Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Difference Between Fruit Butters, Jams, Conserves, Jellies, Marmalades, & Preserves

In our modern age I've come to find out that there are people who've never heard of fruit preserves & conserves.  I've even been asked from time to time what the difference is between jam & jelly.  So here are the definitions... 

Fruit Butters
Fruit Butter is made by cooking fruit pulp and sugar to a thick consistency that will spread easily.  Butters are cooked slowly until thick enough to round up on a spoon.

Juice strained from fruit is used to make jelly. It is usually crystal clear and shimmering. Jelly is gelatinized enough to hold its shape when removed from the jar, yet soft enough to spread easily.  Flowers that can be made into juice (Sorrel) or tea (Rose-Hip pods & Hibiscus) can be made into jelly by themselves or combined with fruit juice.

Jams are jellies with crushed or chopped fruit.

Conserves are jam-like products made with a combination of two or more fruits, nuts and raisins.  If nuts are used, they can be added during the last five minutes of cooking.

Marmalade is made from the peel & juice of citrus fruits boiled with sugar and water.  It contains pieces of fruit and peel in the transparent jelly.  It can be made from lemons, limes, grapefruits, mandarins, sweet oranges, bergamots and other citrus fruits, or any combination thereof.  Marmalades are similar in structure to jam. 

(On a personal note I recommend that you google a marmalade recipe & make your own marmalade before buying it because I've heard that the marmalade in stores are flavorless & just bad.  People who've only had store bought marmalade claimed to hate it but loved mine.)

Fruit is preserved with sugar so it retains its shape, is transparent, shiny, tender and plump. The syrup varies from the thickness of honey to that of soft jelly. A true preserve does not hold its shape when spooned from the jar.