[NAFEX] Jam too sweet?

Michael Dossett phainopepla at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 9 22:04:20 EDT 2009

I think it probably has to do with trying to get the pieces of fruit in the jam to look a more uniform color.  If the skin of the berry is a nice deep red color but the fleshy inside is a light pink it doesn't look as good.  Bizarre, but true.
If you think thats weird, how about bleaching cherries, curing them in brine with calcium, then adding food coloring and artificial cherry flavor back to them.  Sounds weird, but maraschino cherries are a big industry...
At least on processor who shall remain nameless also used to use pigment from black raspberry in their concord grape juice to give it a nicer darker color.  That is, before the price of black raspberries for processing became prohibitively expensive.
The things they do with food these days which I think many of us would consider wholly unnecessary is scary sometimes, if not just plain weird.
Michael - who considers maraschino cherries the culinary equivalent of an embalmed corpse
Michael Dossett Corvallis, Oregon www.Mdossettphoto.com phainopepla at yahoo.com

--- On Mon, 3/9/09, Mark Angermayer <hangermayer at isp.com> wrote:

From: Mark Angermayer <hangermayer at isp.com>
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Jam too sweet?
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Monday, March 9, 2009, 7:29 PM


That's astounding.  Why would jam companies go to the trouble of bleaching
the berries first, then recoloring them?  If they want darker jam, why don't
they just add food coloring?

It sounds strangely like urban legends I've heard in the ag industry.  Like
the one, milk is full of antibiotics  (My wife (who works in the dairy
industry) tells me they test each load before it's unloaded.  If they find
antibiotics, the whole semi-load is dumped.)  Bleaching strawberries and
recoloring them is so weird, if I hadn't heard of it from you, I'd never
believed it.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Michael Dossett
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Sent: Monday, March 09, 2009 12:35 PM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Jam too sweet?

Unfortunately, bleaching the strawberries and then adding red dye to make
them an even color is an all too common practice.  Not all the jam companies
do this, but many if not most do.  I think part of it depends on where the
berry comes from and what variety it is too.  A lot of the jam processors
use California strawberries.  The growers there make their real money on the
berries from the first and second pick for the fresh market because of their
size.  I can't remember what the price was that way but I want to say it was
around 75 cents a pound.  The tertiary and quaternary berries on each raceme
are smaller and are almost worthless to them so they dump them on the
processing market for around 19 cents a pound just to get a little something
for them.  A lot of the jam and yogurt etc. processors use these berries
because of the cost.

Oregon and Washington strawberries, in part because of climate and in part
because of genetics, have good color throughout the fruit, i.e. they aren't
white inside like California ones.  They are also darker red than the
strawberries from the eastern half of the US.  A few processors still like
these berries in part because of flavor but also in part because of the
color so they don't have to add the dyes etc.  Unfortunately because of a
shorter season and higher labor costs our growers can barely make a go of it
at 50 cents a pound for a processing berry which means that the acreage here
in the Pacific Northwest has been steadily shrinking.  It is basically
because of the few remaining processors here that the strawberry breeding
programs in Oregon and Washington place a large emphasis on selecting for
fruit color both internally and externally before a new variety gets


Michael Dossett Corvallis, Oregon www.Mdossettphoto.com

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