I occasionally enjoy toast with peanut butter and strawberry jam in the morning for breakfast. I am not one to eat PB&J sandwiches, so this is the only time I get to taste these flavors together. I normally use American Spoon Early Glow Strawberry Preserves which I purchase from a small store up in Michigan when I’m there. I love the taste, the texture, and there are only three ingredients; strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. I normally get there before I run out but this time I did not, so there I was, in Wal-Mart, looking for an alternative. Before discovering the American Spoon product, I had always been loyal to Smuckers so when I saw the Smuckers Natural Strawberry Fruit Spread, I decided to purchase it. I liked the fact it only had four ingredients. It was non GMO (which, to be honest, I don’t know if other brands are as well or not, I know sometimes they put labels on items for consumer value when the truth is, most products fall under the same category and just don’t say it). Either way, I bought into the hype, the ingredients, and it had the Smuckers’ label, so it went into my cart.
I still had a day or two of the American Spoon product left, so I didn’t try it right away. It sat unopened for about four days. I decided to open it and try it this morning.
Now, before I go on with my review, I know one is a preserve and one is a fruit spread, so I want to explain the difference and also say, I’m trying not to compare the two. It would not be fair. I am reviewing it on its own merit as a fruit spread and nothing more. Preserves mean the fruit contained is in the form of actual fruit chunks. “Fruit Spread” usually means it is a jam or preserve made without sugar. Since the second ingredient on the Smucker’s product is sugar, I realized they were not following that particular logic. Since the first ingredient is strawberries, I was hoping this product more closely resembled a preserve and not a jam. In Jam, the fruit contained is in the form of a pulp. It can get rather confusing so I usually lean towards preserves because then I know there should be some actual fruit in the product!
Upon opening, I saw the typical smooth top you generally see on a new product. If you look closely, you can see some shadows, which told me there were some chunks in it.
I don’t like my toast extremely “toasty” I only leave it in the toaster long enough to harden the outside but it is still someone soft when you bite into it. I put my Jif Extra Crunch Peanut Butter on the toast and then dipped my knife into the new fruit spread. I have to admit, as the name says, it did spread quite nicely. Even with the extra crunchy peanut butter, it was easy to spread around without having the appearance of being drippy. I also noticed one or two actual chunks of strawberry. Always a plus when you aren’t sure what you are purchasing.
I bit into the toast. I intentionally did not bite the side with the largest strawberry chunk as I wanted to get the real flavor. I was a little disappointed at first and had to remind myself not to compare to the American Spoon product and really think about what I was tasting. Could I taste the actual strawberry OVER the peanut butter. Yes. Was the flavor pleasant? Yes. Surprisingly, the part with the strawberry chunk tasted the same as the rest, so the flavor was consistent. I also appreciated the consistency was thick enough it did not drip down onto the plate or my hand every time I took a bite.
I think the product is good, not great. I would like a little more strawberry flavor. Even with sugar as the second ingredient, I will say it is not very sweet, the strawberry is more prominent than the sugar but still a little faint from what I would prefer. Compared to other Smuckers products I have had, I would say it is the best of their products. I compared prices at Wal-Mart between their regular Strawberry Jam I grew up with and their Natural product. There wasn’t much difference so I would recommend the Natural over the regular Jam. Just the ingredients alone make it a better choice.
If you are a Smuckers fan, you will appreciate this product. I would say overall, it is better than average but not the best I have ever had. It is a fair alternative when cost and availability is a factor.