Few foods are more versatile than fruit preserves. You can be traditional and spread them on your toast with butter. You can be youthful and add them to your sandwiches. You can be fun and spoon them onto your cookies or yogurt. And when you’re craving something savory, preserves make a delicious sauce for poultry, with a little spice and stock.
In fact, preserves are versatile enough to go by different names. People often ask: What’s the difference between jelly vs jam vs preserves? And what’s behind Frog Hollow Farm’s conserves?
Let’s start with the difference between jam and preserve. People use this term interchangeably, because they’re essentially the same thing. But if you want to geek out on the subject, here are the not-so-subtle differences:
- A preserve is whole fruit in a sugar syrup.
- Jam is 65 percent fruit. It’s thick and textured.
- Jelly is made from fruit juice and pectin. It’s completely smooth.
What’s a conserve?Chef Becky arrived at Frog Hollow Farm in summer 1995. As a pastry chef who made jam from scratch for customers at Oakland’s Oliveto, her mind raced when she saw all the fruit she had to work with here at the farm. She mostly worked with peaches at that time.
After a few years of trying new methods and recipes, she decided to call her fruit spreads “conserves.” A lot of canners think of conserves as a chunky mix of fruit and nuts, but for Chef Becky, a conserve just means bigger chunks of fruit. She left the peel on the fruit, which added pectin and body. And she kept the sugar at about 20 percent. Most jams and jellies on the market are about 50 percent sugar.
As the farm grew, and Farmer Al planted different stone fruit varieties, she had more fruit to play with and blend to create new flavors. (This is a canners dream, by the way.)
Today, Chef Becky and her team make stone fruit conserves all year long, not just during the spring and summer harvest. They freeze apricots, plums, pluots, peaches, and more when they come off the trees, and mix fresh batches throughout the year.
Everyone has their favorite Frog Hollow Farm conserve. Here are the top three:
- Organic Apricot Conserve wins the popularity contest. Fans have been known to skip the toast and eat this conserve right out of the jar.
- Organic Nectarine Plum is another favorite, a perfect balance between tart and sweet.
- Organic Peach Conserve is where it all started, and it’s delicious on toast, waffles, yogurt and more.