Fruit Preserves

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

fruit preserves are an attempt to capture the magic of seasonal fruit and hold it in suspension for the months (or even years) to come. Sugar is the ingredient that offers the prospect of long keeping, and it is generally concentrated at around 60 percent in the jams, jellies, conserves, and syrup suspensions that make up the core members of this family. Shorter-keeping fruit preserves like compotes and curds may be less sweet. Almost all fruit preserves are cooked to a greater or lesser degree, both to kill microorganisms that might cause spoilage and to evaporate the right amount of water, depending on the texture and level of set desired. Uncooked fruit preserves keep for short periods of up to a week or depend on the presence of alcohol to preserve the fruit.