Fruit Preserves 101: All About Jams

In the Philippines, there are affordable kitchen appliances that can be used not just to make your everyday sinigang or tinola but a list of other dishes and desserts as well. This piece is going to teach you what jams are and how to make one, especially if you don’t have the time to travel to Baguio and check the jams that most people are raving about or if you don’t like any of those mass-produced ones from the supermarket. Making jam is an exciting experience, too; but first, what is jam?

What is jam?

Fruit preserves are more commonly known as jam. They are spreads made of either fruit or vegetable and sugar, then canned or put in sealed jars or containers for long-term storage. However, fruit preserves can also mean fruit jellies and marmalades – they are just different types of preserves, depending on the fruit used. 

Kinds of fruit preserves

There are different kinds of jams; check them below and see which one you prefer:

Chutney – This is a pungent kind of preserve made from fruit, combined with spices and herbs. It is of Indian Origin and it was supposed to be eaten immediately upon production.

Confit (French for ‘to preserve’) – With this type of preserve, fruits or vegetables are cooked with honey or sugar. Afterwards, they are preserved with the use of virgin olive oil.

Conserve or whole fruit jam – This is the type where fruit pieces are cooked in sugar. It is mostly prominent in Eastern Europe and in some areas of Asia.

Fruit butter – When making fruit butter, the fruit is heated and cooked until it turns into a paste. Usually, larger fruits such as peaches and apples are used to create this kind of jam.

Fruit curds – These are desserts that are usually made using citrus fruits like lemon, orange, and lime, although you can also use berries like raspberry. They are mixed with egg yolks, fruit juice, zest, and sugar and then cooked until it thickens.

Jelly – This is a translucent and firm spread made from fruit or vegetable juice. It is very easy to spread in bread because it is basically just the juice of the fruit and pectin.

Marmalade – This one is made from the juice and zest or peel of citrus fruits like orange, lemons, and grapefruit. This type of preserve is cooked in sugar and water. 

How do you make jam?

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If you want to make about a half pint of jam, you will need the following ingredients: about two and a half cups of the fruit of your choice (diced), a lemon, 1/4 cup sugar or more, and a pinch of salt.

You also need these kitchen tools: three metal spoons, a knife, a cutting board, measuring cups, a big pot, a large fork or a potato masher, wooden spoon or a spatula, and a half-pint jar with a lid or any jar that can be sealed.

Start making the jam by slicing the fruit in cubes; make sure to throw away any bruised sections, the pits, and cores. Afterwards, slice the lemon in half and put your spoons in the freezer. The frozen spoons will help you check the jam’s consistency later on.

In the pot, combine the fruit and sugar, together with a pinch of salt. Squeeze the juice out of the lemon and put the rind in the pot, along with the mixture. Set the stove’s temperature to medium and then mash the fruit using the potato masher until the texture of the mixture turns a bit chunky. Don’t mash the lemon though, because you’ll need to fish it out later.

Cook the fruit and bring it to a boil while stirring frequently. Once the mixture is boiling and the bubbles become smaller, check if it’s begun to set. Take one of the spoons from the freezer and put some jam on it. Wait for a few seconds and then touch it. If you run your finger through it and it leaves marks, then it’s set and ready; if not, continue cooking the jam and repeat the step with the spoon.

Don’t forget to check the sweetness when you cool the jam on the frozen spoon. Add more sugar or lemon if you want, just make sure to cook it for about a minute or two for the sugar to dissolve.

When you’re done, fish out the lemon rind and carefully spoon the jam into a jar. Let it cool, seal the jar, and label it; then store it in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Try your hand at making homemade jam! Who knows, you might end up liking it better than the mass produced ones available in the supermarket.

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