Jelly, Jam & Marmalade: What's the Difference?

August 3, 2011

Here's a hint: it's all in the fruit.

There was a time, not long ago, when I stood in the grocery store, staring at the immense wall of preserved fruit: jams, jellies, marmalades, straight-up preserves - and wondered, "What is the difference?" They all involve fruit boiled with sugar and pectin, they all come in jars, and I put all of them on toast -- so what am I missing? Well here it is, why you can't find orange jelly or strawberry marmalade and what makes jam jam and not jelly.

Jelly is made from fruit juice, creating a clear, spreadable semi-solid.

Jam is made from pureed, crushed or chopped fruit.

Preserves are made from whole (or large chunks) of fruit in syrup.

Marmalade is basically jam, but made only from citrus fruits and usually including pieces of rind. Oh, and if you're in the UK marmalade is almost exclusively made from bitter Seville oranges -- just so you know.

So there it is, clear as day! So before you begin canning this summer, now you know that your ultra delicious Strawberry Balsamic concoction is in fact jam, which by any other name would taste as sweet.

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Doug's picture

And then there are "Conserves... much like preserves, but usually contain more than one kind of fruit and often nuts.