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Jelly vs. Jam vs. Preserves

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Preserves are put to delicious use in the Plum-Glazed Duck Breasts recipe from FC #114, but have you ever wondered what they are exactly? And for that matter, how they differ from jam and jelly? Read on to find out.

Jelly is a clear fruit spread made from cooked fruit juice and sugar, and possibly pectin, which helps it gel and thicken. After the initial cooking, jelly is strained through a muslin stockinette or “jelly bag” to remove any solids.

Jam is a thick spread made from fruit juice, chopped, crushed, or puréed fruit, and sugar. Pectin may also be added to help it gel, but jams are usually looser than jellies. Jam typically contains a bit of fruit pulp, so it’s not entirely transparent.

Preserves are another thick fruit spread made from fruit cooked with sugar, but in this case, large pieces of the fruit, or the whole fruit (as in the case of berries), are suspended in a firm jelly or less-gelled syrupy base. Unlike jams and jellies, preserves are chunky in texture.

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