America’s Favorite Jam Might Surprise You

Jam is just fruit cooked with sugar, pectin, and an acid (like lemon juice) to yield a sweet spread perfect for filling in the crannies of an English muffin. The mashed fruit releases its natural juices when exposed to heat. Whatever variety you like best, jam, jelly, preserves, Americans eat a ton of this spreadable fruit; and while you might believe your favorite flavor to be the front-runner, one fruit spread leads the pack. We slather it on PB&J, smear it on toast with butter, top yogurt with it, even hoard it in those little packets from a buffet (or is that just us?). The nation’s favorite flavor is… actually pretty dull. It’s strawberry. Cue sad horn. 163.97 million Americans ate strawberry jam, jelly, or preserves in 2019, according to Statista. The runner up was grape, which, um, really? Even the respected chefs surveyed on the topic by Bon Appétit mostly preferred strawberry.

Why do most Americans favor this flavor?

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Statista speculates on the reasons Americans prefer these two classic flavors. It could be that they’re more widely available on grocery store shelves. Maybe grape and strawberry just taste better. Or perhaps the fact that most strawberries grown in the U.S. end up becoming jam has something to do with it. The American lunchbox classic PB&J may also have a hand in our undying love for strawberry and grapefruit spreads. Many recipes for the “classic PB&J” and even versions of the sandwich with other twists call for grape or strawberry jelly. Smucker’s mash-up product, Goober, comes in these flavors striped with peanut butter — and in chocolate (via How Stuff Works). The New York Daily News noted that a few years back, a survey found that “Americans will devour a whopping 2,984 PB&J sandwiches in their lifetime.” Their jelly of choice? Grape, the runner up.