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Seven Berry Jams July 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Drinks News.

Jam, that comforting, sweet substance, a thick mixture made from the pulp and juice of fruit which is boiled with sugar and water.

The proportion of sugar and fruit in jam varies according to the type of fruit and its ripeness but it is usually about fifty-fifty. Good jam has a soft, even consistency, a bright deep colour, and an exquisite fruity flavour.

Duerr’s Traditional Raspberry Jam > A subtle taste with seeds that are generally hard, like tiny pips. This jam has a jelly-like consistency, which is easy to spread. If they have been making jam for over 100 years, as it says on the packet, then you would expect them to get it just right, but we couldn’t help but feel slightly let down, especially as the first ingredient is glucose-fructose syrup, which means it contains more of that than anything else, and there is only 35g of fruit per 100g. Total sugar content: 65g per 100g.

St Dalfour Cranberry with Blueberry > A French product in a slim-line jar jam-packed with fruit and no runniness at all. No sugar is added to this recipe resulting in a jam that lets the taste of the fruit shine through. Made from an old French recipe with cranberries and blueberries and sweetened only with fruit juice concentrate. Hard to spread due to the dense berries, but if you like your jam with distinct pieces of fruit in it, then this one is for you. It has great colour and flavour. Impressive ingredients list starts with 25 per cent cranberries, 25 per cent blueberries, grape juice and pectin.

Fruits of the Forest Blackberry, Bilberry, Raspberry > A very berry jam with a great fruity flavour, a good colour and consistency. Easily spread and an enjoyable taste. The ingredients are impressive but it is a shame it includes unhealthy glucose syrup. The first ingredients listed are the berries, which make up 55 per cent of this jam. Total sugar content is 60 per cent. I thought this was a Greek product from the packaging but when you look closely it is actually a product of France.

Mavroudes Strawberry Jam > This Cyprus-made product is more like jelly than jam. The colour is an orangey-red, but it was hard to taste the fruit content, which consists of 35g per 100g. It was certainly our least favourite of the bunch. The contents list includes citric acid and glucose syrup, so it would not be a choice for our family.

7 Days Strawberry > A deep rich red, packed with the taste of strawberries. Comments from young and old were “I think it tasted delicious” and “It’s like eating mashed strawberries”. Mmmm, do you get the picture? Disappointingly, again this jam contained glucose-fructose syrup, and also citric acid, but the first ingredient is strawberries which make up 50 per cent of the contents.

Marks & Spencer Strawberry Conserve > Made with fairtrade sugar. A rich red colour, and you can see the strawberry seeds and some pieces of fruit. A berry good flavour though the first ingredient on the list is sugar. An eight-year old tester went crazy for this one and exclaimed: “It’s the best jam I’ve ever tasted”. She could probably tell that this jam had the most fruit compared to sugar ratio at 54g per 100g. The only jam to contain an E number (E331).

Bonne Maman Blueberry > An extraordinary taste in a stylish French jar. You could have lashings of this French-made jam on toast and not want to stop. The flavour is deep and delicious, and it somehow feels like you are eating something healthy, despite the sweetness. Our panel’s overall favourite and most definitely mine. The contents start with approximately 50g of blueberries, and state citric acid is only added if the fruit does not contain enough. Bonne Maman do produce a delicious array of jams, and their strawberry jam is also top notch.

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