When you think of jelly you most likely think of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a jelly-filled donut; it’s a classic staple in many different ways.
Commonly used on toast or scones for breakfast, jelly is a sweet and delectable treat that adds both flavor and texture to whatever it is paired with.
When thinking about other foods, there is nothing quite like jelly. The texture and sweetness are unparalleled.
But, have you ever wondered exactly what category this unique food fits into? Is it considered a sauce? A spread? Or possibly a condiment?
So, is jelly a condiment? Jelly is considered a condiment as it enhances the flavors of whatever food it is added to. Its consistency, while being thick, is still too runny to be used as a spread, and it’s not traditional to eat jelly by itself, unlike peanut butter or other spreads.
Keep reading to learn the difference between condiments and spread and why jelly is considered a condiment.
We’ll also discuss how many types of jelly flavors there are, the many uses for jelly, as well as the difference between jelly, jam, preservatives, and marmalade.
Difference Between Condiments And Spreads
Condiments and spreads are extremely similar to one another and can be hard to differentiate between the two.
A condiment is defined as a substance or sauce that gets added to food to enhance the flavor of said food. For example, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, and hot sauce are all considered condiments.
Spreads on the other hand are described in a similar way– they also are used to enhance the flavor of foods. However, the biggest difference between the two is their textures.
Spreads are on the thicker side, like goat cheese or butter, and are often added to foods like bread or crackers.
Some spreads can be eaten by themselves, like cheeses or even peanut butter, where condiments need to be added to something else to be consumed.
For example, you wouldn’t take a spoonful of mustard as a snack, but you could eat goat cheese by itself!
Is Jelly A Condiment?
Jelly is difficult to categorize, but ultimately it is considered a condiment.
The inability to be consumed without another food item is one reason why jelly is considered a condiment. It must be added to bread or a scone; it is not traditionally consumed by itself.
Not only that, jelly has a similar consistency to mayonnaise meaning it can be spread, but it needs to be put on another food to ensure it does not drip or spill, which is a characteristic of condiments.
Ultimately, it is these two characteristics, its texture and inability to be consumed by itself, that make jelly a condiment.
Different Types Of Jelly
One thing that makes jelly unique is the number of jelly flavors. Basically, you can take just about any fruit and make it into a jelly.
There is also peach, apple, blackberry, raspberry jelly just to name a few. The only fruits jelly does not tend to be made out of are citrus fruits (we’ll get to this reason soon).
How Is Jelly Used?
Most famously, jelly is used in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
However, it can be used in many other ways. Jelly works great in the morning on toast, English muffins, or scones.
It also can be found in other pastries like jelly-filled donuts or croissants.
Some people even pour jelly over cream cheese or goat cheese to get a salty sweety combination to be served with crackers.
What Is The Difference Between Jelly, Jam, Preservatives, And Marmalade?
The difference between jelly and jam all stems from how they are made.
Jelly is made by only using the juice of the fruit. The process requires smashing the fruit and taking the juices that come from that process, boiling it, adding sugar, and often pectin (which helps gelatinize the jelly).
Mixing these three ingredients helps the jelly form into a spreadable texture.
Jam on the other hand uses the entire crushed fruit (seeds and all), not just the juices. Then the crushed fruit goes through the same process as jelly (boiling sugar and pectin) to form jam.
Where jelly is a bit more smooth in consistency, jam tends to be thick and chunky with bits of fruit pieces in it.
Preserves are made like jam with whole pieces of crushed fruit, but out of all these options, they tend to have the most amount of fruit pieces. This means preserves tend to be the thickest and chunkiest option.
Lastly, marmalade is a variety of preserves except with citrus fruits, like oranges or grapefruits. To make marmalade the entire fruit is used, including the rind, and processed in the same way as the jam, jelly, and preserves.
If you want to make your own marmalade at home, check out this video from the folks over at Binging with Babish!
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