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Taste Test: The Best Store-Bought Strawberry Jam

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Strawberry jam is one of the ultimate culinary nectars, the result of boiling down fresh seasonal fruit into a bold, jewel-toned lava just bursting with concentrated berry flavor. Adults love it, kids eat it nearly every day for lunch, and babies always have it all over their faces. Slather it on bread and butter, sandwich it with peanut butter, spread it on a hot English muffin, or stir it into yogurt. However you apply it, it's one of those classic down-home comfort foods that can make just about anything taste better.

While homemade jams and preserves are always the best, we don't all have the time to make them. (Not to mention, it's expensive to buy loads of fresh strawberries -- and when those juicy red berries are sitting on your counter, who has the willpower not to gobble them up?) So to satisfy our instantaneous cravings for strawberry jam, Kitchen Daily's editors set up a taste test to see which store-bought brands are the best.

We blind-tasted 15 different brands of jams, preserves and fruit spreads (no jelly!), judging their flavor, texture and other factors such as color, stickiness and the jam's ability to pair with other ingredients (hello, peanut butter!). We tasted them with classic white sandwich bread to get a realistic feel for how they pair with a neutral base.

What we learned: Overall, we were disappointed to find that none of these jams made our hearts go pitter-patter. Though we hoped to find a brand so irresistible that we'd take a spoon to the jar with abandon, there wasn't a true star in sight -- most were overly saccharine and severely lacking in true berry flavor. None were strikingly offensive and most would be perfectly fine in a PB&J sandwich, but after tasting 15 successive jams we were down for the count.

So … which brand came out on top? Check out our slideshow below to find out, and leave a comment to let us know what you think.

  • #1: Trader Joe's
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Very sticky, with big berry chunks. Well-balanced flavor." "Pretty good, bright flavor." Ingredients: Fresh strawberries, corn syrup, sugar, pectin, citric acid traderjoes.com
  • #2: Dickinson's
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Smooth, sweet and fine." "Relatively natural flavor." "This is a standout." "Many thick strawberry chunks." "Fresh-tasting but very sweet." Ingredients: Strawberries, sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, pectin, citric acid dickinsonsfamily.com
  • #3: D'Arbo
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Beautiful red color, and a sweet-tart flavor." "A pronounced strawberry flavor but very sweet." "This is good." "Great texture and flavor." Ingredients: Strawberries, sugar, fruit pectin, lemon juice concentrate darbo.at
  • #4: 365 Organic
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Tastes like a classic. Pleasant and inoffensive." "Weird apple sauce texture." "Pure strawberry flavor." Ingredients: Organic strawberries, organic cane sugar, natural fruit pectin, ascorbic acid, citric acid wholefoodsmarket.com
  • #5: Favorit
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Supremely smooth, and slightly tart." "Pleasant and easy to spread." "Nice sour taste." "Nice homemade-like texture." Ingredients: Strawberries, sugar, glucose syrup, dextrose, citric acid, fruit pectin
  • #6: Crofter's
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Tastes like real strawberries but lacks punch." "Much more balanced than many of the others." "Jelly-like texture." "Devoid of flavor." "Mild, easy to spread and fruit-forward." Ingredients: Concentrated organic grape juice, organic strawberries, apple pectin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid croftersorganic.com
  • #7: Smucker's
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Classic childhood flavor." "A bit better than average." "Not much complexity." "The mediocrity overwhelms me." "Muddy flavor." Ingredients: Strawberries, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, fruit pectin, citric acid smuckers.com
  • #8: Hero
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Too sweet, chunky and hard to spread." "Very chunky." "Unremarkable." "Too sweet, with no acidity." "Too thick, but good flavor." Ingredients: Strawberries, sugar, glucose syrup, citric acid, pectin heroes.com
  • #9: Bonne Maman
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Way too sweet." "A good standard." "Extremely sweet." "Standard old school jam." "Taste and texture are both unpleasant." "Classic. Good color and consistency but too sweet." Ingredients: Strawberries, sugar, cane sugar, concentrated lemon juice, fruit pectin bonnemaman.us
  • #10: Welch's
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Way too sweet. No acidity!" "Way too sweet!" "Not great on its own but maybe okay with peanut butter." "Standard old-school jam." "Tastes like raspberries." Ingredients: Strawberries, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, fruit pectin, red grape juice concentrate (for color), citric acid welchs.com
  • #11: Polaner
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Too stiff, chunky and treacly." "Not so spreadable -- clumpy." "Real pieces of fruit, but no real fruit flavor." "Tastes pretty real. I like seeing chunks that actually resemble strawberries." "Off-putting maroon color." Ingredients: Strawberries, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, citric acid, pectin and potassium citrate polanerfruit.com
  • #12: Santa Cruz Organic
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Nice tart berry flavor, but it's got a babyfood texture." "Very smooth but still too sweet." "Gloppy texture, but adequate flavor." "Ketchup consistency -- hard to stomach." "Strangely pureed texture." Ingredients: Organic strawberries, organic sugar, fruit pectin, organic fruit and vegetable juice (color), citric acid scojuice.com
  • #13: Stonewall Kitchen
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Too Jello-ish in texture." "Notes of darker berries." "Inoffensive. Probably good on a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, though." "Not bad, but too sweet." "Tastes like cheap jelly." "Tastes fake." Ingredients: Strawberries, pure cane sugar, water, pectin, lemon juice concentrate, citric acid stonewallkitchen.com
  • #14: St. Dalfour
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Bitter and stiff." "Tastes like strawberry butter." "Tastes like grape juice." "Is this Bonne Maman?" "Tastes like fig jam." Ingredients: Strawberries, concentrated grape juice, fruit pectin, lemon juice stdalfour.us
  • #15: Wilkin & Sons, Ltd: Tiptree
    Joseph Erdos/Kitchen Daily
    Comments: "Way too sugary. Where are the strawberries?" "This made me wince." "Tastes more like raspberry." "Thick and viscous, almost unwieldy." "Cloying, with a snotty texture." Ingredients: Sugar, strawberries (pectin and citric acid added when required) tiptree.com
  • WATCH: How to Make Strawberry Jam

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