Comparison Between Jam and Jelly Apricot fruit spreads are the preferred choice of bread toppings for many people throughout the world. They are available in several varieties and a multitude of flavors ranging from the basics to some quite exotic blends. Jam and jelly are the two main types of preserves used by those who like a naturally sweet dressing.
Interestingly enough, the United States FDA states that the two are the same by their basic definition. Both are preserves that are derived from fruit and form their unique consistency through the additions of sugar and pectin. They differ quite a bit in the way they are prepared, the flavors they deliver, their textures and even their nutritional values.
Both of these spreads are a delicious way to add a fruity flavor to breads without a lot of unwanted excess. In a side by side comparison with butter, jams and jellies deliver nearly half the calories of butter or margarine. They contain no fat and are can be a nutritious and delicious way to get a quick boost of energy. Marmalade and other fruit-based butters are actually just variations of one of these two formulas.
The most significant differences between the two preserves is in the way they are prepared. Jam is created by crushing and boiling entire fruits. Every edible part is included in the mash. As it heats, natural pectin from the skins are released and provide the mix with a firm, gelatinous consistency that is somewhat lumpy.
With this type of spread, there are likely to be several small chunks of fruit left in the mix from the crushing. Pulp helps to give it a more fluid consistency. In many cases, such as with small berries, the seeds will not be strained out because they have certain nutritional values and add an extra pop to the flavor.
With jellies, the fruit is crushed and strained until nothing is left behind but the juice, which becomes the main ingredient. As the liquid boils, both sugar and pectin are added to the mixture. A reaction between the two additives is what causes the concoction to thicken up and allows it to be spread easily and smoothly.
Since only the juice is used, there are no skins to provide natural pectin, thus a substitute must be added to make it firm up and set correctly. It has a tendency to have a sweeter taste than jam because the inherent tartness that comes from whole fruit is not present and the sugar becomes more prominent. With no real explanation why, children seem to be drawn to this smooth spread more than any of its counterparts, and it is said that before the age of 18, the average person will consume close to 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
So, though they are prepared along the same basic concept, there are some significant differences between jam and jelly. It all comes down to individual tastes and whether one prefers smooth to lumpy or tart to sweet. Whichever is the preferred option, either will prove to be a most pleasant culinary experience.