Talk:Fruit preserves/Jam

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The article (as of 2005-07-03) says:

In the European Union, the jam directive (Council Directive 79/693/EEC, 24 July 1979) set minimum standards for the amount of "fruit" in jam, but the definition of fruit was expanded to take account of several unusual kinds of jam made in the EU. For this purpose, "fruit" is considered to include many things that are not ordinarily classified as fruits: "tomatoes, the edible parts of rhubarb stalks, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and water-melons".

Most of these (tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons and water-melons) are classified as fruit. — Yama 2 July 2005 17:54 (UTC)


Should information about Joan Miró's use of jam and the Seltsam poll be sub-headlined under Trivia? I'll leave them where they are for now.


In the United States, jam which has been filtered to remove pulp and make it clear is called jelly.

Is there evidence for this statement? As far as I can discover the fruit is boiled first to remove the juice, and that juice is used with sugar to make the jelly. One does not make jam first and attempt to filter it; that won't work. Eclecticology 08:18, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Eclecticology - how about substituting "A fruit spread" for "jam" in the above statement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18 September, 2006

I'm sorry, but 'the jam Directive'? Can that be changed to something less.. rediculous. My wife and I make jelly by taking the hot mashed fruit-water-sugar mix and using a spoon to press it through a metal sive to break the hot, soft fruit bits up as tiny as possible, and then filtering the result through multiple layers of "cheesecloth". The resultant liquid is transparent and (if your pectin ratio is right) sets up into jelly that looks like gems or "Jello". My mother uses a blender on the fruit before the cheesecloth, but her product winds up with too many microscopic bits going through the cloth so her jelly is more translucent and not transparent. Admittedly we do not actually make Jam first, as the fruit mix is not reduced down, but simply heated to soften the fruit for mashing. My wife mentions that I should add that there is a final cooking and reduction of the filtered jelly before putting it into jars. Thomas Harris - San Francisco

It should also be noted that the term 'jelly' is sometimes used in the UK for jams without seeds or fruit pulp, in particular seedless bramble jelly. I've amended to reflect this. Holgate 00:50, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Quince jelly is another that springs to mind. Halften 07:00, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Is there any evidence that in the UK and commonwealth that the term filtered jelly is used - in my experience all these preserves are called jelly - bramble jelly, quince jelly, redcurrant jelly, crab apple jelly etc following the same rules as in North America. I believe the difference between the UK and North America is in the use of the terms Jello (US) and Jelly (UK) to describe fruit set with gelatin rather than pectin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18 September, 2006

"Formal" dispute: British use of the word "jelly"[edit]

As someone who lives in the UK, I have a problem with this part:

In United Kingdom and most Commonwealth countries, there are filtered and unfiltered jams, with the former resembling what Americans and Canadians call "jelly". In the UK, by contrast, the word "jelly" is usually reserved for a sweetened gelatine dessert. (An exception is bramble jelly, a seedless blackberry jam.)

It's correct that we call the dessert "jelly", but the assertion that the word "jelly" is not used in a jam-style context is very questionable.

As anonymous user says above, there is "bramble jelly, quince jelly, redcurrant jelly, crab apple jelly". I have *never* heard the expression "filtered jelly"; perhaps this was only meant as a description, not the name used. I have also heard the word "jelly" used often in this way, and am probably on safe ground when saying that this meaning *is* common in the UK.

The question is whether proper UK use of "jelly" includes "filtered jams". I'm aware that (e.g.) Crab Apple jelly isn't filtered apple jam, but made using juices extracted from apple pulp beforehand. This would be what the article calls "proper North American jelly".

I also remember some Fruit Jam that was obviously filtered jam (no fruit bits, but didn't have the clarity of "true" jelly either). Notably, this was *not* sold as jelly.

Fourohfour 11:57, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Jelly is a slang term originating from the use of gelatin. Check the Oxford English dictionary for the primary definition of the word. 13:25, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Thinking about it, I use the following classification:

  • Jam - any fruit preserve (i.e. boiled with sugar and usu. pectin to produce a semi-solid substance), used usually for spreading or with desserts, rarely with savoury foods
    • Seedless Jam - jam of seeded fruit but with the seeds taken out
    • Marmalade - jam (usually of citrus fruit) with fruit peel left in
    • Conserve - a special type of jam that has e.g. nuts or herbs in it (rare)
  • Jelly - either:
    • gelatine desert of any flavour/colour (green/lime jelly, red jelly, milk jelly)
    • a jam whose intended use is as a condiment for savoury dishes (mint jelly, redcurrant jelly, cranberry jelly)

The above seems to be commonly agreed upon (among my local middle-class northerners, at least), so I may update the section with it if no-one objects.

James Bedford 09:57, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I do object; for the exact same reason that I didn't want to put my definition in.
Even if it's correct that your definition is commonly agreed upon among your "local middle-class northerner" peers, it says and/or proves nothing about how widespread or consistent the usage is across the UK. For a similar examples, members of my family born in London refer to what I'd call "syrup" or "golden syrup" as "treacle"; I consider treacle to be "black treacle". This is the sort of reason why we need reputable references.
I also notice that the tag was removed by someone else; yet the text in question had not been changed, let alone resolved the problems. I put it back. Fourohfour 15:41, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Just a note for anyone who wants to amend the reference eventually with proper reference, jelly is almost always referring to the dessert over here in Australia ie: what Americans call Jell-o.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

Pretty much all bread spreads are jam or conserves, I call pretty much call all fruit based bread spreads jam, no matter what the texture is, unless it's marmalade, which is the same as previously mentioned above ie: citrus.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

I took the tag out after what I though was a fix for the section. There is no dispute here. The terms Jelly and Jam are used in different ways in different places. All we need do is respect that fact

You said that before; no-one is disrespecting this(!)

and write the section to point this out. We do not need references in this case,

Not if all you're doing is noting that "jelly" has different uses in different places. You do need references if you make assertions as to what those particular uses are, however.

the amount of conjecture on this point is proof enough that the terms are used differently in different places. In fact it would be an impossible task to find any authoritative source for such, and would be a folly looking.

I disagree; it might be possible to find a reputable source that covers general trends in usage, which is about as good as anyone can reasonably expect anyway.

In Australia "jam" almost exclusively refers to spreadable conserves of all kinds, mostly fruit based. But there also exist such spreads that are called "something jelly". The term "jelly" almost exclusively refers to set gelatin deserts, but again there are minor exceptions to this, for example meat can be set in a "savory jelly". In the US and Candada the set desert is referred to by it's generic commercial name "Jell-o" in a similar way "Hoover" has been used in the UK to refer to vacuum cleaners generically. So I call on Fourohfour and others in the UK to clearly explain the use of the term "jelly" in their experience, So we can be inclusive on this point. --Monotonehell 11:36, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Are you suggesting we research by putting our own patchy knowledge together?
Regarding this edit; it seems to imply that the use of "jelly" for jam-style spreads is a minor exception. I disagree, I'd say that "jelly" (meaning "jam", not "jell-o") is quite widespread, and "in some regions" implicitly says that the use of the expression is localised.
There is no problem in not being specific if we don't have enough specific information. We could say "sometimes referred to".
The basic problem here is that neither of us know whether the differences are regional, and how they vary across the UK. There's no point trying to pretend otherwise.
Regarding the tag, I'd appreciate it if you left it in for now. Thanks. Fourohfour 16:45, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting "original research" as such, I'm saying that as long as we acknowledge that the regional differences exist, that some people refer to some fruit-based spreadable conserves as jelly, that the article is sufficiently non-ambiguous and that the article is rewritten to reflect all this then there is no dispute. If we're unsure of the coverage of the terms, then lets say just that. As I said above there is no authority that we can cite to prove who uses what term and where. So therefore there is no point putting up a dispute over something that can never be resolved. Let's just reword the article to reflect the points of view that have been expressed and leave it at that. --Monotonehell 09:12, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Okay I've reworded the article to my above specifications. If someone else would care to adjust the part on the UK in the section Conserves, Jelly and jam as I'm not entirely sure of the situation there. --Monotonehell 10:12, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
I've done my best there, hopefully it's vaguely useful and non-enraging. Feel free to change it if you want to nitpick, I don't mind. :) Lottiotta 23:50, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Valiant effort but you've just come full circle and made the section the same as what caused the dispute in the first place. I've tried again to include all points of view. --Monotonehell 12:16, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't know whose "rule of thumb" that part refers to. I'm still not entirely happy with the rest, and we probably need better sources that reflect some of the common usage in their area of publication, but it's acceptable for now. Fourohfour 15:00, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Very well, have it your way. Until we can find sources for any of these claims we'll make none. Please do attempt to find an authority that speaks for all regions and groups. --Monotonehell 15:10, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh, okay then. I said quite clearly that the previous version was acceptable, so I reverted to that.
It's certainly preferable to throwing a strop and removing the whole lot; please don't suggest that this was "my way" when it was no such thing. That was your choice, not mine. Fourohfour 16:34, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and one other thing. Don't put words in my mouth; I didn't ask for (nor expect) "an authority that speaks for all regions and groups". I wanted a broadly reputable source indicating general usage, nothing more. Fourohfour 16:43, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

(undent) Sorry I misread what you said. Lol I was about to ask if you'd prefer to change the dispute to a call for citations as it seems to be what really is needed here. My recent edits have been an attempt to remove the use of the ambiguous words from the bulk of the article and to speak to the usage of the words in one concentrated section. It's an attempt to "internationalise" the article so it speaks for all and not for whatever local dialect edited it last. I though if we can use generic terms through out the article, let people know about the ambiguous terms near the top and then talk about the variations at the bottom then it will be the basis of a much better article. I'm sure there's a tweak for the disputed section that wont even need a reference in order to pullthe whole thing together. --Monotonehell 17:27, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

(edit break)[edit]

Well actually, now in your to-ing and fro-ing you've completely lost the information that the disambiguation section needs. That is; what most Northern Americans call jelly.

The terms conserves, jelly and jam are used in different parts of the world in different ways. A general rule of thumb is that a jelly contains little or no fruit pulp or seed, while a jam or conserve makes use of the whole fruit.

This bit is questionable, yes. But I only placed that as a starting point to highlight the differences in different regions.

In the United States and Canada, jams are invariably made from mashed or ground fresh fruits (or in the case of vegetable jams, from cooked vegetables), and are never filtered.

Now this part completely misrepresents the US.

I didn't write that. I put it back because as far as I was aware the reason for editing and removal of material was dispute over the British meaning. Thus it wasn't clear why it had been removed. Fourohfour 14:52, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

The facts there are: They call most of these conserves "jelly". They have both the the kind of spread made with fruit juice and little or no pulp, which they call jelly. Jelly is the popular name for such things and gets used as a generic name for both their idea of jelly as well those products that contain fruit pulp.

This is they key thrust of this section. The confusion generated between the popular US use of the word "jelly" and the popular use of the same word in Australia and (I thought) the UK to mean a gelatin desert or meat dish. This is what a lot of readers coming here will probably want to know. See below on this talk page.

In the United Kingdom and most Commonwealth countries, there exist filtered and unfiltered jams.

Well okay but this does not speak to the topic of this section.

Again, I didn't write that, in fact it was this sentence that I first questioned (above). I merely put it back because all the removals/additions since then had obfuscated the original problem without clearing it up. Fourohfour 14:52, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

We are discussing the three terms here and trying to inform the reader about the confusion that occurs.

In the UK, the word "jelly" is sometimes used to describe certain jams. Examples include bramble jelly (a seedless blackberry jam), and crabapple jelly.[1] (However, there the word "jelly" is most commonly associated with a sweetened gelatine dessert, broadly equivalent to the American Jell-O).

The link you've provided here shows the US derivation of the term jelly which comes from the English/Scottish use. They use it in the same context as this recipe where the juice of the fruit is used minus the pulp to make a product. I draw your attention to the leader of that article...

"There's free food on offer all over the place right now, and what better to do with crab apples and rowan than turn them into jam and pile on top of a homemade scone?"

Further into the article:

"Some people think that making jams, jellies and cordials is scary cooking..."

In the same article they've referred to both jellies and jams. This leads me back to my original understanding (which is the same in Australia) that both terms jelly and jam are used to refer to spreads. The term jelly in this context is usually used to refer to the filtered kinds. But the term jelly more popularly used to refer to the gelatin desert.

Yes, but this brings us back to the original issue I raised. What is a "filtered jam"? The article asserted things about the UK usage, but I had never heard the expression.
Now, from what I know "jelly" (or at least some jellies) are made from the fruit juice; that is, the juice is extracted first. I've also seen products sold as "jam" which don't contain pulp, but are cloudy. My guess is that the pulp was filtered out of these *after* the jam was made. I might be wrong, but the expression "filtered jam" implies that the jam itself was filtered. Fourohfour 14:52, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

So where does this leave us? What I believe this section (Conserves, Jelly and jam) should do is simply point out the reason for people's confusion without getting too technical. The technical details can be discussed at length in the Variations section. This gives the article a context to all comers. If they be Northern American who have no idea that Jelly isn't the popular term elsewhere then they are informed that, yes, people in Australia don't really use that term all that much (with some notable exceptions) or if they happen to be Australian and think that North Americans are crazy for having peanut butter (paste? lol) on their sandwiches with a gelatin desert then they will be informed.

We need to focus on the reader's needs here. Getting into a crap fight over a definition which is movable isn't helping them understand. Making note of the differences is. --Monotonehell 20:42, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

The first and foremost reponsibility to the "reader's needs" is not to mislead. I have no problem with incomplete information, so long as this is made clear and we avoid misleading by over-interpreting, which I believe we are in danger of doing. Fourohfour 14:52, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Have a look at what our friends over at have pieced together from various dictionaries...

They too think that the UK's term for gelatin deserts is jelly.

I don't think there's any dispute that the most common meaning of "jelly" in the UK *is* the gelatin dessert. However, contrary to what the article originally said, I believe that the jam-related meaning is also in reasonably common use. Fourohfour 14:52, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Weebl Thinks the same. Now there's an authority ;)
  • several random uk recipies for jelly (one Scottish) all call for a jelly bag to strain out the pulp. Might I add that these were intermixed with recpies for Jelly as gelatin deserts.
Of course. As I said, the gelatin dessert meaning is probably more common, so it's not surprising that they turned up. The problem (as I originally brought it up) related to what was considered a (jam-style) jelly in the UK. Fourohfour 14:52, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

google search that lead there --Monotonehell 20:46, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

I think we're starting to have trouble seeing the woods from the trees here.
The gelatin dessert meaning is irrelevant, since we agree that it's the most common meaning in the UK, and my original question didn't relate to it.
The issues were (i) Was the original wording misleading when it implied that the jam-related (i.e. non-dessert) usage of jelly is rare in the UK? I believe yes. (ii) What is the difference between "filtered" and "unfiltered" jam? (iii) In UK usage, can any non-pulpy jam be considered "jelly", or is it only jams made from juice?
I think we need a fresh pair of eyes on this issue. Fourohfour 14:52, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

LOL well if that's your only concern that's easily cleared up. The act of filtering jam to make jelly is putting the hot product through a "jelly bag" or sieve (as referenced to in all the recipes above). Most clear "Jellies" are made with a jelly bag. Where as slightly pulpy jellies (eg cranberry) are made with a sieve. Pectin is best extracted from the fruit by heat, so one boils the fruit strains it by use of a jelly bag or sieve then adds sugar, cooks more and possibly strains or filters again before putting into containers.

So what you've effectively done is put back in the phrase that set you off in the first place? --Monotonehell 10:13, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

*Rolls eyes and sighs*.
Yes, I already explained why above:
Again, I didn't write that, in fact it was this sentence that I first questioned (above). I merely put it back because all the removals/additions since then had obfuscated the original problem without clearing it up. Fourohfour 14:52, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
In short, much of the changes since then had obfuscated the problem without fixing it. Made more sense to go back to the original and use that as the basis for problem-fixing.
Fourohfour 16:43, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

References of sorts[edit]

Okay I've dug into the library for some ancient sources. One from the US and one a UK/Australia joint production.

Berolzheimer R(ed) et al, 1959, Culinary arts institute encyclopedic cookbook (revised), Culinary arts institute, Chicago USA.

On "Jellies" (pp826-829)

"Good jelly is clear and sparkling and has a fresh flavor of the fruit from which it is made. It is tender enough to quiver when moved, but holds angles when cut.
EXTRACTING JUICE - Pectin is best extracted from the fruit by heat, therefore cook the fruit until soft before straining to obtain the juice ... Pour cooked fruit into a jelly bag which has been wrung out of cold water. Hang up and let drain. When dripping has ceased the gab may be squeezed to remove remaining juice, but this may cause cloudy jelly."
It goes on to explain that after that it may be necessary to test for natural pectin before starting the reduction process by boiling the resultant juice, adding sugar (additional pectin if needed) and putting into containers.

On "Butters" (pg830)

"Fruit butters are generally made from larger fruits, such as apples, plums peaches or grapes. Cook until softened and run through a sieve to give a smooth consistency. After sieving, cook the pulp...add sugar and cook as rapidly as possible with constant stirring... The finished product should mound up when dropped from a spoon, but should not cut like jelly. Neither should there be any free liquid."

On Jams (pp831-832)

"Jams are usually made from pulp and juice of one fruit, rather than a combinations of several fruits. 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 semijellied texture that is easy to spread but has no free liquid."
It goes on to describe a similar process to jelly making minus the filtering.

Howard L & Patten M (eds), 1960, The Australian Women's Weekly - Cookery in colour, Paul Hamlin LTD, London UK

On Jams (sections956-971)

"Simmer the fruit very gently to extract the pectin and soften the skin or peel. When once the fruit is soft and the sugar is added boil rapidly.
It goes on to explain the steps of testing for pectin content and placing into containers. This book makes no distinction between jams and jellies but has a section on jelly recipes all call the use of a jelly bag to filter the initial hot fruit mixture as per the US instructions above. (eg Apple jelly, Blackberry or Bramble jelly, Medlar jelly (apple and lemon) and Redcurrant jelly)

All the Scottish and English sources I've seen have the same procedures and terminology as the my Australian experience with jam making.

--Monotonehell 11:03, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Those look okay, then. Can you please include the references when you include them in the article. Thanks. Fourohfour 16:45, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Changes look reasonable to me since they're referenced. Thanks, Fourohfour 12:36, 24 January 2007 (UTC)


I removed "Seltsam" since: 1) A link to a web log does not constitute a reference 2) "Seltsam" is the German word for Dr. Strangelove 3) 15 Dec 2005 is about the time of bad PR about Wikipedia. If someone can provide a VERIFIABLE reference I will appologize and personally re-enter the paragraph.


Are jams the only types of preserves? What about certain chutneys, etc Dessydes 16:12, 7 May 2006 (UTC)


The link Preserve has changed. Please revise your page accordingly.

"What is the difference?"[edit]

What is the Difference of Jelly and Jam? They both taste the same. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 4 June, 2006

Watermelon not commonly used in jam?[edit]

This may be true in the UK but i'm not sure about the rest of Europe. Water melon certainly is commonly used to make jam in South Africa, where it usually goes under the Afrikaans name waatlemoenkonfyt(watermelon jam). Booshank 23:07, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

It's debatable whether "usually" qualifies it enough, but I removed melons as an example anyway. Fourohfour 13:35, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Wasp jelly[edit]

I've been dubious about this claim since it was inserted. But I finally went into my State Library to find the book mentioned. It's a lovely old-school cloth bound tome and quite fat. But no where does it talk about wasps making jelly. Or making jelly from wasp products. The page referenced (pg42) talks about Nesting and nest construction. It specifically talks about how "renter" wasps patch old burrows and sometimes excavate them further. Nothing about jelly production. Next I examined the rest of that chapter. Nothing about jelly. Next I checked the contents, every chapter is about wasps, nothing about what people do with them. I also checked the index and the list of cited works to no avail. - I'm going to call this a fraud. I've removed it. (nb page 42) --Monotonehell 08:07, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Fair enough. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).
What does that mean? That you accept that the information you put in was a fraud? Fourohfour 19:40, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
On second thoughts, don't waste your time (or rather, don't waste mine, I'm not bothered about yours). I checked your contributions, and it's clear that you're a hoaxer/vandal. Fourohfour 19:43, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Fool, I will attempt to defend my claims then shall I? I usually don't bother because of your collective ignorance. Wasp jam is made in some parts of the Orient. I cited the wrong book, or rather my friend did. I have tasted it myself! But alas, full time wikipedians spend too much time in front of a screen or library book, as is the case of the jam's persecutor to fully experience the world and its perculiarities. I will not attempt to put this wasp jam back as I tire of your nagging.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Reickard (talkcontribs) 17:02, 6 February 2007

Bees make honey, wasps make jam. I think ants make peanut butter. --Krsont 16:00, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

  1. ^ Use of "jelly" in this context by British chef/TV presenter, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; "Jammy Dodges", The Guardian via Guardian Unlimited website. Article dated 2006-10-21, retrieved 2007-01-17.