the presence of sugar and an acid pH to form a gel.
- Low Methoxyl (LM) Pectin : This type of pectin requires less sugar and can form a gel at higher pH. It is often used in reduced-sugar or no-sugar-added products.
- Modified pectin : Modified pectin is chemically or enzymatically treated to alter its gelling properties. It can be used in a variety of food products to achieve different textures and consistencies.
- Amidated pectin : Amidated pectin is a form of pectin that has been chemically modified to form a reversible gel. It is often used in products that require gel stability at room temperature and reversibility when heated.
- Cross-linked amidated pectin : This is a form of amidated pectin that has been chemically treated to form a stiffer thermoreversible gel. It is used in products requiring increased resistance to heat and freezing.
Manufacturers can therefore offer different variations and combinations of these types of pectin to meet the specific texture and stability needs of their jams.
The preparation process
The main difference between industrial jam and homemade jam is in the production process and the ingredients used.
Industrial jam is made on a large scale in factories. As mentioned earlier, it is often produced from less ripe fruit and usually contains additives such as artificial preservatives, colors and flavors. Industrial manufacturers tend to use more sugar and less fruit to extend shelf life and achieve a consistent texture.
Industrial jam and artisanal jam differ mainly in the following aspects:
- Ingredients : Industrial jam often uses less ripe fruit, while homemade jam is made with fresh, ripe fruit.
- Additives : Industrial jam may contain additives such as artificial preservatives, colors and flavors to extend shelf life and achieve a consistent appearance and taste. Homemade jam usually does not use such additives.
- Amount of sugar : Processed jam tends to contain more sugar than homemade jam. Industrial manufacturers often use more sugar for a smoother texture and for preservation reasons.
- Manufacturing process : Industrial jam is produced on a large scale in factories, while homemade jam is prepared in an artisanal way in a kitchen. It may require slower, more delicate cooking to preserve the natural flavors of the fruit.
- Taste and texture : Due to differences in ingredients and manufacturing processes, artisanal jam often offers a more authentic taste and a more rustic texture, with bits of fruit preserved. Industrial jam tends to have a smoother consistency and more uniform taste.
In summary, industrial jam uses less fresh ingredients, contains more additives and sugar, and is produced in a standardized way on a large scale. Homemade jam uses fresh, ripe fruit, has a more authentic taste, a more rustic texture and is prepared in an artisanal way.
Advantages of industrial jam
Nevertheless, industrial jam has certain advantages, in particular:
- Shelf life : Due to the additives and production methods used, industrial jam generally has a longer shelf life than homemade jam. It can be stored for longer periods of time without deteriorating, which can be handy for those who want to have jam on hand at all times.
- Taste Consistency : Industrial jam is made to standardized recipes, resulting in consistent taste and appearance from batch to batch. If you particularly enjoy the taste of a specific brand of industrial jam, you can expect it to taste the same with every purchase.
- Affordable price : Compared to homemade jam, industrial jam is often cheaper. Due to the economies of scale made by industrial manufacturers, they can produce the jam at a lower cost.
Remember that these benefits may vary depending on the brand, and that there are also disadvantages associated with its consumption, such as the presence of additives and excess sugar. It is therefore best to consult the nutritional information and product labels to make an informed decision.
Benefits of homemade jam
As for homemade jam, it has advantages more related to the very nature of the product.
- Taste and quality of ingredients : it allows the use of fresh and ripe fruit, which gives a more authentic and intense taste. You also have full control over the ingredients used, avoiding additives, artificial colors and flavors.
- Texture and presence of pieces of fruit : it often has a more rustic texture, with pieces of preserved fruit. This adds a pleasant mouthfeel and allows you to fully enjoy the freshness and texture of the fruits used.
- No additives and more natural : by avoiding the use of additives and favoring natural ingredients, homemade jam can be considered a healthier option. It reduces sugar consumption and avoids preservatives and other potentially undesirable additives.
- Nutritional Value : By using fresh, ripe fruit, homemade jam can retain more of the essential nutrients found in fruit, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
It is important to note that homemade jam has a shorter shelf life than industrial jam, due to the absence of additives and preservatives. It is recommended to store it properly and consume it within a reasonable time.
The nutritional value
The nutritional values of jam vary depending on the ingredients used and the amounts of sugar added. However, here is the general nutritional information for 100 grams of jam (about two tablespoons):
Calories : it usually contains between 250 and 300 calories. This may vary depending on the sugar and fruit content.
Carbohydrate : Carbohydrates are the main component of jam. It contains about 60 to 70 grams of carbohydrates, mostly in the form of sugar from fruit and added sugar.
Fibre : Jam generally contains little fibre, around 1 to 2 grams per 100 grams. The amount of fiber depends on the type of fruit used.
Protein : it has a very low protein content, generally less than 1 gram per 100 grams.
Fat : Jam contains little or no fat. Its fat content is negligible.
Regardless of the type of jam, remember that jam is a concentrated source of sugar, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike quickly and provide calories without providing many essential nutrients. Therefore, it is recommended to consume jam in moderation as part of a balanced diet and to pay attention to the amount of added sugar.