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Marmalades, Jams, Jellies & Fruit Butter

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Marmalade is a sweet preserve with a bitter tang made from citrus fruit, sugar, water, and (in some commercial brands) a gelling agent. In English-speaking usage "marmalade" invariably refers to a preserve derived from a citrus fruit, most commonly from oranges. The recipe includes sliced or chopped fruit peel, which is simmered in fruit juice and water until soft; indeed marmalade is sometimes described as jam with fruit peel. Such marmalade is most often consumed on toasted bread as part of a full English breakfast. The favoured citrus fruit for marmalade production in the UK is the "Seville orange", thus called because it was originally imported from Seville in Spain; it is higher in pectin than sweet oranges, and therefore gives a good set. Marmalade can also be made from lemons, limes, grapefruits, or a combination of citrus fruits.




Jam (also known as jelly or preserves) is a type of sweet spread or condiment made with fruits or sometimes vegetables, sugar, and sometimes pectin if the fruit's natural pectin content is insufficient to produce a thick product. Jam and its variations are often spread on bread, and used as a culinary sweetener, for example in yoghurt.


Jams, Jellies and Fruit Butters


The terms jam and jelly are used in different parts of the world in different ways.


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. The following extract from a US cookbook describes the process.


"Jams are usually made from pulp and juice of one fruit, rather than a combination of several fruits. 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 semi-jellied texture that is easy to spread but has no free liquid."


Jelly is made by a similar process, with the additional step of filtering out the fruit pulp after the initial heating. A cloth "jelly bag" is traditionally used as a filter.


"Good jelly is clear and sparkling and has a fresh flavor of the fruit from which it is made. It is tender enough to quiver when moved, but holds angles when cut.


EXTRACTING JUICE - Pectin is best extracted from the fruit by heat, therefore cook the fruit until soft before straining to obtain the juice ... Pour cooked fruit into a jelly bag which has been wrung out of cold water. Hang up and let drain. When dripping has ceased the gab may be squeezed to remove remaining juice, but this may cause cloudy jelly."


A third term, fruit butter, is used in this context to refer to a process where the whole fruit is forced through a sieve or blended after the heating process.


"Fruit butters are generally made from larger fruits, such as apples, plums peaches or grapes. Cook until softened and run through a sieve to give a smooth consistency. After sieving, cook the pulp...add sugar and cook as rapidly as possible with constant stirring... The finished product should mound up when dropped from a spoon, but should not cut like jelly. Neither should there be any free liquid."


Image Courtesy: tartelette

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Marmalades, Jams, Jellies & Fruit Butter