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I'm a native Russian speaker and you may laugh at me, but I don't fully understand the difference between повидло and варенье. Both words are translated as jam and seem to be used interchangeably. Are they synonyms, or is there a regional preference / any subtle difference in the meaning?

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Согласно русской википедии:

Повидло получают путём вываривания с сахаром фруктового или ягодного пюре.

Варенье получают путём вываривания с сахаром фруктов или ягод, реже овощей, розовых лепестков, молодых грецких орехов, сосновых шишек.

Повидло - однородная масса.

В варенье есть фрукты, ягоды или что там варили.

If you want to make варенье from something, you cook it with sugar (and probably water, don't know for sure).

If you want to make повидло from something, you first grind it in a blender (or sometimes manually with fork), then add sugar and cook.

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  • I'd add that "jam" is actually neither повидло nor варенье. Close to first, but much more stiff, almost like what we call мармелад – Alissa Feb 13 '18 at 15:01
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In my opinion the most noticeable difference between the two is that "повидло" is a homogeneous product. Both products are a result of boiling sweetened fruit. "Варенье" is then put in jars as a mix of syrup and pieces of fruit, or berries. But "повидло" is sifted through to remove small seeds, pieces of skin, etc.

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I've always considered варенье to be home made, whereas повидло manufactured. But they also differ in texture, thickness, so maybe their recepes differ as well.

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  • Повидло и варенье очень разные вещи, и варенье очень запросто можно купить в супермаркете, в отличие от советских времен. – Alex B. Sep 3 '18 at 2:55
  • несомненно разные, здесь не имелась в виду их тождественность – Баян Купи-ка Sep 3 '18 at 6:14
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Native speakers do mix up all these words as well, but JFYI:

  • 'Джем/ конфитюр' - while boiling berries become smashed, there are no complete berries in it.
  • 'Варенье' - berries save the shape.
  • 'Повидло' - puree of berries with sugar (boiled also as others)
  • 'Мармелад' - near to the 'джем', but usually from citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and so on

And also:

  • 'Сырое варенье' - puree of berries with sugar without boiling
  • 'Варенье-пятиминутка' - something berry that was boiled for 5 minutes

Hope it helps.

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