Jams, Marmalades And Fruit Preserves


In Europe, jams, marmalades, jellies and chestnut purée s are defined by directive 2001/113/EC, implemented in Italy with legislative decree no. 50 of 20 February 2004. By jam we mean a mixture of pulp and/or puree of one or more species of fruit, sugar and water. The minimum amount of pulp and/or puree is identified according to the type of fruit, but in general it cannot be less than 350 grammes per 1000 grammes of finished product. In principle, the above also applies to extra jam, but generally the minimum pulp content cannot be less than 450 grammes per 1000 grammes of finished product. Marmalade is a mixture of one or more products obtained from citrus fruits (pulp, puree, juice, aqueous extracts and peels), water and sugars. The minimum amount of citrus fruits used for the production of 1000 grammes of finished product cannot be less than 200 grammes. Chestnut purée is a mixture of chestnut puree, water and sugar. The minimum amount of chestnut puree used for the production of 1000 grammes of finished product cannot be less than 380 grammes. Jelly is a mixture of fruit juice and/or aqueous extract obtained from one or more fruit species and sugars. The minimum amount of fruit juice and/or aqueous extract used for the production of 1000 grammes of finished product cannot be less than the amount set for the production of jam. Fruit preserves are in syrup, natural juice and water and there is no specific legislation for the product.


According to one of the most famous stories, the invention of orange marmalade dates back to Catherine of Aragon. After she married the King of England, Henry VIII, it appears that only this sweet product was able to help the Spanish queen overcome her terrible nostalgia for the fruit of her country. Queen Maria de Medici is the protagonist of another curious legend. After her marriage to Henry IV, Maria moved to France, closely followed by a private procession of Tuscan cooks, pastry chefs and ice cream makers. When the queen was diagnosed has having severe vitamin deficiency (in particular vitamin C), some of the men at court were sent to Italy to get the most precious citrus fruits of the time, the Sicilian ones. However, the journey back to Paris was too long, especially on horseback, so in order to preserve the fruit in the best possible way, special boxes of jam were prepared bearing the inscription “per Maria Ammalata”. Some misread the label as “poir Maire ammalate”, “por marimalade - marmelade”. In reality, despite the more or less colourful legends that have been handed down to us, we know with certainty that the origins of jam are much older. According to the Roman recipe book attributed to Apicius, dating back to the 4th-5th century AD, the Greeks were already boiling quinces with honey to thicken the sugars and obtain a preserve. In Ancient Roman times, fruit was immersed in a mixture of raisin wine, cooked wine, must or honey for the same purpose. Only honey and wine were used as simple sweeteners in Ancient Greece and Rome, with sugar only appearing in Europe during the Crusades. According to many documents, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that there was a jam produced with a method very similar to the current one. With one substantial difference: at that time, in the absence of refrigeration systems, the addition of sugar was necessary for long-term preservation. Thanks to the considerable amounts of cane sugar imported from the colonies, jam gradually spread into northern European countries and with it the term “confiture” ̶ deriving from the Italian verb “confettare” (to confect) ̶ used in ancient times to indicate food preparations intended for conservation. Over time, sugar became the only sweetening ingredient in these preparations, gradually replacing both honey and must, and the term confection took on the meaning of covering food with sugar. As for fruit in syrup, originally it served to preserve seasonal fruit so that it would be available in late autumn, winter and early spring.


Showing a fair vitality, the sector of jams, jams and fruit preserves closed 2022 with a quantity of 76.981 tons, up 7%, for a value of 484,1 million euros, up 15%. Inside they had the best performance jams and marmalades, which with an incidence of about 90% of the total, totaled 68.158 tons - to +6% on the previous year – equal to 428,9 million euros in turnover, up 14%. Completing the picture, with a + 15% in volume and a +23,1% in value, fruit preparations intended for final consumption: their volumes stood in 2022 at 8.823 tons for a turnover of 55,2 million euros.  


Directive 2001/113/EC relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption. Legislative Decree no. 50 of 20 February 2004 - Implementation of Directive 2001/113/EC.