Jams and compotes have been made for centuries, if not millennia, as a way to conserve fruit and vegetables so that it could be eaten outside of their natural growing season, especially during the winter.
Later on, compotes were produced as baby food or reconstitutes.
Fundamental ingredients of artisanal compotes are the endless care and patience of the women, who for generations, passed down their secret recipes.
The word compote encompasses all products made with fruit or vegetables or their juices, together with various concentrations of sugar.
Marmalades, jams and jellies are all considered types of compotes.
- Marmalade (marmellata in Italian) refers to: a mixture of sugar, whole pieces of one, or more, type of fruit (at least 45% fruit) and water: semisolid structure.
- Jam (confettura in Italian) refers to: a mixture of sugar, whole or pureed fruit (at least 45% fruit) and water. In citrus-based jams, the fruit can be whole, chopped or sliced: semisolid structure.
- Jelly (gelatina in Italian) refers to: a mixture of sugar, fruit juice and/or fruit extract in varying concentrations, (at least 45% of the compotes must be fruit, or a fruit-derivative.): gel structure.
Candied fruits and vegetables also fall into the category of sugar preserves or compotes. Cooking fruit together with sugar (either from honey, sugar cane or sugar beet) is an ancient practice that allowed people to prepare fruit at home to be enjoyed year round.
This would have otherwise been impossible in eras without refrigeration systems.
In Italy, compotes and marmalades are made with both fruit and vegetables, like peppers, onions and tomatoes.
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