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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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  • preservestheTRUTH | 06/11/2020

    BREAKING NEWS! As a former jam shop owner and recent self-declared fruit scientist, a new discovery has shaken the global jellyjam community. No longer is fruit purity a concern of identifying fruit purees, but rather fruit type. JELLY IS FOR GRAPES AND JAM IS FOR STRAWBERRIES! #PRESERVESTHETRUTH @Jsachse I accept that you want to reference the USDA standard, but I think that you have missed an opportunity to educate yourself on the history of jams and jellies and its corruption due to the industry. Remember, jam the lies to the back of the pantry.

  • Jsachse | 06/20/2019

    As a former food scientist, I was disappointed to read your definition (and practically tha of all others) of jam, jelly and preserves. Nowhere do you mention the USDA standard. I accept that you don't wish to over-complicate the issue for your readers, but I think that you missed a opportunity to educate your users about the purity that our industry tries to maintain. It is important that a specific level of fruit is required for each and that artificial ingredients are not allowed.

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