A Preserving Lexicon

The world of preserving can be a bit confusing at first if you aren’t familiar with all the categories, from jams, fruit butters, and conserves to jellies, chutneys, and pickles. Here are some definitions that let you know what you’re in for before getting up to your elbows in marmalades or preserves.For Preserving LexiconJAM: Jam is made from crushed or finely chopped fruit, which is cooked with sugar (and sometimes a little added pectin) until thickened. Jams traditionally contain more sugar than fruit by weight, but we prefer ours less sweet. Check out our recipes for Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam and Blueberry-Earl Grey Jam.)For Preserving LexiconJELLY: Unlike preserves and jam, jelly contains no fruit bits; it almost always requires additional pectin to set up properly.For Preserving LexiconFRUIT PRESERVES: Fruit preserves are whole pieces or large chunks of fruit suspended in jelly or very thick syrup. They tend to be less sweet than jams or jellies.For Preserving LexiconMARMALADE: Marmalade is most commonly made with citrus fruit. It almost always contains pieces of rind, which gives it a unique texture and also a faint bitterness.For Preserving LexiconCONSERVE: A conserve is a thick, chunky cooked condiment that usually contains nuts and dried fruits like raisins or apricots. Conserves can be sweet or savory and can be served with cheese, roasted meat, and desserts.For Preserving LexiconCHUTNEY: Besides fruit, vinegar is the key ingredient in fruit chutney. Spices and a touch of heat add complexity. Chutneys are most commonly served as a condiment.For Preserving LexiconFRUIT BUTTER: Deeply flavored fruit butter requires a long cooking time to achieve a thick consistency. Apples and pears make popular fruit butters; their sweetness is complemented by spices, and sometimes fruit juice or alcohol.For Preserving LexiconVINEGAR PICKLES: A relatively simple process of cooking in a salty-sweet vinegar brine transforms everyday vegetables into tangy, crunchy pickles. All kinds of vegetables can be used, not just cucumbers. Check out our recipe for Sweet Zucchini Pickle Chips.For Preserving LexiconRELISH: Relish can be sweet or savory and made of cooked, pickled, or raw ingredients. All of the relishes in Foolproof Preserving happen to be made from vegetables.For Preserving LexiconFRUIT IN SYRUP: Pieces of fruit, from bite-size to whole, are preserved in a syrup made of water and sugar. Whole spices are sometimes added for flavoring.For Preserving LexiconMOSTARDA: This sweet-savory Italian condiment features candied fruits preserved in a mustardy syrup: Mustard powder and seeds are both used.For Preserving LexiconFERMENTED PICKLES: Fermented fruits and vegetables have unique and complex flavor profiles. Often salted or submerged in a salty brine, they are left to sit for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Check out our recipe for Kimchi.