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Making Jams, Jellies, and Fruit Spreads

Making Jams, Jellies, and Fruit Spreads

FS232E
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Kayla Wells-Moses, Extension Regional Specialist, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, WSU Colville Reservation Extension
Making and canning fruit spreads is a good way to use fruits that are not suitable for canning whole or freezing. Sugar is used as a preservative in fruit spreads. The individual characteristics of a fruit spread depend on the type of fruit used, how the spread is prepared, the proportion of ingredients, and the method of cooking the spread. This publication guides you through the process.
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Abstract

There are six types of fruit spreads that can be made and canned at home using a boiling water bath canner. These types are: jams, jellies, conserves, preserves, marmalades, and fruit butters. To successfully make a fruit spread at home, there are four crucial ingredients needed in correct proportions for the product to form a gel. These ingredients are: fruit, pectin, acid, and sugar. When home canning fruit spreads, it is important to follow approved recipes, both for safety and for your product to gel properly. This publication provides information about the six types of fruit spreads, the ingredients and equipment needed to make fruit spreads, and the methods for making and canning fruit spreads at home.

Making Jams, Jellies, and Fruit Spreads

General Information

Making and canning fruit spreads is a good way to use fruits that are not suitable for canning whole or freezing. Sugar is used as a preservative in fruit spreads. While all fruit spreads are jelled to some degree, each type has a different texture, flavor, and color. The individual characteristics of a fruit spread depend on the type of fruit used, how the spread is prepared, the proportion of ingredients, and the method of cooking the spread.

Types of Fruit Spreads

Jam is made from crushed, chopped, or ground fruit, and sugar. Jams can be made with or without added pectin. Jam holds its shape, but is less firm that jelly.

Jelly is made from fruit juice and sugar. Jelly is a semi-solid fruit spread that is clear and firm enough to hold its shape. Jellies can be made with or without added pectin.

Conserves are similar to jams because they are made from a mixture of fruits, but they also contain nuts, raisins, and/or coconut. Conserves are made with sugar and can be made with or without added pectin.

Preserves are characterized by the thick or slightly jelled syrup, in which small, whole fruits or small, evenly-sized pieces of fruit are suspended. Preserves are made with sugar and can be made with or without added pectin.

Home-canned raspberry jam.
Home-canned apricot, rhubarb, and walnut conserves.
Marmalades are soft jellies with small pieces of fruit or peel evenly suspended in the clear jelly. Marmalades are usually made from citrus fruits and/or peels. Marmalades are made with sugar and can be made with or without added pectin.

Fruit butters are made from sweetened fruit pulp cooked with sugar and spices until thickened to a spreadable consistency. Butters can be made with or without added pectin.

Ingredients

For a successful fruit spread, there are four crucial ingredients needed in proper proportions to form a gel: fruit, pectin, acid, and sugar.

Fruit gives a spread its unique flavor and texture. It also contains part of the pectin and acid needed to form a gel. The fruit also provides the liquid needed to dissolve the other ingredients. For the best quality jelled products, use good-quality, flavorful fruits.

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