The subtlety of the difference between jams and preserves is lost on many of us. While jam alludes to a mix of preserved mashed fruit and sugar, boiled together, mostly in equal proportions, the word preserves would mean the same thing, except for the fact that the fruit here may be cut whole or in chunks. While jam may have a finer texture to it, preserves may have a more chunky consistency. In jams, the pectin content of the fruit has an inexorable role to play; fruits with high protein have a higher pectin content that will help to set automatically when boiled, while the lower protein fruits may need an external infusion of pectin.
The idea of adding sweeteners to fruits for preserving their longevity seems to have its origins in the Middle East where natural sugar cane grew in abundance. The crusaders, returning from the Holy Wars, brought the preserves to Europe, from where it spread to the new world. The colonies started making them in the late 1700s, probably a century before the founding of the United States of America
Making Jams and Preserves
Follow some of the tips below to make jams and preserves at home.
Wash the fruits, and get rid of the cores and stems and peel fruits like peaches and pears, but not berries and cherries. Mash the fruits if you intend making jam, but use larger chunks for preserves.
Making in small quantities will facilitate easy cooking and ensure a better preservation of flavour and colour.
At home, add 3 cups of sugar to every 4 cups of fruit, and you will have a manageable batch. You can improvise with recipes.
Add one or 2 tablespoons of sugar to thicken the jam or preserve made from exceptionally sweet or ripe fruit
To avoid scorching, and to retain the taste while boiling the mixture of fruit and sugar, stir the mixture constantly for about 15-45 minutes
Your jam or preserve is ready to jar when a spoon of the concoction taken in the preparation holds its shape even after a minute.
The processing time recommended for hot packed jams in a half pint or full pint jar varies with your altitude; 5-10-15 minutes for corresponding altitudes of 0 to 1000 feet, 1000 to 6000feet and over 6000 feet above sea level.
Cover your jam or preserve with a piece of cloth over the jar and fasten it tightly with a round fabric that has a diameter in excess of 2 inches of the jar mouth.
Organic Jams and Preserves
Notwithstanding the delicious and healthy nature of any organic jam or preserve, most of these organic producers are unable to meet the exacting standards for sweetness set by the American Food and Drug Administration, and accordingly, circumvent the problem by re-christening the product as a conserve or spread, to preclude it from falling under the aegis of inspection. (476 w)
The Amazing Health Benefits of Jams and Preserves
Taste apart, did you know that eating delicious jams and preserves contributes in no small measure to positive, healthy and nutritious benefits to your mind and body? One main reason is that fruits have naturally low levels of calories, fat and sodium that are more than made up by their rich content of Vitamin C, dietary fibre, Potassium and folic acid.
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