Preserving Fruit & Minds

A Potted History of Preserves

Interesting facts about preserves

Ancient Period

Preserves have been around for centuries, with the earliest origins dating back to the Stone Age where humans would store fruit so it would last longer. Over the course of time, preserves have evolved to become a modern day staple, as they can last for months or years without spoiling and can be produced easily with just a few ingredients. Preserves have been crucial to early humans, as food often became scarce, so it needed to be stored and rationed for survival.

Preservation using honey or sugar was a popular method used by the Ancient Greeks so that fruit would last longer. Honey was especially useful because it contained very little moisture, so any food stored in honey would be protected from the harmful microbes produced when left in storage.

The first written recipes for jam were recorded in Rome during the 4th century AD by Marcus Gavius Apicius in the cookbook De Re Coquinaria (The Art of Cooking).

“The book contains over 500 recipes, many using Indian spices, as well as a recipe for soft fruit heated with honey. The mixture was then cooled and stored, to create one of the earliest recorded forms of jam”

-Freshways, 2021

Medieval Period

The Medieval Period also saw jam and preserves grow in popularity thanks to the arrival of sugar cane on ships sent from abroad. Sugar helped absorb moisture from fruit which made it harder for bacteria, enzymes and mould to take effect. This resulted in sugar being used in preserves for soldiers and sailors who had to survive for long periods of time with rationed supplies. Fruit preserved in sugar also helped sailors avoid catching scurvy, which is a disease caused by lack of vitamin C. Another interesting fact is that quince jelly was presented to Joan of Arc in 1429, after she liberated Orleans from the English.

Modern Period

Modern technology has allowed preserves to last even longer thanks to the invention of freezing and refrigeration. This enabled unopened preserves to last for years without spoiling, and for a few weeks when opened. An ingredient known as ‘gelatine’ has also replaced the traditional ‘pectin’ from normal fruit juice. This has given preserves a smoother texture that can be spread easily. Freezing and refrigeration has helped preserves to be mass produced and sent longer distances, further increasing their popularity across the globe.

Present Day

Fruit preserves are still very popular today, and they are mass produced to countries across the globe thanks to their shelf life and versatility. Matthew’s Preserved was born out of the love of making chutneys and jams, and the idea for the company came in 2018 when Matthew’s mental health was at an all-time low.

For Matthew, making preserves became a passion, as he could focus on making great tasting products that were healthy for the mind and body. Having suffered from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, the company gave Matthew a new direction in life. With the love and support from friends and family, Matthew decided to sell his preserves and spread positivity and awareness for mental health.

“For every jar we sell, 10p is donated to the mental health charity Mind UK.”

– Matthew’s Preserved


Freshways. 2022. A HISTORY OF JAM AND PRESERVES. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 April 2022].

Wikipedia. 2022. Fruit preserves. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 April 2022].

Dehydrator Lab. 2022. History Of Food Preservation Timeline – When Did People Start To Preserve Food?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 April 2022].