Jams, Jellies, Preserves & Marmalades: What's the Difference?

Although they may seem the same, jams, jellies, preserves, and marmalades all actually have a few differences. Read on to learn what sets each of these yummy fruit spreads apart from each other and how you can incorporate them into your continental breakfast, diner, or brunch menu.

What is Jam?

Known for having a fruit juice base, jam is mostly clear with a mixture of pureed or crushed fruit. You can make jam by cutting up whole fruit, adding sugar and pectin, and cooking the mixture down to a gel. Jam can be used on biscuits, toast, bagels, and pancakes to add a sweet burst of flavor. Here’s a few traits that make jam distinct from the other fruit spreads.

Closeup of sandwich with fresh plum jam
  • Pectin is added to thicken the mixture
  • Contains fruit pulp or crushed fruit puree
  • Looser than jellies due to the fruit

Popular Recipes with Jam

If you would like to incorporate more jam-based items on your brunch menu, here's a few different ways you can appeal to a wide audience.

What is Jelly?

One of the most common fruit spreads is jelly. It is made by extracting fruit juice and combining it with sugar and pectin to thicken up the consistency. If you are considering serving breakfast at your restaurant or hotel, you will want to offer jelly to your guests. Here’s a list of characteristics that sets jelly aside from the other types of fruit spreads you might find.

  • Colored, translucent spread
  • Does not contain fruit
  • Has a thicker consistency than jam

Popular Recipes with Jelly

Jelly is an easy additive that can make any recipe sweeter. It can be used in a marinade to help flavor meat or be added as a topping to different foods. For recipe inspiration, check out these ideas.

  • Jelly and Yogurt Parfait
  • Crockpot Jelly Meatballs
  • Jelly Roll

What are Fruit Preserves?

Usually categorized as much thicker than the other three types of spreads, fruit preserves actually have real chunks of fruit mixed inside each jar. Fruit preserves are often used in pies, crepes, or layered into homemade fruit bars.

Homemade sourdough waffles with berry preserves
  • Darker in color depending on the fruit
  • Made of sugar and fruit
  • Thicker in texture than jelly

Popular Recipes with Fruit Preserves

Fruit preserves can be used in many different ways. Here's a list of just a few ideas on how you can sweeten up a variety of dishes on your menu.

What is Marmalade?

Although marmalade is prepared much like a jam, marmalade is made out of mostly citrus fruit like bitter oranges, as opposed to other fruit spreads made with berries or grapes. Here’s some facts about marmalade that sets it apart from the others.

  • Rich in color
  • Made from the juice and peels of citrus fruits
  • Has a thinner consistency compared jelly

Popular Recipes with Marmalade

Marmalade has a sweet, but distinct taste and many people aren’t sure how to pair it with food. If you are looking for ideas on how to pair marmalade with other food or to incorporate into recipes, here’s a few ideas!

  • Orange Marmalade Cake
  • Brie and Marmalade Grilled Cheese
  • Orange Marmalade Pork Loin

Jams, jellies, marmalades, and fruit preserves are wonderful ingredients to have on the table at your restaurant, incorporate in recipes of menu items, and more. Fruit spreads allow you to get creative with your menu options and impress your guests with amazing flavors as well!

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips|By Angalena Malavenda
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