Conserve vs Preserve?

Conserve vs Preserve? What is the Difference in Meaning?

Preserve and conserve are two words that are confused with each other often. Both of the words have multiple meanings, but even the multiple meanings are similar. It is easy to understand why the words get mixed up so often, but if you know the difference, you can prevent the mistake.

Preserving food means trying to extend its life while conserving food means keeping some of it aside for a later time.


Conserve can be used as a verb. The first meaning is to prevent decay, waste, injury, or loss. For example, you would conserve your energy before a big race.

Conserve also means to manage or use resources wisely or save. We are trying to conserve our forests and woodlands.

In physics and chemistry, conserve means to hold constant during a process or interaction. The interaction will conserve linear momentum.

The definition that gets conserve and preserve mixed up most often is this: to preserve fruit through the process of cooking with syrup or sugar.

A conserve is usually made up of two or more fruits. You will often notice that dried fruits and nuts are also included in a conserve. They will be cooked with sugar and commonly have a texture that is chunky. You will mostly see this served with meats and cheese.

During a drought, it is important that everyone does their part to conserve water.

To conserve energy, you should turn off the lights when you leave a room.

If you have a big event coming up, you should try your best to conserve your energy.

Foods are dehydrated to conserve their quality for future use.


Preserve has a massive number of definitions. First, it means to keep alive or make lasting. As free citizens, we preserve our liberties.

Preserve also means to protect or keep safe from harm or injury. In this sense, it also means to maintain something. Our nation’s historical documents are kept preserved in Washington D.C.

When it comes to food, preserve means “to prepare to resist decomposition”. It also means to prepare fruit by cooking it with sugar, pickling, or canning, such as making preserves.

A preserve is going to be whole pieces of cooked fruits that are sitting in a soft syrup or jelly. In some cases, there may be spices, spirits, and wines included. Preserves can be used with sweet or savory dishes.

You can preserve meat or fish with salt.

Freezers are cold so they can preserve what is put in them.

Dinosaur fossils are usually well preserved.

Laws are put in place to preserve natural resources.

Preserve vs Conserve

It can be hard to remember the difference between the two words, but there is a simple way that can help you out.

Preserving food is to Process it in a way that extends its life.

Conserving is to Keep it and use it responsibly.

Preserve and process both start with the letter P, so you can remember them easily. Conserve and keep both start with a hard C sound. Think of the first parts of the word to remember when to use which.

Preserve, Conserve, or Jam?

It is hard to distinguish what the differences are between these three items. A jam is made with fruit that is chopped or mashed and cooked with sugar until it reaches a point of becoming a jelly. A jam is usually used at breakfast for pastries and bread.

A preserve uses whole pieces of fruit and cooks them before putting them into a soft jelly or syrup. Preserves are likely to contain spices, spirits, and even wines.

Conserves are a combination of two or more fruits and are often cooked with dry nuts and sugar. They will have a chunky texture.