Jam refers to fruits or vegetables that have been prepared and canned for long term storage. The preparation of fruit preserves traditionally involves the use of pectin as a gelling agent, although sugar or honey may be used as well. There are various types of fruit preserves made globally, and they can be made from sweet or savory ingredients. Jam contains both fruit juice and pieces of the fruit's (or vegetable's) flesh,however some cookbooks define Jam as cooked and gelled fruit (or vegetable) purees. Properly, the term jam refers to a product made with whole fruit, cut into pieces or crushed. The fruit is heated with water and sugar to activate the pectin in the fruit. The mixture is then put into containers. It comes in myriad varieties. You can choose from the more conventional type like apple, orange, lemon, mango, strawberries, grapes, melon, apricot and peach or you can go for the more exotic types like blackberries, kiwis and passion fruit. Mixed varieties are also available.
Confit refers to fruit or vegetables which have been seasoned and cooked with honey or sugar until it has reached a jam-like consistency.Savory confits, such as ones made with garlic or tomatoes, may call for a savory oil such as virgin olive oil as the preserving agent
A Conserve is a jam made of fruit stewed in sugar. It also refers to whole fruit jam with chunks of fruit In the mix.
Fruit spread refers to a jam or preserve with no added sugar.
Uncooked or minimally cooked (less than 5 minutes) jams, called freezer jam, because they are stored frozen, are popular in parts of North America for their very fresh taste.
How to select
Berries and other small fruits are most frequently used, though larger fruits such as apricots, peaches, or plums cut into small pieces or crushed are also used for jams. Good jam has a soft even consistency without distinct pieces of fruit, a bright color, a good fruit flavor and a semi-jellied texture that is easy to spread but has no free liquid. It is better to opt for organic varieties with low organic sugar content. They also have the added benefit of containing no added preservatives or flavors- you get the original and natural taste.
· Jams are best uses as a spread on plain bread or a toast.
· Jams may be used in puddings, pies and even ice creams to impact a distinct fruit flavor.
How to store
Store jams in plastic or glass containers and keep in a cool dry place.
· Unlike butter and cheese, they do not contribute to the cholesterol and fat content of your body
· Pectin is a substance contained in all fruits. During the heating process of making jams, this substance gets modified. The modified pectin helps in reducing your chances of having cancer.
· Jams are rich in sugar and a good source of energy. Since they are high in calories, the weight loss seekers and diabetics should use jams sparingly.
High( above 70)