Preserving Basics

There are four key ingredients you’ll need for any and all sweet preserves.

Fruit: Use your best fruit.  As fruit becomes over-ripe, the level of pectin in it declines.

Pectin: A natural substance found in all fruit (and some veges) that causes preserves to set when combined with acid and sugar.  Some fruit, such as apples, contains lots of pectin; some very little.

Acid: This is what draws pectin from fruit.  Some fruit, like lemons, are naturally high in acid, so lemon juice is often added to preserving something non-acidic.

Sugar:  This is what keeps the fruit from spoiling, or preserves it.  To be a true jam, a preserve must contain 60 per cent or more of sugar. Anything less, and its a compote or fruit spread.


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