Chemistry of Jelled Fruit Preserves

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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All conserves are variations on a theme of cooked, set fruit preserves made with fruit and sugar. Although the specific techniques for making each one vary slightly, all depend on certain basic qualities of the core ingredients and how they interact under the application of heat. Every conserve relies on sugar for its preservation qualities and on pectin (or other jelling agents like carrageen or agar) for its jelling action; acid balance is required for both set and good flavor.