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What is Gelier Zucker?
You might have seen a product named ‘Gelier Zucker‘ in a german supermarket and probably wondered what it is. Gelier Zucker translates to jam sugar and is NOT the regular sugar used in tea and coffee.
This article explains all about this product and its uses.
Gelier Zucker is a mixture of sugar and gelling agents (like pectin), acidifiers, and preservatives for the quick preparation of jams (Konfitüre), jellies(Gelees), and marmalades( Marmeladen). The fruit can be processed relatively quickly into an end product by adding gelier Zucker and heating it.
The uses of these ingredients are given below:
Sugar(Zucker): For sweetness
Pectin (Pektine): For making a jelly
Acidifiers (Säuerungsmittel): Added to aid in jellying (The higher the acid level, the better the jellying process)
Preservatives (Konservierungsmittel): To increase the shelf life of the end product
On the supermarket shelf, you will find different Gelier Zucker labelled 1plus1, 2plus1, and 3plus1. Before understanding what these products are and which should be used, we need to understand the pectin level in fruits and its role in making jams.
What is pectin, and what is its use?
Pectin is a food additive added to jams, jellies, and marmalades to make a jelly. If you add the fruit + regular sugar and heat them together, the end product will be runny instead of jelly-like. Adding pectin makes it jelly-like.
Some fruits naturally have a higher amount of pectin, while others don’t. The commonly available fruits available in Germany and their pectin content are given below:
Apple (Apfel ) : High
Strawberries (Erdbeeren): Low
Blueberries (Heidelbeeren): High
Raspberries (Himbeeren): High
Cherries (Kirchen): Low
Apricots (Aprikosen) : Low
Plums ( Pflaume): Low
One general rule of thumb you can apply is that the fruits with a stone, like peaches and plums, are low in pectin, and others, including citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, etc., are high in pectin.
Also, as the fruit ripens, it starts losing its pectin content.
Now, coming to the question of how to choose Gelier Zucker.
What do 1plus1 (or 1:1), 2plus1 (or 2:1) and 3plus1 (or 3:1) mean?
1plus1 or 1:1 means that the proportion of fruit to Gelier Zucker is 1:1. Similarly, 2plus1 or 2:1 implies that the ratio of fruit to Gelier Zucker is 2:1, and 3plus1 or 3:1 means that the proportion of fruit to Gelier Zucker is 3:1.
3:1 has more jellying agents ( pectin) than 2:1, which in turn has more jellying agents than 1:1.
Therefore, if you plan to make a jam, jelly, or marmalade at home and use a fruit that is low in pectin, you will need to add 3:1 or 2:1 Gelier Zucker, but if you use a fruit that is high in pectin, you can use 1:1 Gelier Zucker.
Very ripe fruits also need 3:1 or 2:1 Gelier Zucker.
Please note that since in 3:1 and 2:1 Gelier Zucker, the proportion of fruit is more than that of sugar, the end product is less sweet and has a lower shelf life. Therefore these have preservatives added to increase the shelf life.
Now, we have the answer to what Gelier Zucker is and its use.
To sum up, Gelier Zucker is not regular sugar. It has added additives and preservatives that significantly reduce the time required to make jams, help make a jelly-like structure, and increase the end product’s shelf life.
Here is a list of considerations for buying Gelier Zucker:
- Choose the type of Gelier Zucker based on the fruit you plan to use for making your jam/jelly/marmalade. Gelier Zucker, specially tailored to certain fruits like blueberries, strawberries, etc., is also available for the correct sweetness, fruitiness, and consistency.
- Check the expiry date. Since pectin loses its jellying power with time, Gelier Zucker will not do its job if it is expired.
- If you want to avoid preservatives, check the ingredients and avoid buying the one with ‘Konservierungsstoffe sorbinsäure.’
- It may also be a good idea to check where the product is manufactured. I like buying products that are locally manufactured. If locally manufactured products are unavailable, I look for those that come from the nearest location. That way, as a consumer, we can reduce our carbon footprint.
Here is a list of some of the most commonly available brands of Gelier Zucker in Germany with their manufacturing locations:
- Sudzucker- Mannheim
- Dr. Oetker- Bielefeld
- Sweet family -Braunschweig
- Biovagan -Bonefeld
Gelier Zucker is also available in a sugar-free/low-calorie form, made of Stevia ( A plant from which sugar is extracted) instead of regular sugar. It is labelled ‘ Gelier Zucker mit Süßungsmittel aus Stevia,’ which means ‘ jam Sugar with sweetening agent from Stevia.’ You can check that out too, but note that this contains a combination of regular sugar and Stevia.
In addition, there is a product called Gelfix, which can be used for making jams/jellies, etc. Unlike Gelier Zucker, this doesn’t come with premixed sugar. You have to add fruit + sugar and use Gelfix only for its jellying property.
Also note that this product has added Dextrose (Dextrose)-used as a sweetener and preservative, Palm oil (Palmöl)-to enhance taste and withstand high heat, and Preservatives ( Konservierungsstoffe)-to increase shelf life.
Different fruits are available in different seasons in Germany. During the harvest season, they are available at a good price and can be bought for eating just like that OR making jams and marmalades that you can enjoy later when the fruit is no longer available in the market. Making jams and marmalades is easy and doesn’t take much time. Making them at home costs you less, and you can be assured of the quality of the ingredients and the hygiene.
Check out this recipe of Apple Jam that I made at home using Gelier Zucker.
My tip: To reduce our carbon footprint, we can buy locally-made sugar + with no added palm oil ( unsustainable agricultural practices). Look for the ingredients on the pack. A minimum number of ingredients, sugar, pectin, and acidifiers, are enough to make a small quantity of jam that can be kept in the fridge for about two months. Once the jam is over, buy another seasonal fruit and make another small batch.
Having a difficult time understanding products in the German Supermarket? Click here to read my articles about other products.
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