Saturday, December 28, 2013

Smuckers Blueberry Jams – No Sugar Added versus Sugar Free, is one better than the other?

I discovered this excellent jam from Smuckers – Wild Blueberry No Sugar Added. This is a very tasty jam with real blueberries in it and 20 calories per tablespoon. So adding that to a couple of slices of toast generally adds 40 or 50 calories to a snack or meal.

Then I went on a shopping tour to Watertown New York and found the American version of this jam – Sugar Free Blueberry Preserves. This has half the calories and no sugars. Same number of carbohydrates at 5g per tablespoon, and it actually contains a couple of grams of fiber per tablespoon. So if it tastes any good, it is a much better food for one than the no sugar added version.

Here is what they look like side by side. Since I am testing the XQ1 and shot these hand held (braced) at 100 ISO in really ugly low light, I think it is interesting to show the color corrected JPEG followed by the RAW. Just for your interest.

DSCF9366_XQ1_24.2 mm_ISO 100_0.6 sec at f - 4.9

DSCF9366_XQ1_24.2 mm_ISO 100_0.6 sec at f - 4.9-2

DSCF9367_XQ1_24.2 mm_ISO 100_0.6 sec at f - 4.9

DSCF9367_XQ1_24.2 mm_ISO 100_0.6 sec at f - 4.9-2

So one notable thing is that the Canadian version has blueberries as its first ingredient. This is a good thing, generally :-)

The American version has water, followed by polydextrose and maltodextrin and then coming in a distant fourth place is blueberries. Hmmm …. since this is by weight, having two chemicals beat blueberries is a matter for some concern.

But pretending that we did not notice this, how do these taste?

Well … it is not much of a contest.

The Canadian no sugar added version has the taste and texture of blueberry pie filling. And for those who love blueberry pie, this is a revelation. Low calories, controlled amounts of sugar, and the taste of pie. Mmm, mm, mmmmmmm :-)

On the other hand, the American version has the texture of liquid rubber / paste and about the same taste, with the a hint of that sickly semisweet fake blueberry taste that you get in “blueberry drink” beverages. To say that my toast was disgusting is to totally underestimate what I am trying to tell you.

And I ate it twice on two slices each time – slathered to coat the peanut butter layer for maximum effect – before pronouncing it dead. But dead it is …

I hated throwing away two full jars of this stuff, but I would not even give it away as it does not taste like food anyway. Last night I noticed a sale on the wild blueberry version and bought three more jars. Whew!

So in a simple twist of fate, I suggest that Americans consider shopping for their low calorie blueberry jams in Canada. Because there really is no contest whatsoever.