Jams, Jellies, and Preserves
From toast and bread to gourmet cookies and cakes, whipping up jam, jelly, and preserve recipe provides a sweet taste to many recipes. Preparing these blends can be challenging, especially considering the subtle differences between each variety since many recipes use the terms interchangeably.
- Jam: A fruit spread made by boiling fruit with sugar as a preservative. The finished product contains the fruit pulp.
- Jelly: A spread made by boiling fruit juice with a gelling agent, typically pectin, as well as sweeteners. Jellies are usually clear or translucent and do not contain fruit pulp.
- Preserves: A more generic term, usually referring to finished products containing pulp and possibly seeds of the fruit. They are heavily laden with syrup.
Jam, jelly, and preserve recipes spreads became popular centuries ago when cooks discovered the preservative properties of sugar. Creating fruit spreads allowed fresh fruits to be saved for winter consumption.
Tips for Jam, Jelly, and Preserve Recipes
The most common problem with jam, jelly, and preserve recipes is the failure to set firmly. This may result from inappropriate proportions of pectin, sugar, fruit, and juice. Therefore, following recipes carefully is critical for successful recipes. Tougher spreads occur when the fruit is boiled too long, particularly when preparing jellies. Jelly may appear cloudy if there is too much pulp left in the juice; strain the juice gently for clear, picturesque jelly. Mold can also be a problem if jars are not properly sealed. Mold and spoilage can easily spread throughout an entire jar and affected jars should be promptly discarded. Storing jars in the freezer helps prevent mold.
Fruit spreads may also darken over time, particularly bright fruits such as strawberries and raspberries, indicating poor seals on the jars. As with mold, such tainted jars should be discarded.
Properly prepared and sealed, jams, jellies, and preserves can last for months, providing sweet treats in cold months when warm summer weather is a distant memory.