Take a bite out of a delicious slice of marmalade on toast in the morning, dip a croissant into a fruity preserve or simply stir a dollop of jam into your muesli. Many different terms are used to describe these spreadable, fruit-based products, for example jam, marmalade, jelly, fruit spread or fruit preserve. But why are there so many names? And where are the differences? Find out about this, and more, in our product background information.
The rules for naming the products are laid out in detail by the EU. The Jam Directive defines what the individual types of products can - or cannot - contain and how the natural ingredients are to be processed. Jam, jelly, marmalade et al generally consist of the same ingredients - fruit, sugar and/or sugar types, edible acid (e.g. citric acid) and pectin (a natural binder). Only vanilla, spirits, herbs and spices are permitted as flavourings.
The German name “Konfitüre” (preserve) comes from the Latin “Conficerem” (confection). Preserve is made from one or more types of fruit. To make things a little more confusing, the directive also differentiates between “preserve” and “extra preserve”. In EXTRA preserve, the proportion of fruit must be at least 45 %, while for regular preserve, the figure is 35 %. There are exceptions for certain fruits such as rosehip, redcurrant, blackcurrant, sea buckthorn and quince. Because these are so intense, a fruit content of 35 % suffices for these to qualify as EXTRA preserve. The minimum fruit content therefore determines whether a product is labelled “preserve” or “extra preserve”.
According to the German Jam Directive, the total sugar content must be more than 55 g per 100 g in an extra preserve. The total sugar content is made up of the added sweetener (sugar, glucose etc.) and the fruit sugar.
Jelly is made not from whole fruits but from fruit juice or fruit juice concentrate. A product can only be called an “extra jelly” if it contains at least 45 % fruit juice. A regular jelly contains 35 %. Here, too, there are exceptions e.g. for redcurrant/blackcurrant, rosehip and quince, where the figures for minimum fruit juice content in an extra jelly and regular jelly are 35% and 25%, respectively.
The word jelly comes from the Latin "gelare" and means "to freeze” or “to set”. The fruit juice is thickened to a jelly-like substance.
There are also rules governing the total sugar content for jelly. According to the German Jam Directive, the total sugar content must be more than 55 g per 100 g in jelly. The total sugar content is made up of the added sweetener (sugar, glucose etc.) and the fruit sugar.
In Germany, the term “Marmelade” is used to refer to almost all sweet spreads, but most of these are in fact jams and not marmalades. According to the EU definition, marmalade only refers to those spreads made of citrus fruits (e.g. orange, lemon, grapefruit), e.g. orange marmalade. A marmalade must contain at least 20 % citrus fruit, of which at least 7.5 % must be the flesh of the fruit, or “endocarp”. However, the German term “Marmelade” can still be used for privately-preserved fruits.
A fruit spread is a sweet spread made of cooked fruits that does not fall into one of the aforementioned categories or is not covered by the Jam Directive. In contrast to jam, jelly and marmalade, the quantities of sugar and fruit used in fruit spreads are not prescribed by law. Fruit spreads frequently have a higher fruit content and lower sugar content.