Fruit preserves are preparations of fruits, vegetables and sugar, often stored in glass jam jars and Mason jars. Many varieties of fruit preserves are made globally, including sweet fruit preserves, such as those made from strawberry or apricot, and savory preserves, such as those made from tomatoes or squash.
What Is the Difference Between Jelly, Jam and Preserves?
Jelly, Jam and preserves are all made from fruit mixed with sugar and pectin. Pectin is an indigestible carbohydrate (fiber). It is found in the cell walls of most fruit. When heated with sugar in water, pectin gels, giving jam, jelly and preserves their thickness.
The difference between the three spreads comes in the form that the fruit takes.
- In jelly, the fruit comes in the form of fruit juice. Jelly has the smoothest consistency and is usually clear.
- In jam, the fruit comes in the form of fruit pulp or crushed fruit. This makes jam less stiff than jelly.
- In preserves, the fruit comes in the form of chunks in a gel or syrup. Preserves will have more fruit in them than jam will. Marmalade is a type of preserve with citrus fruits in it.
Which spread should you use?
That depends on what you’re trying to do. For sandwiches, jelly or jam is preferred as they spread easier. For recipes, preserves would deliver more fruit flavor, though jam could also be used.
The term preserves is usually interchangeable with jams even though preserves contain chunks or pieces of the fruit whereas jams in some regions do not. Other names include: chutney, confit, conserve, fruit butter, fruit curd, fruit spread, jelly, and marmalade.
Some cookbooks define preserves as cooked and gelled whole fruit (or vegetable), which includes a significant portion of the fruit. In the English speaking world, the two terms are more strictly differentiated and, when this is not the case, the more usual generic term is ‘jam‘.
The singular preserve or conserve is used as a collective noun for high fruit content jam, often for marketing purposes. Additionally, the name of the type of fruit preserves will also vary depending on the regional variant of English being used.
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