Given their unique jiggly textures, people often ask if jams and jellies are vegan.
We've compiled everything you might want to know about the subject to clear up your confusion!
This guide will...
- Answer all your questions about the vegan status of jam and jelly.
- Show you some awesome and healthy recipes you can try at home.
- Point you to some delicious brands to try out!
- Maybe make you a little hungry...
Vegan Jam & Jelly FAQ
We've answered some of the most common questions surrounding vegan jam, jelly, and preserves below. Should you have any more, be sure to let us know in the comment section.
Is Jelly Normally Vegan?
Most store bought jelly brands are indeed going to be vegan as they use pectin (a naturally occurring fruit-based thickener) rather than gelatin to give the product its firm and jiggly texture. Although it is indeed possible for some brands or recipes to call for gelatin, it doesn't seem to be a common practice.
Even the most popular brands like Welch's do indeed use pectin and not gelatin. Although they use high-fructose corn syrup and have a bunch of added sugar, the final product doesn't contain anything from animals. Their ingredient statement is as follows:
CONCORD GRAPES, CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, FRUIT PECTIN, CITRIC ACID,
We've included brands and recipes with more whole foods and less processed sugar below, but just wanted to use a mainstream brand as an example.
Is Jam Vegan?
Jam is basically the same thing as jelly except it is formulated to be slightly looser and contain more pulp or fruit pieces/seeds. The majority of brands and recipes out there will use pectin and not gelatin - much like jelly which makes most jams 100% vegan.
As an example - the mainstream brand, Smuckers has the following ingredient statement for their strawberry jam:
Strawberries, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid.
Again, a bunch of less processed alternative brands/recipes are compiled below.
Are Preserves Vegan?
Preserves contain more whole fruit than both jam and jelly and typically use the same thickening agents. That being said, they should be vegan most of the time unless gelatin is used.
Although the definitions might be technically different, jams and preserves can sometimes be used interchangeably.
What About Marmalade?
Marmalade, jam, and preserves can sometimes mean the same thing depending on the region that you're in. However, it is important to note that marmalade typically refers to citrus based spreads made from lemons, oranges etc.
You'll usually find the peels from the fruit inside the spread as well.
What Ingredients Should Vegans Be Aware Of?
The only ingredient that you should be aware of is gelatin which we've mentioned previously. Its certainly not a common practice, but it is possible that a manufacturer might put it in in certain niche brands.
Some specialty jams contain meats such as bacon, but those are obvious to spot.
Is It Hard to Make Vegan Jam At Home?
Pectin is readily available in the most grocery stores and jams, preserves, and jellies usually have few ingredients and easy to follow steps.
All you need is a masher or immersion blender.
Some recipes also don't require pectin at all as they make use of the gelling properties of chia seeds!
Check out our unique selection of jam, jelly, and preserves recipes in the next section!
What About the Sugar?
While there is the potential for products with added sugar to come in contact with animal products via certain filtering mechanisms, we don't consider that a criteria as to whether or not something is vegan. We believe it is counter-productive to do so for two reasons:
- The complexity of the supply chain makes it impossible to know for certain.
- It can be a huge turn off and make eliminating all labeled animal products seem more difficult.
- It doesn't do any good for the animals.
Many vegan activist organizations including PETA take a similar stance on dubious / impossible to determine ingredients.
Best Vegan Jam & Jelly Brands
We've hand selected some of the premium brands on the market for you to check out and possibly try!
Our Favorite Vegan Jelly Brand: Crofter's Fruit Spreads
If you're looking for a simply jelly that's very spreadable with little to no seeds - we highly recommend this Crofter's organic strawberry spread. It's sweetened with grape juice and strawberries so it isn't overly sweet and overpowering.
Our Favorite Vegan Jam Brand: Stonewall Kitchen Blueberry
This blueberry jam has the perfect combination of sweetness and tartness that you won't find in many bigger brands of jam. While most big commercial brands are overtly sweet and stray far away from the original flavor of the fruit, Stonewall kitchen preserves that flavor and brings it to life
Our Favorite Vegan Preserves Brand: Tiptree Little Scarlet
If you enjoy complex textures and fresh flavors, these strawberry preserves are definitely worth checking out. They are made from Little Scarlet strawberries which currently only grow in the UK. The strawberries are picked and made into preserves within a few mere hours for a delicious final product.
Vegan Jam & Jelly Recipes
Making jelly, jam, or preserves are home is a great way to save money and control exactly what goes into the final product. Also, by using fresh and in season ingredients, you'll have the ability to capture flavor profiles that you're unlikely to find in store bought brands.
Chia Seed Raspberry Jam by The Wholesome Fork
Many people are often so concerned about protein, carbohydrates, and fats that they don't think about fiber; which for the average westerner is far more important. This raspberry chia seed jam is packed with fiber, whole fruits, and minimal added sugar.
Easy Apricot Jam by Dish by Dish
This vegan apricot jam by Dish by Dish is an easy to follow recipe that delivers delectable results. Apricot jam can be a slightly milder replacement for traditional berry based jams.
Blueberry Chia Jam by Delicious Knowledge
If you love blueberries and want something that's "jam packed" with nutrients then this blueberry chia jam recipe for you! It's only got four ingredients and very little added sugar in the form of maple syrup.