All you need to know about jams, jellies, and spreads
The perfect breakfast does not exist, unless you have the right spread, or a selection of them. With a plethora of spreads to put over bread for breakfast, jams and jellies have to be the most common ones.
Growing up, this has been my go-to breakfast, not only because I liked it but because it takes only minutes to prepare and pack for school. Biting into a jam sandwich still hits me with nostalgia, reminiscing the golden days of school when I would wait for hours to open my lunchbox and finally take a bite of this delicious snack.
However, there exists plenty other items that can be used in various combinations to spread on bread other than jams and jellies. Delving into the endless options will give you a comprehensive guide on the different types of spreads available and how they can be best used.
Jam is made from finely mashed or crushed fruit that is thicker but less stiff than jelly. Jams contain mashed fruit chunks or seeds and is smooth to spread with an intense fruity flavour. The most common types of jams available are made of berries and cherries, with other options featuring apricot, mango, and grape.
Jam pairs well with all sorts of bread but you can also use it as a filling inside breakfast rollups or as a quick glaze over plain muffins or doughnuts. They are also great to use inside Linzer and thumbprint cookies, and pop tarts.
Being made from fruit juice and sugar owes to its clear appearance that is tender enough to retain its position and gloriously smooth and satisfying to spread. Jellies are softer compared to jams and provide a fruity burst of flavour.
The spreadable consistency of jelly makes it ideal to smother on bread, but you can also spread it over slices of plain cake, scones, or sneak it into other desserts such as an additional layer in fruit trifles. Jellies typically come in flavours such as apple, orange, and pineapple.
Often confused with jellies, marmalades are in fact a form of jelly made with citrus fruits only, such as lime, lemon, and oranges. Marmalades usually have little bits of citrus peels suspended throughout that give it a refreshing flavour. They pair amazingly with bread, and unexpectedly are a great addition to drinks such as chilled lemon tea and fruit punch that adds a subtle citrusy flavour to them.
These are essentially pieces of fruits in a thick, jellied syrup. These fruit pieces may be whole or sliced and can include a single flavour or mixed fruits, generally made from berries, apricots, and peaches. Fruit preserves pair well with any typical breakfast item, such as bread, pancake, waffles, and crepes. They are also a great addition to desserts such as crumb bars and cobbler.
Compotes are fruits cooked with other components that results in a chunky syrup which is looser and less sticky than other types of fruit spreads. Compotes are usually infused with ingredients like vanilla, citrus, and cinnamon. They pair best with desserts to be used as a filling inside cupcakes, crostata, and pies or spread generously as a topping over cheesecakes.
A conserve is a chunky mixture similar to jam but contains other fruits rather than just one type. Conserves also include other ingredients such as nuts, raisins, and dried fruits making it a more fulfilling choice.
Conserves pair well with bread but you can also try it on cookies and crackers. Spreading compote on plain biscuits will give you a quick canapé, or you can spread it in between two layers of cookies to make a cookie sandwich.
There are two ways you can go with butter – either sweet or savoury. If you take the savoury route, you have a gamut of combinations available with endless possibilities. Garlic or herb butter replaces the heavy feeling after consuming butter with a fresh taste. Other than using this as a spread, you can also use herb butter in various recipes such as stuffing it in chicken Kiev.
As for sweet, nut butter, especially peanut butter is a crowd-pleaser, and peanut butter and jam is undeniably a match made in heaven. Apart from making a PB&J sandwich, you can also use peanut butter to fill tart shells, use it in milkshakes, or pair with desserts.
Savoury and sweet spreads can be termed as a close runner-up after jams in terms of pairing with bread. There are lots of savoury spreads available now including cheese spread, sandwich spread, and pizza spread, which can be used for not only breads and sandwiches, but also as a pizza base or within the layers of lasagne.
As for sweet spreads, chocolate spread is everyone's favourite — I am sure we all have experienced the joy of dipping our finger into a jar of chocolate spread and eating a huge dollop directly out of it. White chocolate, milk chocolate, and hazelnut spreads are the most popular ones in this category.
Jams, jellies, and spreads are widely available throughout departmental, general and superstores. However, you will find more variety under one roof in superstores like Unimart and Wholesale Club. As for ordering online, some pages such as Momium and Baking Stuff have an impressive collection of breakfast spreads.
Food and Photo: Fariha Amber