Organic fruit spreads are mixtures of organic fruit and natural sweeteners cooked until they thicken. Because they don't usually contain processed sugar, they are generally fresher tasting than jams or jellies.
Ingredients Found in Organic Fruit Spreads
The ingredients for these spreads are quite simple. Generally, they are composed of fresh fruit and concentrated apple or white grape juice. Occasionally, lemon juice, honey, or other natural ingredients will be added. These ingredients are cooked slowly until the water evaporates and only the fruit pulp is left. The fruit is not cooked down to the extent that a fruit butter is. This allows the pure taste of the fruit, or fruit combination, to shine through. Organic spreads do not use high fructose corn syrup or other questionable ingredients.
Ingredients that may be found in fruit spreads are:
- Barley malt syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Organic sugar (rarely)
Companies Producing Fruit Spreads
There are many companies that produce the fruit spreads. Some spreads are imported from Europe and others are made domestically. Many of the companies produce the same flavors, so try several to see which you prefer.
Crofter's is a privately owned corporation that is based in Ontario. They produce many kinds of organic fruit spreads. The spreads have pectin and citric acid in them and are sweetened with fruit juice concentrates.
Some of the flavors they make are:
- Super Fruit Spread - an organic combination of fruits high in antioxidants made with acai berries, Morello cherries, pomegranates, and red grapes
- Black Currant
- Wild Blueberry
- Wild Blackberry
Tropical Traditions, Inc.
Tropical Traditions, Inc. began selling organic coconut oil and as it grew the company offered an increasing variety of products. The fruit spreads are made from heirloom varieties of fruits. According to the company, their products have the smallest sugar content of any of the leading brands.Flavors include:
- Sour Cherry
- Sicilian Orange
- Wild Backberry
Tree of Life
Tree of Life has been in business for a long time. It began as a small department in a Florida grocery store in 1970 and has grown into a major producer of organic and natural products on a national level.Fruit spread flavors include:
Cascadian Farms is another company that has been around a long time. It is owned by food giant, General Mills. If you like supporting a small company, this is not the one to choose.Flavors include:
- Concord Grape
Homemade Fruit Spreads
You can make your own fruit spreads at home without too much trouble. Some fruits are easy to make into spreads with no added sugar. Dried fruit such as prunes, raisins, figs, and dates can be made into fruit spread without adding anything else. Just place the dried fruit in a saucepan and add enough water to barely cover it. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, and simmer until the fruit is soft and most of the water is absorbed. You can add a little water as it is cooking if necessary. Place the cooked fruit and any left over liquid in a food processor or blender and puree until it is smooth. Store the puree in a small covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Use the same procedure for other dried, organic fruits like apricots or apples. Since these fruits have less natural sweetness that other dried fruit, use a fruit juice concentrate with the water, or instead of the water. You can also make combination spreads like apple and date spread to increase the sweetness of the fruit.
Using Organic Spreads
There are many ways to use fruit spreads, whether commercially prepared or homemade. They are delicious on breads, croissants biscuits, and scones. You can use them as cookie and cake fillings or glazes for fruit tarts. In fact, fruit spreads can be substituted for jam or jelly in most recipes.
Fruit spreads are not low glycemic. While they have fewer calories and less sugar than jams or jellies, they should not be used as a sugar free item by diabetics and others who require a low glycemic diet. Check with your nutritionist if you have special dietary needs.
Where to Buy Fruit Spreads
You can purchase organic fruit spreads at most health food and natural food stores. Many grocery stores have begun to carry the spreads as well. If you can't find them locally, it is possible to buy organic foods online.
Some websites that carry organic foods are:
Organic foods do cost a little more than their traditional counterparts, but the investment in your health is worth it.