Being a vegetarian or vegan shouldn’t mean that you miss out on tasty jellies and preserves. Vegan food shouldn’t be boring, tasteless or unappetizing. The vegan diet can be as varied and as interesting as you make it.
Jelly is not usually vegan as it contains gelatin which is essentially made from beef bones, hides and pork skin. It is used as a thickening agent which makes the jelly “set.” Most jelly crystals or cubes contain this substance. Vegan jelly can be purchased or made using agar-agar as a substitute. This product is derived from seaweed and has thickening and setting properties.
Most preserves (or jams) are vegan-friendly as the method of preservation is the addition of sugar and pectin to the product. Pectin is found naturally in fruit. Fruit with a higher pectin content include blackberries, plums, grapes and citrus fruits. Fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries and cherries, have a lower pectin content. Lemon juice can be added to these fruits to raise the pectin level. Pectin can also be bought in powdered form and as a liquid extract.
Always check the label on any jelly, jam or preserve you buy. Many of them will be completely vegan and you will not have to visit the health store to buy these goods. If you are good at cooking, making your own vegan jellies and preserves is a great way to ensure a fully vegan product.
References and ResourcesRecipes 4 Us: Gelatin Origin Uses Recipes
BBC UK: Food Agar-agar
BBC UK: Food Pectin
Practically Edible: Pectin