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Fruit preserves

"Jam" redirects here. For other uses, see Jam (disambiguation).

    Fruit preserves refers to fruit, or vegetables, that have been prepared, canned or jarred for long term storage. The preparation of fruit preserves traditionally involves the use of pectin. There are various types of fruit preserves made globally, and they can be made from sweet or savory ingredients.



The Greek technique of preserving quinces by boiling them in honey was included in the Roman cookery book De re coquinaria. The use of cane sugar to preserve fruit can be traced back to the 16th century when the Spanish came to the West Indies.

Types of fruit preserves

The 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking makes the following distinction between jams and preserves: jams are cooked and gelled fruit purees, while preserves are cooked and gelled un-pureed fruit, which includes a significant portion of whole fruit.

Fruit butter

Main article: Fruit butter

Fruit butter, is used in this context to refer to a process where the whole fruit is forced through a sieve or blended after the heating process.

"Fruit butters are generally made from larger fruits, such as apples, plums peaches or grapes. Cook until softened and run through a sieve to give a smooth consistency. After sieving, cook the pulp...add sugar and cook as rapidly as possible with constant stirring... The finished product should mound up when dropped from a spoon, but should not cut like jelly. Neither should there be any free liquid." - Berolzheimer R(ed) et al (1959) [1]

Fruit curd

Main article: Lemon curd

Fruit curds, primarily lemon or other citrus fruit, contain eggs and butter.

Fruit spread

Fruit spread refers to a jam or preserve with no added sugar.



Jam contains both fruit juice and pieces of the fruit's (or vegetable's) flesh[2], however some cookbooks define Jam as cooked and gelled fruit (or vegetable) purees[3].

Properly, the term jam refers to a product made with whole fruit, cut into pieces or crushed. The fruit is heated with water and sugar to activate the pectin in the fruit. The mixture is then put into containers. The following extract from a US cookbook describes the process.

"Jams are usually made from pulp and juice of one fruit, rather than a combinations of several fruits. Berries and other small fruits are most frequently used, though larger fruits such as apricots, peaches, or plums cut into small pieces or crushed are also used for jams. Good jam has a soft even consistency without distinct pieces of fruit, a bright color, a good fruit flavor and a semi-jellied texture that is easy to spread but has no free liquid." - Berolzheimer R(ed) et al (1959) [4]


  • Strawberry jam (sweet, fruit)
  • Mint jam (savory)
  • Jalapeño pepper jam


Uncooked or minimally cooked (less than 5 minutes) jams, called freezer jam, because they are stored frozen, are popular in parts of North America for their very fresh taste.


In the US and Canada, the term jelly refers to a type of clear fruit spread consisting of firmed fruit (or vegetable) juice made with pectin[2]. In British English, these products are commonly referred to by the terms fruit spread or preserves, although jelly is also used in some instances, for example mint jelly. Jelly can be made from sweet, savory or hot ingredients. Jelly is made by a similar process to jam, with the additional step of filtering out the fruit pulp after the initial heating. A cloth "jelly bag" is traditionally used as a filter.

"Good jelly is clear and sparkling and has a fresh flavor of the fruit from which it is made. It is tender enough to quiver when moved, but holds angles when cut.
EXTRACTING JUICE - Pectin is best extracted from the fruit by heat, therefore cook the fruit until soft before straining to obtain the juice ... Pour cooked fruit into a jelly bag which has been wrung out of cold water. Hang up and let drain. When dripping has ceased the bag may be squeezed to remove remaining juice, but this may cause cloudy jelly." - Berolzheimer R(ed) et al (1959) [5]


  • Grape jelly (sweet fruit)
  • Mint jelly (savory)
  • Jalapeño pepper jelly


Main article: Marmalade

Marmalade is a sweet preserve, traditionally with a bitter tang, made from citrus fruit rind (most popularly oranges), sugar, water, and (in some commercial brands) a gelling agent. The traditional British "marmalade" is most commonly from Seville oranges, which are less sweet than dessert oranges. American-style marmalade is sweet and not bitter.


The term Preserves is usually interchangeable with Jam, however some cookbooks define Preserves as cooked and gelled whole fruit (or vegetable), which includes a significant portion of the fruit.[3]

Regional terminology

The terms jam and jelly are used in different parts of the English speaking world in different ways.

Although both terms exist in North America, the UK and Australia; in North America most jams are often popularly referred to as "jelly" in a generic way, as whole fruit jams and fruit butters are less popular commercially than jelly there. Meanwhile in the UK and Australia the two terms are more strictly differentiated, although the term jam is more popularly used in Australia as a generic term[6]. To further confuse the issue, the term jelly is also used in the UK and Australia to refer to a gelatin dessert, whereas in North America the brand name Jell-O is used as a generic term for gelatin desserts and is strictly differentiated form clear fruit preserves.


This section of the article will use the generic term jam unless otherwise noted.     In general jam is produced by taking mashed or chopped fruit or vegetable pulp and boiling it with sugar and water. The proportion of sugar and fruit varies according to the type of fruit and its ripeness, but a rough starting point is equal weights of each. When the mixture reaches a temperature of 104 °C (219 °F), the acid and the pectin in the fruit react with the sugar, and the jam will set on cooling. However, most cooks work by trial and error, bringing the mixture to a "fast rolling boil", watching to see if the seething mass changes texture, and dropping small samples on a plate to see if they run or set.

How easily a jam sets depends on the pectin content of the fruit. Some fruits, such as gooseberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, citrus fruits, apples and raspberries, set very well; others, such as strawberries and ripe blackberries, often need to have pectin added. There are commercial pectin products on the market, and most industrially-produced jams use them. Home jam-makers sometimes rely on adding a pectin-rich fruit to a poor setter; for example blackberry and apple. Other tricks include extracting juice from redcurrants or gooseberries. Making jam at home is a popular handicraft activity, and many take part in this. Homemade jam may be made for personal consumption, or as part of a cottage industry.

Legal definitions

USDA definitions

The USDA treats jam and preserves as synonymous, but distinguishes jelly from jams and preserves. All of these are cooked and pectin-gelled fruit products, but jellies are based entirely on fruit juice or other liquids, while jams and preserves are gelled fruit that includes the seeds and pulp[2].

European Union directives on 'jam'

In the European Union, the jam directive (Council Directive 79/693/EEC, 24 July 1979) set minimum standards for the amount of "fruit" in jam, but the definition of fruit was expanded to take account of several unusual kinds of jam made in the EU. For this purpose, "fruit" is considered to include fruits that are not usually treated as fruits, such as tomatoes; fruits that are not normally made into jams; and vegetables that are sometimes made into jams, such as: rhubarb (the edible part of the stalks), carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkins. This definition continues to apply in the new directive, Council Directive 2001/113/EC (20 December 2001). [7]

Jelly Worldwide

  • Mayhaw jelly is a delicacy in parts of the American South
  • Grass jelly, a food from China and Southeast Asia, often served in drinks
  • Almond jelly, a sweet dessert from Hong Kong
  • Nata de coco, jelly made from coconuts originating from the Phillipines
  • Yōkan, a sweet pasty jelly dessert from Japan often made with beans, sweet potato or squash
  • Muk, a variety of Korean jelly, seasoned and eaten as a cold salad
  • Konjac (also called konnyaku), a variety of Japanese jelly

There are a variety of jellies in the cuisines of East and Southeast Asia. Depending on the type, they may be sweet or unsweetened.

See also

  • Lekvar
  • Marmalade
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich (PB&J)


  1. ^ Berolzheimer R(ed) et al, 1959, Culinary arts institute encyclopedic cookbook (revised), Culinary arts institute, Chicago USA. pg830
  2. ^ a b c Grading Manual for Fruit Jelly Fruit Preserves
  3. ^ a b (1975) The Joy of Cooking. 
  4. ^ Berolzheimer R(ed) et al, 1959, Culinary arts institute encyclopedic cookbook (revised), Culinary arts institute, Chicago USA. pp831-832
  5. ^ Berolzheimer R(ed) et al, 1959, Culinary arts institute encyclopedic cookbook (revised), Culinary arts institute, Chicago USA. pp826-829
  6. ^ Howard L & Patten M (eds), 1960, The Australian Women's Weekly - Cookery in colour, Paul Hamlin LTD, London UK, sections956-971
  7. ^ Council Directive 2001/113/EC (20 December 2001)
Look up jelly in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Look up jam in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Look up marmalade in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fruit_preserves". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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