AskDefine | Define preserves

Dictionary Definition

preserves n : fruit preserved by cooking with sugar [syn: conserve, preserve, conserves]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Plural of preserve



Extensive Definition

"Jam" redirects here. For other uses, see Jam (disambiguation).
Fruit preserves refers to fruit, or vegetables, that have been prepared, canned or jarred for long term storage. Jam is made from 50% fruit & 50% sugar The preparation of fruit preserves traditionally involves the use of pectin. There are various types of fruit preserves made globally, and they can be made from sweet or savory ingredients. Jam was one of the first "foods" ever discovered.


Jam contains both fruit juice and pieces of the fruit's (or vegetable's) flesh.
Properly, the term jam refers to a product made with whole fruit, cut into pieces or crushed. The fruit is heated with water and sugar to activate the pectin in the fruit. The mixture is then put into containers. The following extract from a US cookbook describes the process.
"''Jams are usually made from pulp and juice of one fruit, rather than a combination of several fruits. Berries and other small fruits are most frequently used, though larger fruits such as apricots, peaches, or plums cut into small pieces or crushed are also used for jams. Good jam has a soft even consistency without distinct pieces of fruit, a bright color, a good fruit flavor and a semi-jellied texture that is easy to spread but has no free liquid." - Berolzheimer R (ed) et al (1959)
Uncooked or minimally cooked (less than 5 minutes) jams, called freezer jam, because they are stored frozen, are popular in parts of North America for their very fresh taste.


In the U.S. and Canada, the term jelly'' refers to a type of clear fruit spread consisting of firmed fruit (or vegetable) juice made with pectin


Marmalade is a sweet preserve, traditionally with a bitter tang, made from citrus fruit rind (most popularly oranges), sugar, water, and (in some commercial brands) a gelling agent. The traditional British "marmalade" is most commonly from Seville oranges, which are less sweet than dessert oranges. American-style marmalade is sweet and not bitter.


The term Preserves is usually interchangeable with Jam, however some cookbooks define Preserves as cooked and gelled whole fruit (or vegetable), which includes a significant portion of the fruit.

Fruit curd

Fruit curds, primarily lemon or other citrus fruit, contain eggs and butter.

Fruit spread

Fruit spread refers to a jam or preserve with no added sugar.

Regional terminology

The terms jam and jelly are used in different parts of the English speaking world in different ways.
Although both terms exist in North America, the UK and Australia; in the USA most jams are often popularly referred to as "jelly" in a generic way. Meanwhile in the UK, Canada, and Australia the two terms are more strictly differentiated, although the term jam is more popularly used in Australia and South Africa as a generic term. To further confuse the issue, the term jelly is also used in the UK and Australia to refer to a gelatin dessert, whereas in North America the brand name Jell-O is used as a generic term for gelatin desserts and is strictly differentiated from clear fruit preserves.


This section of the article will use the generic term jam unless otherwise noted. In general jam is produced by taking mashed or chopped fruit or vegetable pulp and boiling it with sugar and water. The proportion of sugar and fruit varies according to the type of fruit and its ripeness, but a rough starting point is equal weights of each. When the mixture reaches a temperature of 104 °C (219 °F), the acid and the pectin in the fruit react with the sugar, and the jam will set on cooling. However, most cooks work by trial and error, bringing the mixture to a "fast rolling boil", watching to see if the seething mass changes texture, and dropping small samples on a plate to see if they run or set.
How easily a jam sets depends on the pectin content of the fruit. Some fruits, such as gooseberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, citrus fruits, apples and raspberries, set very well; others, such as strawberries and ripe blackberries, often need to have pectin added. There are commercial pectin products on the market, and most industrially-produced jams use them. Home jam-makers sometimes rely on adding a pectin-rich fruit to a poor setter; for example blackberry and apple. Other tricks include extracting juice from redcurrants or gooseberries. Making jam at home is a popular handicraft activity, and many take part in this. Homemade jam may be made for personal consumption, or as part of a cottage industry.

Legal definitions

USDA definitions

The USDA treats jam and preserves as synonymous, but distinguishes jelly from jams and preserves. All of these are cooked and pectin-gelled fruit products, but jellies are based entirely on fruit juice or other liquids, while jams and preserves are gelled fruit that includes the seeds and pulp.

European Union directives on 'jam'

In the European Union, the jam directive (Council Directive 79/693/EEC, 24 July 1979) set minimum standards for the amount of "fruit" in jam, but the definition of fruit was expanded to take account of several unusual kinds of jam made in the EU. For this purpose, "fruit" is considered to include fruits that are not usually treated in a culinary sense as fruits, such as tomatoes; fruits that are not normally made into jams; and vegetables that are sometimes made into jams, such as: rhubarb (the edible part of the stalks), carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkins. This definition continues to apply in the new directive, Council Directive 2001/113/EC (20 December 2001).

Jelly worldwide

There are a variety of jellies in the cuisines of East and Southeast Asia. Depending on the type, they may be sweet or unsweetened, or neither.

See also


preserves in Arabic: مربى
preserves in Czech: Želé
preserves in German: Konfitüre
preserves in Spanish: Mermelada
preserves in Esperanto: Ĵeleo
preserves in French: Confiture
preserves in Croatian: Džem
preserves in Icelandic: sulta
preserves in Italian: Marmellata
preserves in Hebrew: ריבה
preserves in Dutch: Jam (broodbeleg)
preserves in Japanese: ジャム
preserves in Norwegian Nynorsk: Syltetøy
preserves in Polish: Dżem
preserves in Portuguese: Compota
preserves in Romanian: Gem
preserves in Russian: Варенье
preserves in Simple English: Jelly
preserves in Slovenian: Marmelada
preserves in Serbian: Џем
preserves in Finnish: Hillo
preserves in Swedish: Sylt
preserves in Contenese: 果占
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