The Very Best Ways to Preserve Peak-Season Produce

We explore the differences between jam, relish, chutney, and more.

Published Aug. 25, 2023.

In warm weather, the admirably resourceful among us start planning ways to jar and bottle up nature’s bounty before bleak days return. Preserving fruits and vegetables by cooking them down with sugar is a great way to capture and amplify their peak-season flavor. 

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the delicious preserves out there:

  • Jam and jelly are made with whole pieces and/or the juice of fruits and vegetables, cooked down with sugar and often set with pectin. Try our recipe for Rhubarb Jam (and these variations with ginger or cardamom and black pepper).
  • Mostarda is a sweet-savory Italian condiment featuring candied fruits preserved in a mustardy syrup.
  • Conserve is a thick, chunky cooked condiment that usually contains nuts and dried fruits such as raisins or apricots.
  • Relish is a sweet or savory condiment made of chopped fruits or vegetables, usually pickled but sometimes raw or cooked. Our recipe for a classic Sweet Pickle Relish will up your hot dog game.
  • Chutney (derived from the Hindi word “chatni”) is an umbrella term for a wide variety of sauces and condiments in Indian cuisines, both freshly prepared and preserved. In English, chutney refers more specifically to a sweet-and-sour combination of fruit, aromatics, spices, and vinegar that’s cooked down until syrupy and spoonable. We’ve got delicious options if you want to try your hand at making chutneys: Five-Spice Tomato Chutney, Blueberry-Ginger Chutney, and Spiced Green-Tomato Chutney are some favorites.

Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry-Ginger Chutney

Blueberries and pork might seem like an odd combination . . . until you try it.
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Once your perfect produce is preserved, you’ll no doubt find countless ways to use it: Try it with cheese and charcuterie, on sandwiches, alongside roasted meat and chicken, or dolloped over yogurt or oatmeal. 

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