Jams and Jellies 101

Considering they’re a staple of most childhoods, it’s understandable to be embarrassed if you’re not sure of the difference between jelly, jam, preserves or marmalade. The truth is, there isn’t a major difference, but it will help to understand the process when deciding which is best for spreading or cooking. Also, you’ll impress people at parties with your fruit-topping knowledge.

Jams and Jellies
Both jelly and jam are made with three key ingredients: fruit, sugar, and pectin. Pectin is a natural substance found in ripe fruit that, when mixed with sugar, gives jams and jellies their gelatinous forms.

Jam is made with fruit pulp or crushed fruit, which typically makes it more spreadable – and less stiff – than jelly, which is made with fruit juices.

What About Preserves?
Preserves are made by the same process and ingredients as jams and jellies, but they contain chunkier, whole pieces of fruit. This makes preserves an excellent topping for snacks and desserts as it will hold its form better and longer.

So, What’s with Marmalade?
Marmalade is a name that encompasses all preserved fruit; however, in the UK it is commonly used to refer to preserves made only with citrus fruits.

Fun Facts:

  • The first recipe for jam appears in the first known cookbook, De Re Coquinaria (On the Subject of Cooking), which dates back to the 1st century AD. In it, soft fruit is cooked with honey and then stored.
  • If you’re keen on trying your hand at making them at home, have fun with it by mixing an array of berries (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry) for a triple berry jam or jelly. You can always use a sugar substitute instead of the real thing. Either way, homemade allows you to control the sweetness level and consistency.

May We Suggest…
Homemade or store-bought, this Goat Cheese & Fig Jam Bites recipe features a popular and spreadable flavor combo on top of the highly snackable Original Pretzel Crisps®.