" Pectin "

Homemade Apple Pectin

            Pectin in fruit is probably as important as the fruit itself when it comes to making Jams, Jellies and preserves ! Fruit should be as freshly picked as possible and slightly under-ripe, because it is at this stage that the fruit contains the most Pectin. Pectin is a natural gum - like substance present in most fruits which helps to set Jams, Jellies and Preserves.

        For best results in Jam making, cook small amounts at a time. The shorter cooking time will give better results in flavour, texture and appearance. As a guide, avoid using more than 2 kgs of fruit for any Jam recipe.

        The most suitable fruits for Jam making are those which have a good balance of acid and Pectin. Lemon juice is one of the best examples of a fruit which contains both pectin and acid and can be added to fruits low in either one.

        diab_r3d.gif (371 bytes)   Fruits with a good balance of both acid and Pectin are:

                  Grapes, crab apples, currants, quinces, sour gooseberries, grapefruit, lemons, limes, sour apples, sour guavas, sour oranges, and sour plums.

        diab_r3d.gif (371 bytes)   Fruits high in Pectin but low in acid are:

                  Sweet apples, sweet guavas, and sweet quinces. When making jam or jelly from these particular fruits, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each 1 kg of fruit to increase the acid content.

        diab_r3d.gif (371 bytes)    Fruits low in Pectin but high in acid are:

                  Apricots, pineapples, rhubarb, and sour peaches. When making Jam from these fruits, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to increase the Pectin content

        Fruits low in acid and Pectin are not suitable for Jam making without the addition of other fruits or lemon juice. Those fruits low in both acid and Pectin include pears, melons, most berries and cherries.

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                Testing for Pectin

         To test for Pectin before adding sugar:

        ovlb_rbv.gif (366 bytes)    Remove 5 ml ( 1 teaspoon ) of the cooked fruit juice and place it in a glass. Cool.

        ovlb_rbv.gif (366 bytes)    Add 15 ml ( 1 tablespoon ) of methylated spirits and shake the glass.

        ovlb_rbv.gif (366 bytes)   If a clear jelly like clot appears, there is plenty of Pectin. If several small clots form, the Pectin content is medium. If no clots form, the Pectin content is poor.

        ovlb_rbv.gif (366 bytes)    If the Pectin content is poor, add 60 ml ( 4 tablespoons ) of Pectin ( obtainable from your Chemist in powder form or make you own - see below ) for every 500g of fruit.

                For most of the recipes you will find on this website, 30 ml ( 2 tablespoons ) of lemon juice, or 2 ml of Tartaric acid is added to counteract the lack of natural Pectin.

                For those of you who would prefer to make your own natural Pectin, below is a recipe for apple Pectin:

    1.        Place I kg of just slightly under - ripe green cooking apples in a pan with 1 litre of water and simmer until tender, crushing the fruit occasionally with the back of a wooden spoon.

    2.        Strain through a double layer of muslin or cheesecloth and boil again, uncovered, until reduced to 500 ml ( 2 cups ). Use immediately or bottle and seal. Apple Pectin will keep for 2 to 3 months.

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Homemade Apple Pectin

2 kg ( 4 lbs. ) apples, skin and cores 2 litres ( 4 pints) water, 1st extraction

    Select tart, hard, ripe apples. Remove bruised spots. Cut into thin slices. Place in a large saucepan and bring quickly to boiling point. Cover, and let boil rapidly for about 20 minutes. Strain through four thicknesses of cheese cloth. When juice stops dripping, press pulp lightly with a spoon, but do not squeeze bag. Set aside juice. Remove pulp from bag. Weigh or measure and add to it an equal quantity of water. Boil again for 20 minutes and strain. Mix the two liquids ( extractions ). It should measure about 3 litres ( 3 quarts ). Place the juice in a wide pan so that it is no more than  50 mm ( 2 inches ) deep. Heat rapidly for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the liquid is 12 mm ( inch ) deep, or reduced to of a litre ( 1 pints ). If not wanted for immediate use, pour at once into hot sterilized jars and seal. Sealing jars used, should not hold more than a cup.


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