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Different Kinds of Fruit Preserves 

Learn the difference between fruit preserves like jams, jellies, compotes, and more.

I love fruit. There is nothing quite that natural sugar and fruity flavor. Unfortunately, fruits quickly go out of season, and imported or canned fruits are not the same.

Strawberry jam in the glass jar

Fruit preserves are a great alternative to enjoy fruit when they are out of season. Plus, they are a lot of fun to make.

Many people don’t realize how many different types of fruit preserves there are. Each one has unique traits and accompanies other dishes.

I’ll share with you some of my favorite types of fruit preserves.

Fruit Preserves 

From jam to jelly to marmalade, learn the difference between all types of preserves.


Jam

Jam is probably the most well-known type of fruit preserve.

Chefs make it by cooking fruit and sugar together until it becomes thick and most of the liquid is gone. The addition of pectin will help to thicken the jam further.

You typically make jam with berries, but you can use any fruit. Stone fruits make excellent jams too.

Jam is delicious on toast, PB&Js, or even on a spoon! My favorite jam combination is strawberry jam with cheese as a part of a charcuterie board.


Marmalade

Marmalade is similar to jam, but you make it with citrus fruits.

The peel of the citrus fruit is cooked along with the fruit and sugar to create a spread with a bit of bite.

Marmalade is delicious on toast or scones. You can also use it as a glaze for meats or in cocktails. If you feel adventurous, marmalade also makes an excellent ice cream topping!

My favorite type is orange marmalade. I love the additional texture that the orange peel adds, and it is the perfect addition to a hot piece of toast.


Jelly

You produce jelly by cooking fruit and sugar together until the fruit breaks down and releases its juices.

Next, you strain the juices to remove any solid pieces. The result is a clear, fruit-flavored liquid that solidifies due to the presence of pectin.

The difference between jam and jelly is that jelly doesn’t contain any pieces of fruit.

Traditionally, you make jelly with berries, but you can use any fruit again. Jelly is delicious on toast, in PB&Js, or even by itself!

My favorite jelly is grape jelly. It’s perfect on a PB&J or with cream cheese on a bagel.


Chutney

Chutney is a type of fruit preserve that originates from India.

Indians make it by cooking fruit, sugar, and vinegar together until it forms a thick spread. The addition of spices gives chutney its signature flavor.

Chutney is delicious on toast, in sandwiches, or even as a condiment for curries. My favorite chutney is mango chutney. It is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. 

I love the additional kick that the vinegar adds. It is like a combination of jam and pickles and has a lovely sweet and sour flavor.

I love adding mango chutney to hot dogs and burgers. The sweetness adds a nice touch, and the vinegar cuts through the meat’s richness.


Conserves

Conserves are one of my favorite types of fruit preserves. You make it by cooking fruit, sugar, and nuts together until it becomes thick and chunky.

The addition of raisins and spices give conserves their signature flavor.

Conserves are delicious on toast, in sandwiches, or even as a topping for ice cream. My personal favorite is apricot conserve.

It is sweet and has a lovely texture from the nuts, and the raisins also add a nice touch of sweetness.

My family always has conserves during the Christmas season. Adding savory spices like cumin, ginger, and mustard seed adds to the festive feelings.


Fruit Butter

You make fruit butter by cooking fruit pulp, sugar, and spices together until it becomes thick and creamy.

You also add an acid like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to make it spreadable. I also enjoy the balance that the acid brings to fruit butter.

Fruit butter is delicious on toast, in sandwiches, or even as a topping for oatmeal. My personal favorite is peach butter.

It is sweet and has a lovely peachy flavor. The addition of cinnamon gives it a nice warmth. I love spreading it on top of some hot and fluffy pancakes.


Preserves

Preserves are one of the most unique types of fruit preserves and combine two of my favorite things, fruit, and alcohol.

By cooking the fruit, sugar, and alcohol for a long time, you cook out the alcohol until only a thick syrup remains.

The fruit is also cooked down to break down and release its juices.

Preserves are delicious on toast, cocktails, or even topping for ice cream. My personal favorite is strawberry preserve.

I like adding it to cocktails for a bit of sweetness and complexity. A nice glass of scotch with a bit of strawberry preserve is a match made in heaven.


Compote

You can trace the history of compote back to the Middle Ages. Compote is different from many other types of fruit preserves on this list.

Most other types require you to cut up or strain out the pieces of fruit. You make compote with whole pieces of fruit.

To make compote, you cook whole pieces of fruit with sugar, water, and spices to make a thick syrup. The fruit can be fresh or dried.

I love using dried apricots for compote because they are already sweet and have a lovely chewy texture.

Compote is delicious on toast, in yogurt, or even as a topping for pancakes. My favorite combination is apricot compote with unflavored yogurt.

The sweetness of the dried apricots pairs perfectly with the tartness of the yogurt.


Fruit Curd

Fruit curd is a fruit preserve made with eggs, butter, sugar, and fruit juice.

Traditionally, you use citrus fruits, but you can also use tropical fruits and berries.

The addition of the eggs gives it a lovely thick and creamy texture.

Fruit curd is delicious on toast, in sandwiches, or even as a filling for cakes and pastries.

My personal favorite is using it to fill the inside of puff pastries.


Mincemeat

Mincemeat is a type of fruit preserve that has a long history.

People initially used it to preserve meat, but over time it has evolved into a fruit-based preserve.

You make mincemeat with chopped fruit, sugar, spices, and sometimes meat. The addition of the meat is what gives it its unique flavor.

Although many people are a bit turned off by the presence of meat, I think mincemeat is delicious.

It is a great topping or filling for pies, pastries, or even as a topping for ice cream.

My personal favorite is mincemeat pie. It is sweet and has a lovely savory flavor from the meat.


Fruit Preserves 

  1. Jam
  2. Marmalade
  3. Jelly
  4. Chutney
  5. Conserves
  6. Fruit Butter
  7. Preserves
  8. Compote
  9. Fruit Curd
  10. Mincemeat

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed learning about the different types of fruit preserves. There is a type of preserve for everyone! What is your favorite kind of fruit preserve? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy cooking!

Check out different types of bread to spread these preserves on!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.