by Kevin Farrell


What's the difference between jam, jelly and preserves?

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When it comes to jams, jellies and preserves, there are many different kinds of spreads to choose from.

But the terms aren’t interchangeable.

There are subtle nuances that distinguish jellies from jams and even marmalades and compotes, for that matter.

Here’s everything you need to know about the jelly family tree.


Jelly is made from cooked, clarified fruit juice, sugar and pectin. The mixture is strained through a fine mesh to remove solids. What you’re left with is a transparent fruit spread.


Like jelly, jam has sugar and pectin. But instead of using fruit juice, jam is made with crushed fruit.


Preserves take things a step further than jam, suspending fruit within the sugar-pectin-cooked fruit mixture before it has had time to chill.


Marmalade is made by adding tiny pieces of fruit rind – most famously, orange – to a jelly mixture made from citrus juice, sugar and pectin.


All conserves are jams, but not all jams are conserves. That’s because conserves are specifically made from multiple types of fruit.

Compote and coulis

Compote is a textured reduction containing pieces of the fruit, while coulis takes an added ride through a food processor until it is made perfectly smooth.

Fruit butter

Fruit butter is a coulis that continues to be slowly cooked down until much of the moisture is evaporated out until it has a thick and almost creamy consistency.

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