Health Benefits of Jam:
• Jam boosts energy. The sugars are perfect for snacking or adding to breakfast items for a quick oomph.
• With half the calories of butter and hardly any saturated fat, jam helps maintain a healthy weight when following recommended serving sizes.
• Jam is a concentrated source of nutrition when made with fruits that have been captured fully ripe.
• Jam has most of the health benefits of fruit, most notably, heart healthy, cancer fighting antioxidant power.
• Last but not least, it tastes great. Sweet and full of whole fruit pieces, jams are like candy without the empty calories.
Choosing Your Type of Jam:
Read the labels:
While a high fruit content jam with minimal additives is delicious and adds to your daily fruit servings, most highly processed versions do not reap any health benefits. In fact, they are more likely to lead to weight gain and high blood sugar levels.
Whichever type of jam you prefer, always remember to choose the high fruit content jams with few additives. Make sure that the ingredient list is short, and that you choose an organic product. This ensures that there are no chemicals, preservatives, GMOs or any other harmful additives in the product. The no sugar, no pectin, no corn-syrup added versions are usually a good pick.
Remember to be weary of health claims as you choose your jam. When you see a claim such as ‘no sugar added’ for instance, ensure that the sugar has not been replaced with similarly harmful artificial sweeteners. In general, products with the Health Promotions Board’s ‘healthier choice’ logo are best.
Choose your preferred texture:
Preserves - Broadly speaking, preserves are fruits prepared for long-term storage. Fruit preserves are made from fruit juice, pulp, skin and seeds, sweetener and pectin, and have lots of body and texture.
Jams - Considered the same as preserves by the United States Department of Agriculture, jams contain both fruit juice and pieces of fruit (pulp, skin and seeds) and typically are less chunky than preserves, while still offering plenty of texture. Jams contain pectin and can be made with a wide range of sweeteners, including artificial ones.
Marmalade - Made with whole citrus fruit, including the rind, these have a slightly bitter edge. They are traditionally sweetened with sugar, and sometimes with fruit juice.
Jelly - Jelly is a clear fruit spread made from fruit juice, some kind of sweetener (including artificial ones) and pectin.
Fruit spread - The name fruit spread may suggest a product that’s sugar-free, but many actually contain cane sugar or fruit juice extract for sweetening. Most are made with whole fruit and pectin, so have a similar texture to jam, with a mouth feel that varies depending on the sweetener used.
Fruit butter - Fruit butters have the velvety mouth feel of butter without any actual butter. Fruits are cooked down to pulp and passed through a sieve, sweetened with either sugar or juice and sometimes enhanced with warm spices.
Chutney - Think of chutney as spiced jam. This tangy Indian condiment is made from fruit, sugar, vinegar and spices, and ranges in heat from mild to hot.
Curd - These tangy, sweet spreads are made with citrus fruit, sugar, eggs, butter and sometimes pectin. They are delicious but relatively high in calories.