In the Kitchen
It's jammin' season so I thought this might be a good time to say a few words about fruit preserves. First, a word about pectin because if you don't have pectin you can't make some fruit preserves. Pectin is a type of starch that occurs in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables to give them structure. Some fruits, such as apples, naturally have more pectin than other fruits. Commercial pectins are usually made from citrus rinds. When combined with sugar and acid (usually lemon juice), pectin is what makes jams and jellies develop a semisolid texture when they cool.
Now, on to the preserves. I think most people know the difference between a jelly and a jam. Jelly is made from juice so it is totally smooth and often clear or opaque. Jam is made from chopped up fruit so it has pieces of fruit in the spread. Preserves is made from whole fruit or larger chunks of fruit. Do you know about conserves and chutneys? Here is a handy chart from Cookery Nation showing all different types of fruit preserves:
Filling or topping for crepes, pancakes, and waffles
Topping for cakes and tartes
Top muffin batter with a dollop before baking
Create a glaze for pork or chicken
Add to homemade salad dressing (like a raspberry walnut dressing)
Add to yogurt (I like to buy plain yogurt and add fruit preserves for flavor)
Add to oatmeal
Add to BBQ sauce
Add to milkshakes, smoothies or tea
Use in cookie recipes (thumbprint cookies)
Top custard and ice cream
I only have a few more jams/jellies that I want to make for the rest of this year. I want to try a new Apple Mint Jelly recipe that came with the steamer juicer. Also, one of my ultimate favorite preserves is Pear Preserves and I am looking forward to making some of that as soon as the pears are ripe! Our apples are not doing so well this year. If I get enough, I will probably make some Apple Pie Jam too which is something I have made in the past.
One last note, something that I have not experimented with is making Lemon Curd. Lemon Curd involves 2 of my favorite things...eggs and preserves! I will be honest, I never even really heard of Lemon Curd until I started working in a French Bistro when the boys were toddlers. We would sometimes have a "tea" party and lemon curd was served with the pastries. Another fun item preserve to experiment with!
What is your favorite fruit preserves? How do you like to eat your preserves?