I'll admit to using several of these words interchangeably on a regular basis. For the longest time, I thought that if mashed-up fruit came in a jar, it was essentially all the same thing. But as it turns out, there is a difference between jam and jelly, and preserves and fruit butters. Upon learning what those differences are, I realized why I am typically drawn to one type of spreadable fruit preserve over another.
- Chutney: A relish of Indian origin that incorporates cooked fruit, spices, and herbs.
- Fruit butters: Whole or halved fruit (often unpeeled) is cooked down with sugar and/or spices and then pressed through a sieve or a food mill. Contrary to popular belief, there is no butter involved. The name refers to the spreadability of the resulting fruit. Also, it is differentiated by the fact that no gelling agent is used.
For more, keep reading.
- Jams: Defined by cooked fruit purees, or fruit that has been chopped up and cooked with sugar and pectin until thickened. Some differentiate it from preserves by having no significant pieces of fruit. (Don't forget to try this great recipe for concord grape jam).
- Jellies: Fruit juice that has been sweetened and jelled.
- Preserves: Large pieces of fruit are cooked and jelled. The texture is not as smooth as jam.
- Spreads: A jam or preserve made without sugar.
- Marmalade: Preserves that incorporate the flesh and the zest from citrus fruit.
Which one of these spreads do you enjoy the most?