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What are Some Types of Fruit Preserves?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are a number of different types of fruit preserves which vary in composition and preservation method. Fruit preserves are made all over the world, and used in a variety of ways. Many people are familiar with the use of fruit preserves as sweet spreads for baked goods, for example, but preserves can also be used as condiments for savory foods, and as ingredients in cakes and a variety of other dishes. Many markets carry a range of different types of fruit preserves to meet consumer needs.

Some people use the term “preserves” to refer to a specific type of fruit preserves. In this sense, preserves are whole fruits lightly cooked in sugar and water and canned as-is, with the intent of being eaten whole. These whole fruits can be used in an assortment of ways, and they have a naturally sweet, fresh flavor. A closely related concept is confit, a fruit preserve made by soaking fruits in repeated changes of sugar syrup so that the sugar penetrates the fruit and acts as a preservative. Confit is often made with whole small fruits like strawberries and cherries, or segments of larger fruits like oranges.

Other types of fruit preserves are made by chopping and processing fruit in some way. Jam is a type of fruit preserve made with whole fruit which has been crushed or cut into chunks, and cooked in water and sugar to release the natural pectin in the fruit, causing the jam to firm up into a mass. When multiple fruits are used or nuts are added, jam turns into conserves. Fruit butter is a style of fruit preserves made by forcing cooked fruit through a very fine-grained sieve to generate a creamy preserve with a uniform texture.

When fruit preserves are made without sugar, they are known as fruit spreads. Because fruit spreads lack the preservative properties of sugar, many of them are short-lived, and need to be used quickly, but they have a more fresh flavor. Fruit curds are made by cooking egg yolks, fruit juice, and sugar to create a rich, highly-flavored spread. Most commonly, citrus fruits like lemons and limes are used to make fruit curd.

Marmalade is a special type of fruit preserve which is intended to carry a bitter edge along with the expected sweet flavor. Traditionally, citrus fruits like the Seville orange are used to make marmalade, and the spread is chunky and somewhat dry. Jelly is yet another entry in the list of types of fruit preserves, made with fruit juice or the liquid left behind after other types of fruit preserves have been made. Jelly includes additional pectin, ensuring that the juice sets into a firm mass.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By bear78 — On Jan 23, 2014

It's amazing how many different kinds of preserves could be made from fruits. I think almost every fruit can be made into a preserve.

My neighbor makes and sells homemade fruit preserves and every year she comes up with something different. I have bought strawberry, peach, orange, cherry and apple preserve from her. Last year, she got a hold of quince and made quince jam. I didn't even know what quince was when I tried it! It's a large, very hard, yellow fruit with a sweet and tart flavor. The quince jam was fantastic. Who would have thought that this fruit would make a good preserve?

By turquoise — On Jan 22, 2014

@ZipLine-- I don't think that chutney is a jelly or jam although it can be similar to both depending on the ingredients. Chutney is usually categorized as a relish or a condiment. It usually contains fruit but the difference is that it also contains spices. When people add spices to a fruit preserve, they will often call it a chutney.

The process of making chutney is same or similar to a fruit preserve however. I made cranberry chutney the other day. The chutney recipe was the same as the recipe for cranberry preserve or jelly, I just added spices as the cranberries were cooking.

By ZipLine — On Jan 22, 2014

What kind of a fruit preserve is a chutney? Is it a jelly or a jam?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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