This morning, at the family breakfast table, I was reminiscing about my childhood and how there always seemed to be a jar of orange marmalade in the house in which I grew up. This brought up the question of “how is marmalade different from jam or jelly? For that matter, how is jam different from jelly? What about preserves?”

To most easily determine how these fruit concoctions differ, it is constructive to first know exactly what defines each type of fruit spread. While dictionary definitions can be useful and sufficient, we found a decent explanation of the differences between these substances over at

While process plays an important role in defining each spread, the focus of this article is on the what, rather than the how, so to summarize what defines each type of spread, in the list below, we will focus on the ingredients:

  • Jam – fruit, pectin, sugar
  • Jelly – sugar, pectin, acid, fruit juice
  • Marmalade – citrus peel and pulp (no pectin)

What about preserves?

  • Preserves – pieces of fruit in jelly

Certainly, there are other different types of similar spreads and fillings, some even mentioned in the article over at With a brief review of this short article, we expanded our knowledge of some of the most popular of these sweet substances in just a couple of minutes.