Types of Preserves

Fruit preserves are fruits or berries that have been coked and gelled and then canned or bottled for later use as a spread or as fillings for cakes, pies and cookies. The making of these preserves usually involves the use of pectin as a thickening agent. Jam is the best known of these preserves and typically refers to the gelled product made by cooking shopped pieces of fruit or crushed berries.

In North America, jelly is a popular preserve that refers to a spread made from fruit. In Britain, this same preserve is simply called preserves or fruit spread. In some cases though, the term jelly is used as in the case of mint jelly. The process of making jelly is the same as that of jam, except the pulp of the fruit is filtered out after the mixture of fruit, sugar and pectin reaches the boiling point. Grape and jalapeno jellies are also favorites.

Marmalade is a sweet preserve made by boiling oranges and sugar. It was first served to Mary Queen of Scots in 1561 as a preventative for seasickness. British marmalade is not as sweet tasting as the American variety because it is made from Seville oranges, whereas the American variety uses dessert oranges, which are sweet.

Fruit butter is a sweet spread made by cooking fruit until it forms a paste at which point sugar is added to give it a sweet taste. Apple butter is a well-known example of this type of preserve. The fruit is cooked first, but not too much because it burns easily. When prepared properly, fruit butter has the same texture as regular butter but is sweeter in taste.

Lemon curd is a favorite British preserve used as a spread or a dessert topping. Egg yolks are used in the cooking process along with sugar, the juice of lemons and zest, which is the lemon peel. The ingredients are boiled and then cooled to form a smooth spread.