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What is the difference between jam, marmalade and jelly?

June 23, 2022

Italienische sizilianische Tarocco Bio Orangen vegan von Di Bennardo

Few consumers know the difference between jam, marmalade and jelly. And what does the addition ‘extra’ actually mean for jam? In this article, you’ll learn all about distinguishing between individual fruit spreads and what makes a premium product special. Ultimately, you will be able to make better purchasing decisions regarding jams and marmalades.

Jam vs marmelade: The individual products at a glance

The word marmelade is hardly used in Switzerland, unlike in Germany and Austria. Swiss people generally use the term jam (Konfitüre). Conversely in Austria – here everything is called marmelade, which in Switzerland means jam. In Germany, on the other hand, a distinction is made between jam and marmelade, but the term marmelade is used more often, even if it is not marmelade by definition.

There have always been clear differences in the production of jam, marmelade and jelly. Jam (Konfitüre) comes from the Latin ‘conficere,’ which means ‘to bring together’ or ‘to make’. Marmalade, on the other hand, is derived from the Portuguese ‘marmelada’ for quince, which in turn is a derivation of the original Portuguese word ‘marmelo’ for ‘quince’ or ‘honey apple’.  Quince and honey used to be the travel provisions of sailors, a sweet spread called ‘marmelada’. The word jelly comes from the Latin word ‘gelare’ (solidify, freeze), because here, too, a liquid becomes solid, just like when ice is formed. But what are the individual differences in production?

Whether jam or marmalade, both products are a mixture of sugars and fruit – often a gelling agent is also added. Jam and marmalade must contain at least 50% sugar. If the sugar content is less than 50%, it is referred to as a fruit spread. According to the 2003 EU regulation, marmalade may only be made from citrus fruits. This means that all fruit spreads made from fruits other than citrus are not marmalades.

Marmalades must contain at least 200 g of fruit per kilogram, while jams must contain at least 350 g of fruit per kilogram. When it comes to the fruit content of jams, there are exceptions for ginger, sea buckthorn and passion fruit. In both products, the fruit is boiled with sugar and, in many cases, with a gelling agent such as pectin. In addition, in many mass-produced products, an acidifier, preservatives and fruit concentrates are added before the mixture is bottled into the glass. In Switzerland, by law, the total sugar content and the fruit content must be stated on the label.

Marmalade: The delicious citrus spread

No. There is no such thing as strawberry marmalade, although the term is commonly used, especially in Germany and Austria. Most of the products referred to as marmalade are in fact jams by definition. Marmalade are made exclusively from citrus fruits, i.e. oranges, blood oranges, mandarins, lime or lemons.

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Jam and jam extra: The sweet fruit spread

What does the addition ‘Extra’ on the jam label actually mean? The minimum fruit content for a normal jam is 350 g per kilogram. On the other hand, if you buy Extra jam, there is 450 g of fruit in the fruit blend per kilogram. This means that consumers are buying more fruit and less sugar per glass if they opt for extra jam.

Jelly and jelly extra made from fruit juice

The main difference between jelly and jams and marmalade is the exclusive use of fruit juice. No pieces of fruit are used in jelly. All fruit or fruit juices which are made solidified by the addition of a lot of sugar and pectin are allowed. The origin of the word comes from the Latin ‘gelare’ and means to freeze something. Normal jellies have a fruit juice content of less than 350 g. Anything above this is referred to as Extra Jelly.

What makes good jam and jam a delicious breakfast table?

A basic quality factor for a good jam or jam is the use of ripe and seasonal fruit. The product does not contain artificial flavour enhancers, fruit concentrates, acidic agents and gelling agents such as pectin or gelatin. A good jam or jam is made from organically grown fruit and has as few ingredients as possible. 

The unmistakable taste of regional fruit should always be the main focus: hand-picked fruit and dextrose. 100% fresh from natural cultivation. But what else sets it apart?

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What makes Di Bennardo jams and jams so special

The focus is on authenticity and naturalness. All fruits are native varieties that grow and thrive exclusively in Sicily. They are picked seasonally by hand to reach the perfect degree of ripeness, when the natural sugar content is highest. That’s why we use very little sugar in all our organic jams and jams Extra – and only organic dextrose. As a result, the fruit spreads are not too sweet and the natural aromas of the regional fresh fruit unfold on the nose and palate.

Our vegan and certified organic jams and jams are produced using just two ingredients – fresh fruit and dextrose. No additives such as citric acid, preservatives or gelatin. Most industrial jams and jams contain pectin. But why?

Pectin is used to thicken jams, marmalades and jellies. Some fruits, especially very ripe ones, have relatively little pectin. Strawberries and raspberries, for example, are easy to crush, which shows that they contain little of the ‘glue’ that contributes to the jelly-like consistency. With these fruits, it may be necessary to add a lot of sugar without the addition of pectin. This results in a jam or jam that tastes less like the fruit itself.

In contrast, we focus on the natural fruit taste and the natural consistency of the preserved fruit, as fresh fruits, especially our organic Sicilian citrus fruits, contain a lot of natural pectin. That’s why we don’t use any additional pectin.

Fruit from Sicily: Jams and marmalades at a glance

The valuable raw materials for our vegan jam and marmalade, i.e. Melissa strawberries, Tarocco blood oranges, Ciaculli mandarins and Montagnola peaches, all come from certified organic farms in Sicily. Organic Strawberry Jam Extra seduces with an intense, fully ripe strawberry flavour with nuances of rose scent and a pleasantly medium sweetness on the palate. Perfect with a croissant with butter for a gourmet breakfast.

Italienische Meliassa Erdbeeren Bio Produzent von Di Bennardo

Our Organic Peach Jam Extra smells enchantingly of hand-picked summer peaches and develops a full-fruity flavour that emphasises the naturalness of Montagnola peaches with just a little dextrose. Organic Blood Orange Jam combines the tangy fruit of the Tarocco blood oranges with a heavenly sweet-and-sour interplay.

For lovers of mandarins, there is also the organic mandarin jam, the fruit of which is harvested at the perfect time of ripening in February, and unveils a firework of citrus flavours. With just two ingredients per jam and jam – fresh fruit and dextrose – nothing stands in the way of the authentic taste experience of Sicilian premium fruit.

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Cultivation and processing of fruit into jam and jam

Sicily is a fruit-growing paradise. The largest Mediterranean island offers perfect climatic conditions and a very fertile volcanic soil that provides the precious fruits with all the necessary nutrients. The autochthonous Melissa strawberries, Tarocco blood oranges, Ciaculli mandarins and Montagnola peaches are unique in their flavour profile and are painstakingly processed by hand.

Italienische sizilianische Montagnola Bio Pfirsich Marmelade vegan von Di Bennardo
Italienischer, sizilianischer Montagnola Bio Pfirsich Produzent von Di Bennardo

The strawberries, blood oranges and mandarins are all picked by hand in February at the perfect time of ripening – the peaches in July. They are then gently stewed with dextrose for three hours.

Italienische, sizilianische Produktionsmaschine Bio vegan Marmelade von Di Bennardo

Sustainability and regionality are paramount for our farmers when cultivating fruit. 100% fresh fruit with no additives offers a unique range of flavours in every glass for each new harvest.

Sizilianische, italienische Produktionsmaschine Konfitüre Bio vegan von Di Bennardo

140 g fruit per 100 g
The label says, for example, that we use 140 g fruit per 100 g fruit spread for our Organic Mandarin jam. How is that possible? Our citrus fruits lose their natural fluid when they are preserved. This reduces the overall weight and intensifies the fruit mixture and its aromas. Just add a little dextrose to round off the concentrated fruit mass. This significantly exceeds the legal minimum fruit content requirement of 200 g per 1000 g for marmalade by seven times.

Italienische Bio vegan Früchte Marmelade Konfitüre von Di Bennardo

Frequently asked questions about jams and marmalade

What is the difference between jam and marmalade?

Marmalade may only be made from citrus fruits. At least 200 g of citrus fruits must be used for the production of 1000 g of marmalade. A jam, on the other hand, may be made from all other fruit and must contain at least 350 g of fruit per 1000 g of jam.

What does this mean: made from 130 g fruit per 100 g?

Per 100 g, 130 g of fruit is boiled, for example, for our blood orange jam. When preserving, the citrus fruits lose water, which reduces the weight of the fruit. The preserved concentrate is then only fortified with fructose to the total amount per glass.

How does industrially produced jam differ from homemade jam?

Industrially produced jam and jam may contain additives such as sugar, gelling agents such as pectin, acidifiers, preservatives and colourings as well as industrially produced fruit concentrates. Our homemade jam or marmalade, on the other hand, contains no industrial additives, only fresh fruit and fructose.

How is jam or marmalade made?

Our fresh, local fruit or ripe berries are stewed exclusively with dextrose for three hours. Depending on the variety, between 120 g and 140 g of fruit are processed per 100 g of our jam or marmalade.

What does the term ‘extra’ mean in jam?

Jam Extra must contain at least 450 g of fruit per 1000 g of jam and must not use apples, pears, melons or grapes. For normal jam, the proportion is only at least 350 g per kilogram.

Finally, the most important things about jam and marmalade

Real marmalades are made only from citrus fruits! The fewer ingredients used, the better. This also applies to the sugar content. Consumers should check whether they use fructose or industrial refined sugar. 

Additives such as citric acid, fruit concentrates, gelatin and pectin in particular have no place in a premium product such as Di Bennardo’s. Check whether the jam or marmalade is a sustainably produced product from certified organic farms. The proportion of fruit should be checked on each label. Here, too, more is more. The focus should always be on the regional fruit of each fruit spread.

Order premium jam and marmalade from Di Bennardo’s online shop now

The respective fruits offer an authentic fruit firework on the palate with a balance of sweetness and acidity. Each glass offers a natural Sicilian product that tastes unique with every subsequent harvest.

Buy organic mandarin marmalade, organic blood orange marmalade, Organic peach jam or organic strawberry jam online now.

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