Jam or Jelly ... What's the Difference

Ok… Embarrassment 101

I’ve seen references to making jam and making jelly. So what is the actual difference between them? And why would you sometimes make jelly and sometimes jam from the same fruit?.

I never gave these terms much thought until now that i may have the need to know the difference.

You know, its like words you always use, sometimes interchangeably, but if someone asks you for the definition you start with “… it is like…” because you don’t really know the dictionary definition.


In my area Jelly is made from the juice only. Jam has all the berry and looks all mashed up.

Or part. I remove seeds in my jam. Jelly is clear and no pulp, just juice. You use a jelly bag, cheese cloth and I guess even a pillow sack to filter pulp, seeds, and skins out of jellies. Preserves are whole berries, or at least you start with whole berries. I like to make preserves with strawberries. So jam can be chunky or smooth, preserves are always chunky, and jelly is clear and smooth.

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reserves have spices, conserves have nuts and spices

I normally always prefer jams and preserves with the exception of Elderberry. That’s definately jelly only.

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I have not made any yet as my plants are young. What is the objection to jam?

Drew- elderberry jam may or may not be popular. I have no idea. I grew up eating a lot of Elderberry jelly. It was dark and clear. My mother and my grandmother made it every summer. Thinking of the size and texture of Elderberry I can’t imagine it being good as jam. Those little skins would have a poor texture in my opinion. But again that’s only my opinion.

Anyone ever make elderberry jam or preserves?

Conserves can be made without spices and nuts. Conserves are like preserves but the fruit is in a thinner sauce that ie, you can pour over ice cream.

I had elderberry jam once, It was the best jam I have ever had.

I see numerous jam recipes. I will run it through the food mill, so if skins thick they will not pass and remain with the seeds. I just don’t like making jelly, it takes hours to filter. I am going to make some white currant jelly if I ever have enough whites? My plants are young.

I call that a Coulis :wink:

A coulis does not have whole fruit it in. It is a puree. I write cookbooks.

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and I cook, and if my mother had wheels she’d be a trolley car.

One thing I’ve learned being in the kitchen is that anything can be anything. I do believe coulis should have no sizable solids, but your earlier description of conserves * the fruit is in a thinner sauce that ie, you can pour over ice cream* screams coulis to me, semantics I guess.

We will now require some of your best recipes for the using fruit forum :yum:

You can now buy my book ‘A Garden of Recipes’ on ebay! The recipes are great, and I know you’ll like them.

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Are there pictures of some of your recipes posted somewhere? I’m intrigued.

Looks like there is 2 different books on there with the same title…which is your’s mrs.g? Gibson?

Percentage of fruit, Jelly the least, then Jam and the highest % Preserve

No, sorry only in two books, 'A Botanical Touch, Viking Penguin, and ‘A Garden of Recipes’ William Morrow Hearst Books.

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At least with the wild elderberries I have picked, it’s almost impossible to remove even the majority of the tiny little stems. Jelly would bypass this problem. I run the berries through a food mill which removes most of the seeds too and then follow a jam recipe. It’s not technically jam since it’s​ smooth. But so tasty.