Glass jars lined up with beautiful jewel toned jams, jellies and preserves is an iconic symbol of preserving the fruits of summer. Food preservation is an important part of Southern heritage and a source of pride.
Jellies, jams and preserves are cooked with pectin-gelled fruit products, canned or sometimes frozen for later use. The difference in these varieties is primarily the texture. Jelly is made from juice and has a very smooth finished product. Jams are made with mashed up fruit and may have small bits of fruit with seeds. Preserves typically contain larger pieces of fruit. Selecting the right variety for you is a personal preference.
Blackberry jelly was the spread of choice in my home as a child. We picked wild blackberries and my mother would use them to make her famous blackberry cobblers and enough jelly to last all winter. It was bright purple and perfectly gelled.
Jams, jellies and preserves were also used as a source of sugar and fruit flavor in Southern desserts. The Jam Cake with caramel icing is a classic Southern holiday favorite. Jam filled bar cookies, thumbprint cookies and pies with jam are also favorites.
This Martha White® Almond Raspberry Bar recipe is among one of my favorites and could easily be made with any flavor of preserves.