Is Jelly Vegan? Enjoying Your Favorites While Not Compromising Your Vegan Lifestyle

jelly on toast

Breakfast…it’s the most important meal of the day, right? Well, some might argue that jelly (or jam or preserves) is the most important condiment of breakfast! If you’re a fan of spreading jams and fruit jellies on your morning toast and have asked yourself the question, “Is jelly vegan?”, I’ve got good news for you! Many off-the shelf brands are vegan, but you do need to be careful. 

In short, the answer to the question, “Is jelly vegan?” is “it depends.” Some brands use animal-derived gelling agents like gelatin to bind ingredients together, so these products are obviously not suitable for a vegan or vegetarian diet. 

Read on to learn more about what to watch out for on the ingredients list so you can enjoy this tasty treat without compromising your vegan lifestyle.

Is Jelly Vegan? The Answer Lies in the Ingredients

When considering whether jelly is vegan, it’s essential to take a closer look at the ingredients. As mentioned earlier, the core components of jam (fruit, sugar, and juices) are plant-based, which means most supermarket jams are vegan. However, there still may be non-vegan ingredients, so you’ll need to pay attention.

Gelatin: The Not-So-Vegan Gelling Agent

Gelatin is made from the collagen found in animal bones, skin, and connective tissue. If a jelly contains gelatin, it’s not vegan-friendly. As a side note, this includes jelly candies and gummy candies as well (yup, traditional Gummy Bears are not vegan!).

When shopping for jelly, be sure to read the label and steer clear of any products that include gelatin.

photo of bread with strawberry jam

White Refined Sugar: Nope, It’s Not Vegan! 

When I first became plant-based in 2013, finding out that white refined sugar contained animal byproducts blew me away! It’s true, though. The white color of the sugar comes from the refining process which includes the use of bone char.

Luckily, there are other kinds of sugar that can be used instead. Cane sugar and beet sugar are both vegan and can be used in place of refined white sugar

Pectin: The Vegan and Vegetarian’s Best Friend

Now that we know gelatin is a no-go for vegans and vegetarians, let’s turn our attention to the plant-based alternative: pectin.

Pectin is a natural starch derived from fruits and vegetables. When heated and combined with sugar and acid, pectin forms a gel-like structure, providing the perfect consistency for jams and jellies. This unique property makes pectin an ideal substitute for gelatin.

Finding Vegan Jellies: Tips for Navigating the Supermarket

To make your shopping experience a breeze, remember these simple tips when searching for vegan jellies:

  1. Read the label: Look for jellies that specifically mention they are vegan or plant-based.
  2. Check for gelatin: Avoid any jelly that contains gelatin as a gelling agent.
  3. Look for pectin: Choose jellies that contain pectin as the primary gelling agent.

With a little bit of label-reading and a keen eye for ingredients, you can confidently enjoy vegan jelly and all the tasty treats that come with it. Happy spreading!

Feeling Adventurous? Try Making Your own Jam!

Don’t be intimidated…homemade jam doesn’t have to involve boiling jars and lots of pots and pans! This simple, 4-ingredient 10-Minute Chia Seed Jam from Gimme Some Oven requires a single pan and no special equipment. There’s no added sugar (if your fruit’s a little tart, you can add a bit of maple syrup or vegan sugar if you like).

The chia seeds thicken the jam, and you can use pretty much any juicy fruit–berries, peaches, pineapple, plums, and more!

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