Archive for January, 2011
The question we answer most frequently in our retail stores and in our mail order department is, “What’s the difference between Spoon Fruit and Preserves?” And once we’ve explained that, we usually get a follow-up question: “What about Fruit Perfect?” It can be confusing, we admit. The best way to understand the differences is to compare the three side by side. This makes it easy to see the variations in texture and consistency and, if you have a spoon handy, to taste the differences as well.
Let’s start with where it all started for American Spoon: Preserves. Making fruit preserves is at the core of what we do here at American Spoon, and we approach this process the same way frugal home canners have approached it for ages. Our Preserves are made with whole fruit and sweetened with Michigan beet sugar. We begin with about two pounds of fruit for every pound of sugar, which gives our preserves a higher ratio of fruit to sugar (and a lower overall sugar content) than almost any other preserves on the market. Sugar is a pure, clean sweetener that allows the intense flavor of each carefully selected fruit to shine. Spoon Preserves are an American original, soft and lush, like ripe fresh fruit.
But sugar is not for everyone. Our customers asked for a sugar-free jam, and while the naturally occurring sugars in the fruits themselves make it impossible to make a jam that’s entirely free of sugar, it is possible to make jam without refined sugar. So we created Spoon Fruits. They’re made with the same whole fruit we use to make our Preserves, but they’re sweetened with concentrated fruit juices. We didn’t think it was enough to simply replace one sweetener with another, so Spoon Fruits also contain less total sugar than their Preserves counterparts. For example, one tablespoon of our Sour Cherry Preserves contains eight grams of total sugar whereas one tablespoon of Sour Cherry Spoon Fruit contains only 5 grams. Spoon Fruits and Preserves can be used in much the same way; the difference is in taste and texture. Spoon Fruits are more tart than Preserves and, because they contain pectin (most of our Preserves don’t), they are typically thicker than Preserves.
And then there’s Fruit Perfect, a softer, looser preserved fruit lower in sugar than both Preserves and Spoon Fruit. In our Fruit Perfect, chunks of fruit are sweetened with a modest amount of Michigan beet sugar and gently preserved in their own juices. Their low sugar content and brief simmer in our copper kettles gives them a soft set and loose consistency perfect for spooning over pancakes or waffles, ice cream or cheesecake, just about any baked good, or eating straight from the jar.
Information overload? Here’s the abridged version:
Preserves: A preserved fruit spread made from whole fruit sweetened with Michigan beet sugar. Our preserves are chunky, jammy and juicy with the bright, intense flavors of fresh fruit.
Spoon Fruits: A preserved fruit spread made from whole fruit sweetened with concentrated fruit juices. This gives them a tart taste, a thicker consistency and a lower overall sugar content than our Preserves.
Fruit Perfect: Spoonable fruit sweetened with Michigan beet sugar and preserved in its own juices. Lower in total sugars than Preserves or Spoon Fruit, its soft syrupy set makes it a luxurious topping.
Which is your favorite?
If you have a question you’d like answered, leave it in the comments below.