Crofters Organic Jams and Jellies
In 2009, Crofter’s Organic announced its complete conversion to organic cane sugar certified “EcoSocial” by international certifier IBD Certifications. Brazil-based IBD, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-accredited organic certifier, established its new EcoSocial certification program in 2004 as a complement to organic standards. According to IBD, as noted in its EcoSocial Certification Program, “The planet’s present social and environmental context requires more specific certification tools for auditing social and environmental issues on certified companies, farms and grower groups.”
EcoSocial certification requires satisfaction of all IBD’s main development criteria — which includes fair trade, environmental and social components, plus a minimum of two social and two environmental programs that demonstrate measurable, continuous improvement from year to year. Simply creating a social program to improve the literacy rate of fieldworkers is not sufficient; a company must actually improve the literacy rate, say from 10 percent to 90 percent in a three-year period. Environmental development criteria for agriculture and wild crop farms include conservation of soil structure and fertility; energy, water and natural resource optimization; and a program to increase biodiversity. Human and social development criteria include programs to improve worker safety and overall well-being, a zero-tolerance policy for any form of discrimination, and the prohibition of any form of forced labor.
“At the end of the day, we’re part of one community,” said Gerhard Latka, Crofter’s Organic founder and owner. “I need to know that my company is helping to make this world a community we all want to live in. IBD’s new EcoSocial certification helps me deliver an affordable quality product to consumers that we can all feel good about.”
All Crofter’s Organic Superfruit® spreads, jellies, and conserves manufactured after Oct. 1, 2009, contain EcoSocial-certified organic cane sugar. Look for the IBD EcoSocial claim on your next jar of Crofter’s Organic!
Source: Crofter’s Organic.
Understand Your Jam
According to convention and common knowledge…
According to the FDA…
In the United States, some jam- and jelly-related terms are regulated and some are not.
Regulated products and product names include Jam, Preserve, Jelly and Fruit Butter:
This means that products with these names have to conform to certain specifications and recipes. For instance, a product called “Jelly” must contain at least 65 percent water soluble solids (sugar) and must be made with fruit juices or concentrates. “Preserves” and “Jams” (interchangeable FDA terms), must contain at least 65 percent sugar and 45 percent fruit. If a product does not meet these requirements, it must be called by another name. For example, Crofter’s Fruit Spreads are only 44 percent sugar, so we can not label them “Jams” or “Preserves.”
A Matter of Sugar: One of the defining specifications for jams and related products is the total sugar content. This includes the sugar present in the fruit and the sugar added through cane sugar or concentrates and syrups. This is often referred to as “soluble solids” or “Brix.” For example, if 10 grams of sugar are added to 90 grams of water, the resulting 100 grams of sugar solution are said to have a Brix of 10 or a soluble solids content of 10% (i.e. 10% sugar by weight). Similarly, a fruit preserve should have a Brix measurement of 65 (or 65% sugar by weight = 65 grams of sugar in 100 grams of preserve).
Crofter’s describes its products:
- CONSERVE: 44 Brix, 50%+ fruit content
Our conserves are produced in the same manner as jams and preserves, but contain less sugar and more fruit. The sugar used in these products is cane sugar. We can not put “Jam” or “Preserve” on the jar, because this product does not conform to the FDA’s specifications for “Jam” or “Preserve”
- FRUIT SPREAD: 44 Brix, almost 100% fruit ingredients
Our fruit spreads also contain only 44% sugar. The sugar used in these spreads comes from white grape juice concentrate instead of the cane sugar used in our conserves. The spreads contain fewer calories per serving than jams and preserves (so do our conserves, though!).
- SUPERFRUIT SPREAD: 44 Brix, LOTS of fruit
Artistic license trumped precedent on this one. Based on our choice to sweeten with fair trade cane sugar, the term “Conserve” would have been the consistent choice, but Crofter’s Superfruit Spreads has such an enticing ring to it! We went with that. Still one-third less sugar than Jam, and a very high fruit and antioxidant content.
- CANE SUGAR vs. GRAPE JUICE CONCENTRATE
Organic cane sugar is obtained from the juice of a sugar cane plant. The sugarcane is harvested and once the plant juice is pressed out of the stalks and heated to a boil, the resulting syrup is then processed into granular sugar. Granulated organic cane sugar contains about 99.6 percent sugar. Similarly, grape juice concentrate is made from the juice of white grapes which have been pressed. Once the pressed juice is boiled to evaporate the remaining water, the resulting syrup contains 68 -70 percent sugars.
- SUCROSE, FRUCTOSE, GLUCOSE
Organic cane sugar consists primarily of sucrose. Sucrose, in turn is made of one half glucose and one half fructose – two molecules stuck together. When cane sugar is heated during the process of making a conserve, almost all of the sucrose splits apart into single molecules of fructose and glucose. White grape concentrate consists mainly of a mixture of fructose and glucose, and this does not change during the cooking process. Ultimately, this means that the 44 percent soluble solids content in both conserves and spreads is made of virtually the same amount and kinds of sugars!
Source: Crofter’s Organic.
Crofter’s Answers FAQ
Q: Does Crofter’s test for Bisphenol A (BPA)?
A: Yes. There has been renewed concern about Bisphenol A (BPA) residues in foods due to the presence of BPA in food packaging. In January 2010, both The New York Times and the Washington Post reported that the FDA has expressed concern about the health risks of BPA. In a study of 2000 people, BPA was detected in the urine of 90% of the participants. BPA could be present in the seal material attached to the underside of metal caps to form an air-tight seal between the cap and the glass jar. Since Crofter’s uses metal in the caps on their jars, they opted to have their fruit spreads tested in 2009 by an independent laboratory and test results indicate that their products contain no detectable BPA residues. Crofter’s tested fresh, 6 months old, and 15 months old product to simulate maximum potential exposure. In all cases BPA residues were reported as less than 1 part per billion (1 part per billion is the lowest level which the laboratory can measure with current methods). Levels of BPA in foods have been reported to range from over 100 ppb (parts per billion) in canned beans and soups, to trace to 32 ppb in canned corn, chili, and tomato sauce (Sustainable Food News: Nov 3, 2009).
Q: How are antioxidants measured?
A: The potency of an antioxidant is typically measured in terms of its “oxygen radical absorbance capacity,” or ORAC. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports ORAC values per 100 grams of food and recommends about 5,000 ORAC units per day. Most people average around 1,000. According to the USDA, blueberries have an ORAC rating of 6,552 while strawberries rate 3,577.
Q: How/when does Crofter’s measure antioxidants?
A: While some companies rely on suppliers and outside laboratories to ensure the ORAC values of their ingredients, we take the measurements in our own lab using a state-of-the-art testing device called a microplate fluorometer. Not only do we monitor the quality of our raw ingredients, but we also measure the ORAC values of our finished products. Our own lab tests have shown that just one tablespoon of Crofter’s Superfruit Spreads has an ORAC rating similar to that in one medium carrot or banana—enough to rank in the “high” antioxidant category, according to industry standards.
Q: What’s the link between antioxidants and organics?
A: Emerging research is showing organic foods to contain higher levels of antioxidants than those grown with pesticides. A recent science review conducted by The Organic Center indicated that organic foods have approximately one-third higher antioxidant content than their conventionally grown counterparts.
Q: What’s a crofter?
A: Crofter: noun. One who rents and tends a small farm.
How we are crofters: Rather than support large monocultures managed by corporations, we look after farmers who cultivate and tend their small farms. Producing organic jams is how we help take care of the earth. Our organic fruits come from farms around the world. We have long-term relationships with farmers and suppliers in nearly a dozen different countries. Our suppliers know we trust them to deliver their best, and that in turn we will honor our commitments and share in the inherent risks of each agricultural season. We estimate that the many tons of berries, cherries, apples, pomegranates, apricots, grapes, oranges and tropical fruits that go into our products each year support 5,000 acres of land managed with organic practices.
In addition to tending to the wellness of the planet, we hope to contribute to your well-being. One could say that we have shaken hands with the preserve eaters of the world to always deliver our best lip-smacking, fruit-stuffed, affordable jams produced sustainably with respect for the land and the lives along the way.
Q: What’s a yumberry?
A: The yumberry is a vibrant red fruit native to East Asia, and Chinese berry eaters have been enjoying them for 2,000 years. Actually, they’ve been enjoying yang-mei berries. The name “yumberry” is a recent Western creation. Whether you call them yang-mei or yumberry or just yummy, these sweet, tart berries are believed to boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and even promote a healthy complexion. We haven’t done the tests to confirm those claims, but we’ve confirmed yumberries’ high antioxidant levels and, of course, our yumberry products have consistently scored exceptionally high on all taste tests.
Q: What’s passionfruit?
A: Although passionfruit is now grown in subtropical areas around the world, it’s native to Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina in South America. With their deep purple skin and yellow fruit flesh, these oval fruits have an intoxicating floral musk. An Aztec staple, passionfruit was used to calm nerves, control asthma and kill bacteria. This fragrant fruit is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber and antioxidants.
Source: Crofter’s Organic.
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