Becoming vegan is not an easy task, as it means giving up various foods and confections that once played a prominent role in your diet.
Because of this, it can be hard to discern what food products are vegan-friendly, which can make choosing snacks a long and complicated process.
These days, jelly is often a source of debate among the vegan community, as the substance can be made with animal-derived ingredients or natural produce.
There is also the fact that various food products bear the jelly name, even though some do not contain any animal bi-products.
So if you want to know if jelly is vegan, then you have come to the right place. In the following article, we have compiled some interesting facts concerning the confection and its vegan status.
We have also included a list of vegan alternatives and even some amazing recipes.
So if you are ready to learn more about jelly and what it contains, this article has everything you need to get started…
If you are in a rush and don’t have time to read the entire article, we have provided a condensed version of our answer in the following section:
When it comes to jelly, the spread is almost always vegan, as it does not contain any animal products.
However, the same can not be said of other confections such as jam, Jell-O, and jelly candies.
If you want to know more about the ingredients found in these products, we have provided a detailed explanation in the section below.
What Different Products Are There?
Before we can delve into the topic of jelly and its contents, we must first take a look at the different kinds of jelly currently available.
- Jelly: The most common jelly takes the form of a smooth and fruity spread that can be used on sandwiches and baked goods.
- Jam: While jam is almost identical to jelly, the fruit isn’t strained during production, which makes the final spread much thicker.
- Jell-O: This name brand product can be used to make a vibrant dessert, which is known for its consistency and wobbly appearance.
- Jelly Candy: This refers to the jelly substance used to make notable candies such as gummy bears and sour patch kids.
What Ingredients Should You Avoid?
While not all jelly products are non-vegan, some do contain animal-derived ingredients that you should be aware of.
- Gelatin: This is a thickening agent found in numerous jelly products, which is commonly made from the collagen of livestock.
- Sweeteners: Some jellies also contain non-vegan sweeteners such as honey, while others will contain sugar produced using animal bone char.
Now that you understand what ingredients to look out for, let’s take a look at each product to see if they are vegan-friendly.
Is Jelly Vegan?
When it comes to jelly spreads, most brands will contain ingredients such as fruit juice, corn syrup, and citric acid, which are all vegan.
Because of this, most jellies could be considered vegan, as they use pectin to thicken the spread instead of gelatin or other animal products.
However, this does not mean that all jelly spreads are vegan, so it is recommended that you consider the ingredients before completing your purchase.
Is Jam Vegan?
In most cases, jam will contain similar (if not identical) ingredients to jelly, although some will use gelatin to thicken the final product.
Because of this, certain brands should be avoided as they contain animal ingredients, with some also using honey as a natural preservative.
While not all jam is non-vegan, it is still advisable to read the ingredients before making your purchase, as this will help to avoid future problems.
Is Jell-O Vegan?
While Jell-O is often remembered as a nostalgic dessert from your childhood, there is no denying that the confection is unsuitable for vegans.
This is because Jell-O is made using gelatin, which is often derived from the collagen of animals such as pork.
Of course, it is now possible to make your own Jell-O using vegan-friendly gelatin alternatives, something we will discuss later in the article.
Is Jelly Candy Vegan?
In most cases, jelly candies (such as gummy bears) will contain gelatin, which means they are not vegan.
However, it is now possible to purchase jelly candies made from natural plant-based ingredients, as the recent rise in veganism has made this a possibility.
And while not all jelly candies are non-vegan, it is safe to assume that most notable brands will contain animal products of some kind.
Are There Vegan Alternatives?
If you are searching for a vegan alternative to gelatin, then there are countless products to choose from.
That is why we have compiled the following list of some of the most popular vegan-friendly gelatin alternatives currently available:
Otherwise known as Katen, agar powder is a flavorless substance derived from the cells of red algae, which is commonly used in Asian desserts such as custards and puddings.
Because the powder is made from algae, it works as the ideal substitute for gelatin, especially if you are a vegan looking for natural alternatives.
While agar commonly takes the form of a white powder, it is also possible to purchase the substance as a bar or sheet.
If you want to know more about agar powder, you can find more information here.
Pectin is a fiber commonly found in the cells of fruit, which can be used as a thickening agent in desserts and candies.
However, the ingredient can also be found in jellies and jams, making it a wonderful alternative to animal-based products such as gelatin and honey.
In most cases, pectin is derived from apples and citrus fruits, with the substance being available as a powder or flakes.
If you want to know more about pectin, you can find more information here.
How To Make Vegan Jelly
Searching for vegan jellies and jams can be a painstaking process, which is why the best option is to make your own from scratch.
In the following section, we have decided to showcase two amazing recipes, which can be used to make your own vegan jam and Jell-O.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at how to make your own vegan confections from the comfort of your home:
Vegan Strawberry Chia Jam
This strawberry chia jam contains only four ingredients and can be whipped up in under 20 minutes.
- Chopped strawberries (x2 cups)
- Maple syrup (¼ cup)
- Chia seeds (x2 tablespoons)
- Add the chopped strawberries, chia seeds and maple syrup to a blender and blend until smooth. (Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time to keep the ingredients moving)
- Transfer the contents of the blender to a small saucepan and place over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble.
- Reduce the heat and allow the jam to simmer for 5 – 7 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the contents into a mason jar. Then allow the jam to cool before storing it in the refrigerator for around one week.
Fruity Vegan Jell-O
This simple recipe can be used to make a wobbly dessert that is suitable for the whole family.
- Agar powder (¾ teaspoons)
- Red grape juice (x1 cup)
- Water (x1 cup)
- White granulated sugar (¼ cup)
- Add the agar powder, red grape juice and sugar to a pot and place over medium heat.
- Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring regularly before allowing it to boil for around 2 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into individual serving bowls and then place them in the refrigerator until set.
While jelly does not contain any animal products, the same cannot be said of jam, Jell-O, and gummy bears, which is why it is important to read the ingredients.
Fortunately, you can make your own vegan jelly using gelatin alternatives such as agar powder and pectin.