Jellies, Jams, Preserves, Marmalade, Butters, and Conserves

What’s the difference?

Jellies, jams, preserves, marmalade, butters, and conserves are all considered soft fruit spreads. They are simple to make and make perfect gifts for friends and family. All of them have four basic ingredients; fruit, sugar, pectin, and acid (either naturally or added). Each requires slightly different ingredients, cooking techniques, and temperature requirements. Here are basic definitions of each.

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Crab Apple JellyJelly-

Making jelly is a beautiful process. You begin with cloudy fruit juice and transform it into a clear, glistening jewel-like gel. Jelly is made from juice strained (until clear) from fruit, mixed with sugar and pectin and then boiled until thick and set.

Strawberry JamJam-

Jam is one of the simplest ways of preserving, nearly any fruit and even some vegetables.  Fruit is crushed or chopped, mixed with sugar and pectin, and cooked until it is gelled and thick enough to spread easily.

Cherry PreservesPreserves-

Preserves are exactly what they sound like; whole or nearly whole pieces of fruit are preserved with sugar and retain their shape. The fruit appears to be suspended in jelly or thick syrup.


Marmalade is a soft jelly made from small pieces of fruit and fruit peel (usually containing citrus) boiled with water or juice and sugar and cooked over a long period of time.

Apple ButterFruit Butter-

Fruit butter is made by cooking fruit pulp and sugar until it is thick, shiny, and spreadable. Spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are commonly added to fruit butters for extra flavor.


Conserves are similar to jams and preserves. They are usually made with a combination of two or more fruits, plus nuts and dried fruits (usually raisins) cooked until thick and spreadable. Nuts are added in last few minutes of cooking.

What’s your favorite way to preserve fruit?

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About Nelle

I am Nelle. I grew up in rural, small town, Ohio. When I was young, I learned a lot about homesteading from my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, 4-H, FFA, and others around me.
Now, I’m all grown up, have 6 children of my own, and plan to teach them everything I know.

Here on Mama’s Homestead, we talk and write about homesteading, homeschooling, and kidsteading (homesteading with kids). We teach our kids about survival, self-sufficiency, gardening (vegetable, herb, flower), orchard, beekeeping, home keeping, soap making, harvesting, cooking, food preservation, livestock, nature, crafts, homesteading tools and wares, and more…

Welcome to my homestead…come and learn with us!

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