Jam is not always gluten free. This is because of the production process which can allow other nutrients, such as gluten proteins into the jam.
So never assume your jam is gluten free, and if you need gluten free jam for health reasons, look for “gluten free” on the label. Always be sure to keep your jam free of gluten during food preparation at your own home.
What’s in gluten that causes health problems?
Gluten is a group of proteins found in various grains. These include wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Bread and bread products are enjoyed for the doughy end result, and it is gluten, when mixed with water, that is responsible for the baked products we prize.
One of these proteins in gluten is called gliadin, and it is this one that causes the health issues.
These health problems don’t affect everyone, but those who experience problems with gluten can experience bloating, nausea, headaches, constipation, and weight loss.
The problem is that anyone who is afflicted with gluten allergies can be exposed to the proteins in a range of foods without realizing it.
How does gluten get into jam?
Gluten cross-contamination occurs when gluten free food comes into contact with cooking utensils, cooking surfaces, or other foods that do contain (or have been prepared with) gluten.
A knife with breadcrumbs stuck to the blade will accidently (and easily) add some gluten proteins to your jam.
This can happen during any manufacturing process, or during the food preparation process in your own home.
Thus, your jam was definitely gluten free – before you began to use it.
Are there any jams that are prepared with gluten?
Jam is not prepared with gluten. Jam is a spreadable mixture made from cutting up whole fruit and is cooked with sugar, water and a setting agent, such as pectin.
Jam is then sealed in containers. Because jam can be used in so many ways, and with so many other food items, it usually receives its contaminates of gluten unintentionally.
What is it about jam?
The thing about jam is that we have loved eating it since it was invented – possibly back in ancient Rome. Jam, as know it now, emerged sometime in the 19th century. There has never been a time when jam enthusiasts have not been experimenting, altering, adding to and utilizing jam in some new way.
The list of foods we marry with jam for our culinary pleasure include, of course, the gluten laden range of baked grain foods: breads, biscuits, cakes, puddings, pies, scones, rolls, croissants. This list goes on.
What’s in a typical jam?
Jam is made from the following ingredients, and note that gluten will not knowingly be on the list:
- Fresh cut up fruit – stone fruit, berries, citrus fruits, core fruit (apples and pears) and tropical fruits are all suitable
- Pectin (to help the jam set)
- Lemon juice (to increase acidity)
- Corn syrup (in many commercial jams). Corn syrup is gluten free.
Jam enthusiasts and those avoiding gluten in their diets often wonder about the possibility of gluten in their jam. This is because although jam itself is not prepared with gluten, there is often gluten proteins present in most dishes prepared with jam. Unfortunately, jam goes hand in hand with gluten rich delicacies, and it is during the preparation that gluten proteins will creep into the menu.
Find out if jam is actually gluten free or if it something that should be gluten free and discover why a jar of jam has garnered itself a gluten alert label.