Fruits are preserved in a number of ways in different forms. Making jelly or jam out of wild fruits is one way of preserving the fruit and enjoying it year round. These foods can provide you with sweeteners for desserts and additions to other dishes. The process is simple and can be done with little effort or expense.
Some wild fruits have more pectin than others and can be made into jelly without adding extra pectin. Wild grapes, for instance, contain natural pectin, especially in the unripe state and will jell without commercial pectin. Other fruits high in pectin include barberry, blackberry, cranberry, currants, and plums.
Pawpaw, persimmon, sumac, blueberry, and elderberry are among those that are low in pectin. Combine fruits that are high in pectin with those that aren't to ensure that they will jell. Liquid pectin can be made from some fruits such as crabapples or hawthorns.
Jelly is made from fruit juice that is generally extracted from the fruit through a cooking process and strained through a sieve or foley food mill to remove the seeds. Jelly is clear and firm, holding its shape when removed from the jar. Wild cherry, wild plum, black gum, blackberry, passionfruit, and mayapple are among those fruits used to make jelly.
Jam is made by crushing or grinding the fruit and mixing it with sugar. Cooking it will cause the mixture to thicken and gel, depending on the fruits and the amount of natural pectin in them. Blueberries, elderberries, and strawberries are examples of fruits used to make jams.
Preserves are made with large chunks of fruit immersed in a syrup. Sometimes they are cooked, but the process can also be done with raw fruits and requires no cooking. The syrup can be made with honey, sugar, maple syrup, or agave nectar sprinkled or dribbled over the fruit and letting it stand for a period of time. It can also be made with hot water and sugar or honey poured over the fruit.
Honey or maple syrup is sometimes used as a sweetener when making preserves. This will often result in a syrup that can be poured rather than a jelly, which is firm, especially if no pectin is used. The syrup can be used as a topping on pancakes or as a sauce for fruit dishes.
Fruit butters are made by blending or puréeing fruits, either in a blender or a food processor and then cooking with sugar until it is thick with a smooth consistency. The pulp left over when steam-juicing fruits like black cherry or black gum is good for making fruit butters.
Other types of preserves include these:
Marmalade has citrus and other fruits added.
Conserve has raisins, nuts, and spices.
Chutney has spices, vinegar, and a sweetener mixed with chopped fruits or vegetables.