What is the difference between a jam, a jelly, and a marmalade?

There will be disagreement, depending on where you live in the world, and don’t even get me started on conserves and preserves.  For now though, the general agreement on this continent is the following:

A jam is made with fruit, which is sometimes chopped finely, sometimes crushed, and sometimes cut into pieces.  The jam has a thick texture and pieces are generally evident.  Additional pectin may or may not be necessary according to the pectin levels in the fruit itself.

A jelly is made by extracting the juice from various fruits, but mostly berries.  The juice is collected and then boiled with sugar.  As with jams, additional pectin may or may not be required to achieve a good set.

A marmalade is generally made using citrus peel which is softened by cooking and then cooked with sugar giving it its characteristic bittersweet taste.  The good marmalades have visible peel when you hold the jar up to the light.   The pips and pith in citrus provide the majority of the pectin.  Thus, marmalade recipes rarely call for added pectin. 

 In terms of jams in the rest of the world, there is a tendency in USA to call jams, jellies, and marmalades “jelly”.  In France, jams are called “confitures”.  Only in England, and by extension, many of the Commonwealth countries, is a citrus-based, peel-containing preserve called marmalade.   For example, jam is called marmalade in Germany, marmelada in Greece,  marmalade in France, and marmellata in Italy. 

Relishes, Chutneys and Condiments

Relish is a pickled vegetable or fruit that is cooked with vinegar and sugar. 

Preserved Chutneys are sweet and savoury and generally contain fruit, onion, vinegar, sugar, and spices. 

Condiments are a general category of foods that are produced to enhance the taste of other foods.  In this case, I am including Indonesian Satay Sauce, and some savoury/sweet fruit jams such as Pickled Strawberry. 


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