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How To Pick A Healthy Jam or Jelly

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How To Pick A Healthy Jam or Jelly

A few weeks ago, I wrote How To Choose Healthy Peanut Butter. People wrote and thanked me for this review, but then they wanted to know about the jelly.

Can't have a PB&J without the J right?

First, we need to talk about the difference between jam and jelly. Jelly is a clear fruit spread made with sweetened fruit juice and jam has both fruit juice and fruit pieces in the spread.

My favorite is jam and for this article, I decided to take a look at the one that I buy without question. The "Bonne Maman" brand, made in France, reminds me of my 20's when I lived in Paris for 4 months. Without thinking, I pop this one in my cart because of a sentimental attachment (and I like the taste).

BUT, is it healthy? Well, Bonne Maman, after spending a good 40 minutes in the jam aisle (worrying if security was going to interrupt me), I found Polaner All Fruit. The only thing I could find that differentiated jams from one another is the amount of sugar added to the fruit.

For a serving of Polaner All Fruit, I was looking at 6 grams of sugar and 35 calories and Bonne Maman has 12 grams of sugar and 50 calories. AND, Bonne Maman costs more! (when you have a cute checkered top and you are imported from France, you get to charge a premium.)

What about the taste? The Polaner jam was less sweet, but it tasted great. I have made many PB&J's with this stuff and I haven't even noticed the lack of sugar. It is made with just concentrated fruit juice and fruit with pectin. It is my new cheaper and lower calorie "go to" jam.

Just an aside, when I lived in San Francisco I met a lovely person who makes amazing jams. June Taylor's handmade preserves are out of this world. (They shouldn't even be mentioned beside a commercial brand). She makes them herself with just one assistant.

They are works of art, and they cost $11 a jar. She also makes a $12 bottle of ketchup that I have been meaning to try (when I can find $12 for ketchup). It has been reported to be the BEST ketchup on the planet! If you are in San Francisco, check her out at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market.

Check out her site here: June Taylor Jams and buy some of her jams.

Do you have a favorite healthy jam?

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First 20 Comments: [ see all 23 ]

Good catch Snack Girl! If I wanted a PB&S (peanut butter and sugar) sandwich I'd make a fluffernutter! Less added sugar means you taste the fruit, not the sugar!!

on July 26, 2010

I love that Polaner All Fruit. Even though I don't eat a lot of jam, I spend a lot of time in the jam aisles reading labels! I am more of a PB&B girl myself. I love me some peanut butter and banana. But since I started limiting myself to 1 Tsp PB per serving, I can't even get the peanut butter to spread on a whole piece of bread!

on July 26, 2010

This is the first year I tried MAKING my own jam. Peaches were .33/lb and were delicious. I just learned that regular fruit preserves (in bottles) require more than twice as much sugar. We make tons of freezer jam which was so delicious without the tons of sugar or artificial sweetner.

on July 26, 2010

@Anne,

The PB spreads better when it's warm...
Try a high fiber english muffin (like Thomas' Better Start or something like that - 100 cal; 8g fiber; 1 WW point) and toast it - then you can get away with spreading a THIN coating of PB and sliced bananas...yummy!

OR, I've tried Trader Joe's Better 'N Peanut Butter - it's really not (better), but it definitely has less fat & calories...

on July 26, 2010

I've recently started to look at no-sugar jams. Hard to find one that isn't alternatively sweetened with splenda or something gross like that! Polaner is great.

on July 26, 2010

@Anne,

The PB that's made from 100% roasted peanuts from Trader Joe's spreads super easily even if you've had it in the fridge the whole time, and it taste fabulous. Give it a try! :D

on July 26, 2010

I like PB&H as in Peanut Butter and Honey....I have sugar free honey (found at Walmart) and I use the whole wheat sandwich thins from trader Joes! mmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmm!

on July 26, 2010

I really like the taste of Smucker's seedless jam but it has HFC's. Need to wean myself off of it. So tired of HFC's lurking in every product.

on July 26, 2010

@susan: what oh what is sugar-free honey?

on July 26, 2010

Have you tried making freezer jam? I discovered this slice of heaven last year and made more this year! The full sugar version is AWESOME! The reduced sugar version is Very Good. Yes....sugar does make everything taste a little better. Anyway, the freezer jam only takes a short bit of time and is all homemade.

on July 26, 2010

My favorite breakfast is a piece of Ezekiel bread toast with almond butter and this very spread. Love that it has fiber! Now my kids say, "Can we have some of your mommy toast?"

on July 26, 2010

thanks for the tips! we love adding jam or jelly to toast, cream cheese, yogurt and of course our favorite nut butters...

on July 26, 2010

I love Crofter's Superfruit Spread - 30 cals, 7g sugar. Delicious.

on July 26, 2010

Good to know Polaner is a good jam. I'm more of a jelly person myself. I'm not overly fond of the chunks of fruit in my PB&J. I do like the Polaner when I'm making my truffles as it does have the fruit pieces in it.

on July 27, 2010

Trader Joe's makes a reduced-sugar jam that doesn't have any artificial sweetener, just less sugar. It's pretty delicious!

on July 27, 2010

I agree, we like Trader Joe's Reduced Sugar preserves. I have the raspberry in my frig right now and it has 8 g sugar and 35 calories in 1 Tbsp. But I will have to remember the Polaner All-Fruit when we can't get to TJ's.
And I agree too, freezer jam is super easy. You can use less sugar with the right pectin. Still tastes great, even with leftover frozen Costco strawberries.
And I agree with Kate, what the heck is sugar free honey...what's the point and how exactly is that made...that's just not right.

on July 31, 2010

@kate apparently it's:

Ingredients: Maltitol Syrup, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Acesulfame K, Malic Acid.

No thanks :(

on August 2, 2010

ick! i think that's one of those sugar alcohols for sweetness, isn't it?

on August 2, 2010

Yeah, looks like it's just sugar alcohol, artificial sweetener and "flavor"

on August 3, 2010

lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/nutrition/a/maltitol.htm

wouldn't you rather have *real* honey?

on August 4, 2010

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Welcome! I’m Lisa. I write about simple snacks, healthy recipes, and products that help me WIN my battle with donuts!

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