Marmalade and jam are two words very similar, even if in Italy the differences between are run by the rules. The definition depends on ingredients and preparation used.
We are very proud in Italy about these two kinds of recipes, even if an origin can’t be clear. Of course it’s not only Italian things, but we are very proud of how we cook them.
Marmalade: more sugar, less fruit
Marmalade is a mix of sugar and citrus cooked in water and brought to a gelled consistency. For a marmalade you can use lemon, orange, tangerine, citron, grapefruit or bergamot, so if you prefer for example strawberry or peach you are trying to do a jam. The law also rules that the fruit percentage required in the preparation is 20% and you have to use pulp, juice, citrus extracts and peels.
At the end of preparation, marmalade has no piece of fruit inside, differently from a jam.
Jam: 50% sugar, 50% fruit
A lot of times, people who usually cook their homemade jam always says: «It’s easy! 50% sugar, 50% fruit».
Jam is a mixture brought to a suitable gelled consistency by cooking water, sugar and fruit, this being at least 35% of the preparation as ruled by the law.
Fruit must be fresh, sound and not spoiled, it has to be cleaned and without blemish before preparation. You can use roots or vegetables instead of fruits. We are talking for example of those jams prepared with ginger or rhubarb, or with pumpkins, carrots, melons and watermelons.
Marmalade and jam recipes in home traditions
If you are telling something about your grandmother and how she always tried to make you fat, by cooking a lot of things, a lot of Italians recall the homemade marmalade or jam served at breakfast with rusks or bread.