Jam on it.

by | Dec 10, 2008

Welcome, class, to today’s Fresh Pick: JAM

Properly, the term jam refers to a product made with whole fruit, cut into pieces or crushed. The fruit is heated with water and sugar to activate the pectin in the fruit. The mixture is then put into containers. Berries and other small fruits are most frequently used, though larger fruits such as apricots, peaches, or plums cut into small pieces or crushed are also used for jams. Good jam has a soft, even consistency without distinct pieces of fruit, a bright color, a good fruit flavor and a semijellied texture that is easy to spread but has no free liquid. Jam can be used as a bread spread, a filling for pastries and cookies, and as an ingredient for various desserts.

If you’ve always wanted to know the difference between jelly, jam, and preserves, wonder no more!

Jam is made from a blend of crushed pieces of fruit and fruit purée.

Jelly is made from fruit juice. It is clear and firm enough to hold its shape when turned out of its container.

Preserves contain whole or large pieces of fruit, making them thicker and more fruit-filled than jams or jellies.

Marmalade is jelly with shreds of citrus fruit peel.

Conserves are jams made from a mixture of citrus fruits and can also include nuts.

Fruit butters are made from fruit pulp and sugar cooked together, but there is no butter in fruit butter. The term may have developed to describe the appearance of the product or because it is a spread.

Chutney and relish are flavorful, seasoned condiments with a consistency similar to jam. Chutney is typically made with fruits and relish is typically made with vegetables.

For some great recipes, click here or here or try this interesting vinaigrette:

1/2 c blackberry jam
1/3 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt

In a small saucepan, gently heat jam to melt. Remove from heat; transfer to a bowl. Whisk in vinegar, oil, garlic, mustard, cloves, pepper and salt.


I’m Dina R. D’Alessandro, MS, RDN, CDN. I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in New York City, and I provide nutrition counseling to women.

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