Jelly, Jam, Marmalade...What's the difference?

Jun 07, 2016
Jelly, Jam, Marmalade...What’s the difference?

Your toast is hot and ready -- but what do you reach for? Jelly, jam, marmalade? We know they all contain fruit and are delicious bread toppers, but what is the real difference?

Our own Chef Eddy Van Damme admits it can be a little confusing. Here's how he breaks jelly, jam, marmalade down:

Jam - a fruit gel made using sugar and fruit pulp. Pulp in the jam versus juice in the jelly makes the jam less stiff.

Jelly - made using sugar and fruit juice. Jelly tends to have a pretty even consistency.

Marmalade - a citrus jelly made with sugar, citrus juice and citrus peel slices. Its consistency is less uniform and more chunky than jam.

Until the nineteenth century, the process of preserving foods was a home-based operation. Today, millions of people make their own jellies, jams and marmalades in their homes and you can, too. It's not that difficult and we have many recipes for each on our website for you to choose from. We selected one of each to feature here to get you started.

Top Canning Tips

  • Do not use overripe fruit.
  • Use standard, sterile mason jars to avoid breakage.
  • Leave headspace (amount differs per recipe) in the jar before processing to allow for swelling.
  • Heat process (either water bath or pressure canning - depending on the recipe) all canned items that will be stored on a shelf.

Blueberry FOG Jam

Blueberry FOG Jam - Mix unlikely flavors together for an ultimate and easy-to-make sweet treat. With just five minutes of preparation and 30 minutes cooking time, you'll produce six half pints of jam. After filling each jar with the mixture, you process the jam in a water bath canner for 12 minutes.

apricot jalapeno jelly

Apricot Jalapeno Jelly - With its beautiful golden color spiked with bits of red and green, Apricot Jalapeno Jelly makes a festive gift. This recipe yields 6 half-pint jars. The trick is to fill hot, sterile jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace before processing them for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner*.

orange marmalade

Orange Marmalade - While this recipe only takes 25 minutes to prepare, the hour of cooking time takes place over three days. Between time, the mixture cools in the refrigerator. This ensures you get a marmalade with low bitterness and a tender orange peel.

*What is a water bath canner?

It is a large pot used to can acidic foods that holds at least seven quart jars under one to two inches of water. They usually have a rack with handles so taking the jars in and out of the boiling water is safe and easy. They are often made out of aluminum or porcelain-covered steel and you can buy them online.

What's your favorite? Jelly, jam, marmalade?