Product guide: jams
Why fruit spread has so many names.
Whether it's strawberry, apricot, or cherry flavour, for many people, fruit spreads make up an important part of a tasty breakfast. The fruity, fine delicacies also deliver the energy you need to start off the day.
Once you take a look at the labels, you may find differing terms: There are jams, jellies, marmalades and fruit spreads. But what exactly do these terms mean?
In Germany, the quality of jams, jellies and marmalades is regulated by the 'Konfitürenverordnung', or Jam Directive. There is also a European Jam Directive which differs slightly from the German one.
Jam is largely made up of four ingredients, which determine its quality:
- Sugar and/or sugar derivatives (such as glucose-fructose syrup)
- Edible acids (such as citric acid)
All that may be used to flavour jams is vanilla, vanilla essence and vanillin. Also spirits, herbs and spices.
We differentiate between extra jam and jam, and extra jelly and jelly, depending on the stipulated minimum fruit content.
Extra jam / jam
An extra jam can be made using one or more types of fruit, but the fruit content must be at least 45%. For jam (which used to be referred to in Germany as ‘Konfitüre einfach’ or ‘plain jam’), the fruit content is 35%. There are exceptions such as blackcurrant, rosehip and quince, which have to have a 35% minimum fruit content for extra jam or 25% minimum fruit content for jam.
Extra jam and jam have to demonstrate a stipulated total sugar content. The legally defined total sugar content of jams must be more than 55 g sugar per 100 g. Until the Jam Directive came into force in October 2008, the legally defined total sugar content was at least 60 g per 100 g.
As part of changes to Germany’s official dietary regulations, and according to the latest scientific findings, people who suffer from diabetes mellitus are now advised to eat the same healthy diet as the general population. Special foods in which sugar is replaced by fructose and so on, are not necessary for diabetics. That is why special requirements for diabetic foods have been suspended.
A jam may be called ‘light’ or ‘reduced-calorie’ if its calorific value has been reduced by at least 30% over conventional jam. All or part of its sucrose is replaced by sweeteners.
Our reduced-calorie jam Zentis Leichte Früchte STEVIA fulfils people’s desire for products with less sugar because part of its sugar (sucrose) is replaced by the sweetener stevia (steviol glycosides from the stevia plant), giving the jam 30% less calories.
And what about marmalade?
What the Germans call ‘marmalade’ is actually usually jam. When they use the word marmalade to refer to a preserve made of strawberries or cherries, they are technically incorrect.
As far as industrially manufactured products are concerned, the only spreads that may be called marmalade are ones made of citrus fruit (such as oranges, lemons and lime) with a minimum fruit content of 20% (such as Zentis Sonnen Früchte sweet orange). Apart from that, only privately made fruit preserves may be called marmalade.
Note: orange marmalade is called marmalade when industrially manufactured, but industrially processed raspberries have to be called jam.
Jelly is made of fruit juices without the addition of any pieces of fruit. As with extra jam, the amount of fruit juice in an extra jelly must be at least 45%, in jelly 35%. Again there are exceptions, such as blackcurrants, rosehips and quinces with 35% or 25% minimum fruit content. Jelly marmalade is a marmalade from which every insoluble component has been removed, with the exception of small amounts of finely cut peel.
Fruit spreads are not governed by the Jam Directive. Unlike jams, the sugar and fruit content used is not legally stipulated. However, it is usual in the trade for fruit spreads to be made with a higher fruit content and lower sugar content than jams – for example, Zentis 75% Frucht.
It’s all about the ingredients
Manufacturing high-quality fruity spreads involves using raw materials of impeccable quality. These are procured according to strict quality criteria and tested regularly throughout the whole process chain, right up until manufacturing. Most of the fruit is frozen immediately after harvesting, which means that fruit from the best growing regions of the world can be made available all year round. Fruit used for production can vary in consistency, according to the type of end product: whole and chopped fruit can be used, as can fruit pulp, fruit juice and citrus peel.
You naturally need the very best fruit to produce the ultimate fruity indulgence in a jar or tub. Raw materials are subjected to the strictest monitoring at Zentis on account of its high quality standards. At Zentis, only fruit with firm flesh and an outstanding flavour is purchased and processed when making jams, marmalades, jellies and fruit spreads. The fruit is washed, stoned and de-stemmed before delivery. It is then checked in compliance with strict quality criteria for things like foreign objects, colour, ripeness, size and so on, all as part of the quality assurance process.
Only then is it fed into jam, jelly or marmalade production. The various ingredients such as fruit, sugar, citric acid and pectin are all balanced to produce the desired taste and consistency in the end product. Ingredients like fruit are placed into large cooking vessels and heated gently.
The production process takes place under negative pressure in closed vacuum vessels. The main advantage of this method of industrial cooking is the low temperatures and short heating times it involves. This guarantees the best possible product properties – colour, appearance and consistency – and it preserves the many delicious fruit chunks and an incomparable fruity flavour.
After the heating process, the finished fruit preparation is put into jars. The jars are then cooled quickly in a cooling duct. Quick cooling prevents caramelising, colour changes and flavour deterioration. This is also when the product jellifies, giving jam, marmalade or jelly its typical consistency.
Labelled and packed, the finished products are then loaded for shipping so that they can get to breakfast tables as quickly as possible.