I am often lost when it comes to buying preserves, jams, jellies, etc.
I know there are differences, but for some reason, my brain can’t seem to keep it all straight. If you ever see me at a store, staring at my phone in front of a shelf of spreads, you’ll know exactly what I’m Googling at that moment.
A farm out of Pennsylvania, Masonic Village Farm, has a blog post on its website, explaining all the ins and outs of the fruity offerings.
Jelly is made with juice. Jam has fruit mashed up in it. Preserves uses big pieces or whole fruit. Spreads are fruit without any added sugar, and butters have pureed fruit.
It’s amazing to me that there’s a term for every subtle difference.
I found myself researching this mystery yet again this past week, as I needed to buy some strawberry preserves for some delicious bars, which did not disappoint at all.
This recipe comes from “Taste of Home” magazine. You can find the original post at https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/strawberry-oatmeal-bars. I added just a touch extra of vanilla in my version.
Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
- 3/4 cup butter melted
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 1/4 cups quick oats
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup strawberry preserves or flavor of your choice
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Dump in the vanilla, flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix well until everything is completely combined.
- Add all but one cup of the mixture to a nine-by-13-inch baking pan (you don’t need to grease it). Press it down evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- Spoon the preserves over the top, spreading it out evenly.
- Stir the shredded coconut into the remaining cup of crumbs, and loosely sprinkle the crumb/coconut mixture evenly over top of the preserves layer.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. Let the bars cool completely before cutting, and store them in an airtight container.
These were a big hit at the barbecue I took them to, and they were so, so easy to make, too. This would be a great recipe to make for a young or beginning baker. The tinge of coconut was the perfect amount, and the preserves did all the work outside of that.
The nice thing is, you can easily use the preserves of your choice if strawberry isn’t really your thing or if you want to have several options for a bake sale or snack table.
And honestly, if you wanted to use a jam instead, you’d probably be just fine. Although, as we have established, I am definitely no expert.
This piece first appeared in print on July 13, 2023.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.