How You Can Tell Jelly From Jam (or Preserves)



Photo by: Jasmin Awad / EyeEm

Jasmin Awad / EyeEm

“It Must Be Jelly (‘Cause Jam Don’t Shake Like That)” — so goes the title of the old Glenn Miller song. But when it comes to fruit spreads, how can you really tell your jelly from your jam … or your preserves, for that matter?

It’s partly a matter of how much actual fruit is in them, according to But it also has to do with preparation and proportion.

Here’s the breakdown:



Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

Cranberry Jelly

Jelly: Jelly involves straining the solid parts out of crushed fruit, rendering it smooth, and then mixing the remaining fruit juice with sugar and pectin and heating and letting it set, turning gelatinous and quivery.



Photo by: Kang Kim

Jam: For jam, more of the solid chunks of fruit fiber and seeds are left in, making it thicker yet still spreadable. Watch the video below to see Joy the Baker make blackberry jam.



Photo by: Kang Kim

Preserves: Preserves retains more of the original fruit than the other two. These chopped pieces of fruit are combined with sugar, which helps preserve them, and then the fruit chunks are stored either in their own juices or in jam, syrup or jelly.

Now you know — feel free to spread it around. And if you want to do some canning of your own, here’s a step-by-step guide.

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Photo: Getty Images

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