by Emily Neill
Whether spread on toast or in a Victoria sponge, there are many ways to enjoy jam. But how can you spot if that enticing jar of jam is made using only plant-based ingredients?
We’re certainly seeing a growth in high-quality and convenient vegan-friendly products. This means that if you’re starting a vegan or plant-based diet, there’s a whole new world of options at your fingertips. That being said, supermarkets can be a little tricky to navigate at first. Many products contain additives and preservatives, so you might be uncertain if they’re suitable for vegans. An example of this is the many jams you find.
The core ingredients of jam are plant-based, so most supermarket jams are vegan. However, a small number of brands also use gelling agents to hold the ingredients together. A common example is gelatin, which is made using animal products. For jam to be considered vegan-friendly, instead of gelatin it must only contain pectin, fruits, juices, and sugars (as well as a range of acidity regulators which can be found in many food products).
Pectin is a natural starch found in fruits and vegetables, which is combined with sugar to help make jam. Once a freshly-made batch of jam is left to cool, it’s the pectin that makes it both thick and spreadable. Pectin is derived mostly from the pips, cores, and skins of fruit. Fruits with a notably high pectin content include apples and plums, as well as citrus fruits and an assortment of berries.
Pectin can be made at home by repeatedly boiling and straining a mixture of fruits, lemon juice, and sugar. Keen jam makers can also buy pectin in powder form, which is suitable for vegans. To guarantee that the jam you’re buying is 100% vegan or plant-based, check the label to see if it’s made using only pectin, rather than a combination of pectin and gelatin.
Intrigued by the prospects of a plant-based diet? If so, head to allplants.com to get yourself started with some tasty, chef-made, 100% plant-based meals.
Emily is our Content and Community Assistant by day, and qualified PT by… later that day. She couldn’t live without exercise (makes sense) so can usually be spotted in her favourite spin class, with our Three Mushroom Risotto for afters.