Food | Jam | Jam is a preserve made from whole fruit boiled to a pulp with sugar. Jam is a thick mixture of fruit, sugar (and sometimes pectin) that is cooked until the pieces of fruit are very soft and almost formless. It is used as a bread spread, a filling for pastries and cookies and an ingredient for various desserts.

Jam contains both fruit juice and pieces of the fruit's (or vegetable's) flesh, although 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. The following extract from a US cookbook describes the process.

"Jams are usually made from pulp and juice of one fruit, rather than a combination 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 semi-jellied texture that is easy to spread but has no free liquid." – Berolzheimer R (ed) et al. (1959)

Examples of jam are: strawberry jam (sweet,fruit) and peach blackberry jam (sweet, fruit). 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.

The term jam is usually interchangeable with preserves. The terms jam and jelly are used in different parts of the English-speaking world in different ways. In the United States, both jam and jelly are sometimes popularly referred to as "jelly", whereas in the United Kingdom, Canada, India and Australia, the two terms are more strictly differentiated. In Australia and South Africa, the term "jam" is more popularly used as a generic term for both jam and jelly.

Some cookbooks define preserves as cooked and gelled whole fruit (or vegetable), which includes a significant portion of the fruit.

To further confuse the issue, the term "jelly" is also used in the UK, South Africa, Australia, India and New Zealand to refer to a gelatin dessert, known in North America as jello, derived from the brand name Jell-O.

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