Jam
Posted: 16 October 2015 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Amusing folk etymology for this term (in the sense of fruit preserve) which I noticed whilst browsing OED. First I’ll give the suggested etymology from OED, the folk version is in the cite.

jam, n.2

Etymology:  perhaps a derivative of jam v.1 in sense ‘to bruise or crush by pressure’

1.

a. A conserve of fruit prepared by boiling it with sugar to a pulp.

1736 N. Bailey et al. Dict. Britannicum (ed. 2) Jam of Cherries, Raspberries, &c., (prob. of J’aime, i.e. I love it; as Children used to say in French formerly, when they liked any Thing) a Sweetmeat.

I love it!

BTW Do you LPs use the words jam (for the conserve) and marmalade? I just don’t recall hearing them in an American context.

[ Edited: 16 October 2015 07:27 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 16 October 2015 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes, orange marmalade and various jams are staple items in the supermarket.

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Posted: 16 October 2015 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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FWIW, I’ve never seen marmalade in any context other than with orange or Lady.

Jam would be used as opposed to jelly, but “preserves” is the more common term these days.

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Posted: 16 October 2015 11:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Jam would be used as opposed to jelly, but “preserves” is the more common term these days.

Preserves might be more common on labels, but in general Leftpondian parlance jam is by far more common. You wouldn’t, for example, ask a waitperson for preserves, you’d ask for jam.

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Posted: 16 October 2015 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ve always preferred preserves, marmalades, and jams to jelly. There seems to be an artificiality to jelly’s taste.

Below a delineation of the differences:

Jelly is mostly made up of gelatin, pectin, or some other gelling agent that is added to fruit that has been cooked until it is soft and its solids have been strained out, often to transparency. The word came into English in the late fourteenth century by way of the French gelée, “frost,” and ultimately from the Latin gelata, “frozen,” which, of course, gives us the name of that wondrous Italian treat called gelato, and in that hoary sense it can be likened to a glacier—well, a slow-moving syrup, anyway, a term that comes to us by a circuitous path from the Arabic sharàb, “wine.” John Keats gets at this distinction in his poem “The Eve of St. Agnes”:

The word “jam,” which dates to the early eighteenth century, probably does not come from the French j’aime, “I love,” as one contemporary author guessed, but instead from the English verb that means “to press” or “to squeeze.” Jam is cooked like jelly, but the fruit solids are pureed or mashed and kept in the mixture. These solids give the conco
ction opacity and substance, so that the cook needs to use less pectin or gelatin, even dispensing with a gelling agent altogether.

Preserves similarly contain cooked fruits, except that the fruit solids are left in chunks rather than pureed. This gives the concoction not just substance but heft. Conserves are preserves made of mixed fruits instead of single strains of, say, plum or peach, though this very fine distinction is seldom observed. And marmalade is a kind of preserve that includes the peel as well as the cooked fruit. The word comes from the Portuguese marmelo, “quince,” kin to the apple, though most marmalades are made of citrus.

Gregory McNamee
Gregory McNamee is the author or title-page editor of forty books. He is a contributing editor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and to Kirkus Reviews.

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Posted: 16 October 2015 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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You probably know that in Aust and the UK, “jelly” means a clear or translucent gelatinous dessert, usually referred to in the USA by the now generic term “jello”.

To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think there exists a term in British or Australian English to refer specifically to the gelid, pectin-set preserves that are called “jelly” in the USA.  I mean, they would be called preserves, but that term also includes items that are not USA-jelly.

At my supermarket in Australia, there are some gelid pectin fries-set preserves labelled “jam” but also some non-gelid preserves labelled “jam”. But Australia is a bit weird in that it follows some British and some US trwnds, which is why we confusingly refer to both fries and crisps as “chips”.

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Posted: 17 October 2015 03:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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This is turning out to be a more appetizing thread than many ;-) .....Thanks for that valuable quote, logophile – and a respectful kudo to the erudite, alert Mr. McNamee (thanks to him, I read “The Eve of St. Agnes” for the first time since schooldays, and enjoyed it a great deal more than I did under compulsion at that time).

There are one or two of McNamee’s points with which one might disagree. For instance – I suspect that sharab (I am dispensing with diacriticals) might more accurately be rendered as “beverage”, or “drink”, than “wine”; the latter never was a big item in Arabic culinary lore (the RAE confirms my suspicion). In addition to “syrup” (Sp. jarabe), the word is also ancestor to other English food words, such as “sherbet” and “sorbet”. Then, McNamee says: “marmalade is a kind of preserve that includes the peel, as well as the cooked fruit”. This is true of citrus fruits, certainly. On the other hand, quince preserves, which gave marmalade its name, are normally made from peeled quinces; the rind is harsh, woody, and devoid of flavour. The stewed mush of peeled, cored quince and sugar is strained through a fine cloth. The filtrate, cooled, is a clear quince jelly; the residue, or cake, when cooled, yields a firm, solid preserve which (pace Mr. McNamee) should be of smooth texture, with no chunks at all. The Spanish name for this is dulce de membrillo; eaten with cheese, it is a traditional dessert, relished throughout the Hispanic world.  The cheese I’ve most enjoyed eating dulce de membrillo with, was Mahon duro, a cheese from Minorca, not always easily available outside of Spain. The nearest thing I know to that, further North and West, is a mature Cheddar. ¡Buen provecho!

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Posted: 17 October 2015 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks for that valuable quote, logophile – and a respectful kudo to the erudite, alert Mr. McNamee

Your comment was itself erudite as well as appetizing, lionello, and I hope you won’t be bothered my a minor bit of pedantic correction; this is, after all, a site about words and language.  To wit, there is no (accepted) word “kudo”—“kudos” is a singular, like “logos” in the religious sense ("the Word").  The American Heritage Dictionary has a good summary:

Usage Note: Kudos is one of those words like congeries that look like plurals but are etymologically singular. Acknowledging the Greek history of the term requires Kudos is (not are) due her for her brilliant work on the score. But kudos has often been treated as a plural, especially in the popular press, as in She received many kudos for her work. This plural use has given rise to the singular form kudo. These innovations follow the pattern whereby the English words pea and cherry were shortened from nouns ending in an (s) sound (English pease and French cerise), that were mistakenly thought to be plural. The singular kudo remains far less common than the plural use; both are often viewed as incorrect in more formal contexts. It is worth noting that even people who are careful to treat kudos only as a singular often pronounce it as if it were a plural. Etymology would require that the final consonant be pronounced as a voiceless (s), as we do in pathos, another word derived from Greek, rather than as a voiced (z).

I myself say “CUE-doss,” with a silent -s, but I am an old fogy who has an excessive fondness for Greek, so no need to model yourself on me!

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Posted: 17 October 2015 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Jam would be used as opposed to jelly, but “preserves” is the more common term these days.

Thus the WWII song, “It must be Jelly ‘cause Jam don’t shake like that.” Pretty racy stuff for Glenn Miller and the times.

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Posted: 17 October 2015 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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languagehat - 17 October 2015 06:25 AM

Thanks for that valuable quote, logophile – and a respectful kudo to the erudite, alert Mr. McNamee

Your comment was itself erudite as well as appetizing, lionello, and I hope you won’t be bothered my a minor bit of pedantic correction; this is, after all, a site about words and language.  To wit, there is no (accepted) word “kudo”—“kudos” is a singular, like “logos” in the religious sense ("the Word").  The American Heritage Dictionary has a good summary:

Usage Note: Kudos is one of those words like congeries that look like plurals but are etymologically singular. Acknowledging the Greek history of the term requires Kudos is (not are) due her for her brilliant work on the score. But kudos has often been treated as a plural, especially in the popular press, as in She received many kudos for her work. This plural use has given rise to the singular form kudo. These innovations follow the pattern whereby the English words pea and cherry were shortened from nouns ending in an (s) sound (English pease and French cerise), that were mistakenly thought to be plural. The singular kudo remains far less common than the plural use; both are often viewed as incorrect in more formal contexts. It is worth noting that even people who are careful to treat kudos only as a singular often pronounce it as if it were a plural. Etymology would require that the final consonant be pronounced as a voiceless (s), as we do in pathos, another word derived from Greek, rather than as a voiced (z).

I myself say “CUE-doss,” with a silent -s, but I am an old fogy who has an excessive fondness for Greek, so no need to model yourself on me!

What a fascinating and instructive usage note. I never cease to learn on this board. I confess that I’ve been pronouncing it as if it were a plural all my life, although instinctively I have never used kudo! From now on it’s “CUE-doss” for me too. Thank you to Lionello and language hat both!

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Posted: 18 October 2015 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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It turns out lionello was just making a little joke which sailed over my head, but it’s just as well, since the usage note I posted in response enlightened aldi!

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Posted: 18 October 2015 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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It’s an ill wind ........

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Posted: 19 October 2015 04:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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The distinction that Mr McNamee draws between jam, preserve and conserve may have a historical foundation but it doesn’t really represent modern (or even post-mid-20th-century) Rightpondian usage - which has, like much else in Rightpondian usage, been skewed by class distinction and by legal issues.

Jam vs preserve was for generations one of the standard class markers in British speech: the upper classes and the Great Unwashed called what they spread on their bread ‘jam’, but the upwardly-aspiring, striving for gentility, said ‘preserve’: as Sir John Betjeman well knew, and assumed that his readers knew. Presumably it was the crude image of squashed-up fruit that the genteel wanted to avoid, which suggests that the Dict. Britannicum’s suggestion of a French origin had little or no popular currency.

However, most British people do feel that marmalade (in the normal modern sense of a bittersweet citrus preserve with chunks or shreds of peel in) isn’t exactly the same thing as jam; there is no tautology in saying, for example, ‘Put the jam and marmalade on the table’. And then there’s lemon curd and other fruit curds, which have the same purpose but are not quite the same nor made in the same way.made So preserves does come on handy if we want to convey ‘any preparation of fruit intended to be put on bread or toast’.

And in my childhood my mother used to buy ‘ginger marmalade’, which was a spread of fresh ginger in small chunks preserved in sugar-and-ginger syrup, made by roughly the same method as citrus marmalade. But 30-odd years ago some food labelling authority decreed that it wasn’t legal to sell it by the name ‘marmalade’, because it contained no citrus fruit, and thereafter it has only been commercially sold as ‘ginger preserve’. No doubt there are many people who would say that ‘it’s only marmalade if it has citrus fruit’ simply because of the wording they’ve always seen on the jar; however, the existence on the internet of numerous recipes of UK origin for home-made ‘ginger marmalade’ suggests that people who make their own jam/marmalade/preserves/conserves at home (who you might expect to be sturdy traditionalists) don’t go along with this.

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Posted: 19 October 2015 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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FWIW, McNamee’s distinctions between jelly, jam, and preserves are the same as those I learned at my (Leftpondian) mother’s knee.

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Posted: 19 October 2015 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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And in my childhood my mother used to buy ‘ginger marmalade’, which was a spread of fresh ginger in small chunks preserved in sugar-and-ginger syrup, made by roughly the same method as citrus marmalade. But 30-odd years ago some food labelling authority decreed that it wasn’t legal to sell it by the name ‘marmalade’, because it contained no citrus fruit, and thereafter it has only been commercially sold as ‘ginger preserve’. No doubt there are many people who would say that ‘it’s only marmalade if it has citrus fruit’ simply because of the wording they’ve always seen on the jar; however, the existence on the internet of numerous recipes of UK origin for home-made ‘ginger marmalade’ suggests that people who make their own jam/marmalade/preserves/conserves at home (who you might expect to be sturdy traditionalists) don’t go along with this.

The Canadian Government, for instance, are not bound by any such footling regulation.  Over the past several decades, my work has taken me many times to Canada, where I’ve always been able, at any supermarket, to buy Robertson’s Ginger Marmalade, a favourite of mine since childhood which, according to the label, does not contain citrus fruit or any other fruit, just ginger and the usual other stuff. Robertson’s itself is, or was, a venerable company, known throughout the British Isles for “Golden Shred” marmalade. In these days of multinationals, Robertson’s may now belong ultimately to some Chinese holding company based in Curaçao or Paraguay, but I think the Ginger Marmalade may still be made somewhere in Britain.

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Posted: 20 October 2015 04:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I think the Ginger Marmalade may still be made somewhere in Britain.

- whereas that icon of Scottishness, Keiller’s Dundee Marmalade, has actually been made in East London since 1880!

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