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Many folks are confused by the multitude of terms used to describe jams a jellies. Here are the accepted definitions, as deteremined by the authority onm the subject, the Ball Blue BookGuide ot Preserving.
Jam is a thick, firm fruit spread made from chopped fruits. They are firm without being stiff, meaning a spoonful plopped on a plate will slowly spread out at room remperature. There are two common methods of making jams: cooking over low heat from a very long time to concentrate the fruit and sugar, or a short cooktime using added natural fruit pectin. Jams made with fruit pectin are brighter in color, and generally more flavorful.
Jelly is a bright, shiny, translucent filtered fruit spread. The fruit is pureed, seived or filtered then cooked with added sugar and pectin to produce a fairly firm texture that looks quite a lot like "Jell-o". While firm, it should still spread evenly. They are often made from fruit juice, sugar and pectin.
A conserve is a combination of 2 or more fruit cooked to a thick consistency, often more firm than a jam. Conserves may also contain nuts, raisons, dried fruit pieces, and coconut. Likeold-fashioned jams, they are cooked to the gelling point and produce a thick consistency.
A marmalade is a sweet and tart fruit spread made from shredded pieces of fruit and fruit peelings suspended in a jelly. Typ;ically, they are made with citrus, like orange and lemon. But, they also made from ore exotic fruits like pineapple, mango, kumquat, or even prickly pear.They have a consistency like jams and are generally cooked quickly to the gelling point.
A preserve is a more ambiguious category; in that they can have varied consistency, from a thin honey like texture to a soft jelly. Ball says true preserves do not retain their shape when spooned onto a plate. There may be small whole fruits, or large pieces of fruit. They may be made with or without added pectin and cooked until the gelling point.
Fruit butters are smooth pureed fruit spreads. They do not contain any dairy product or dairy butter. The term "butter" refers to their smooth, uniform finely pureed texture. Cooked for a lonmg time over low heat, the water is boiled off to produce a think texture and concentrated flavor. Sugar and spices are added. A wand blender is perfect for producing the smooth texture.
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