Pectin is commonly used as a dietary supplement and in cooking, principally as a thickener for jams and jellies. It has become one of the new superfoods or super-supplements. Whether the claims for the benefits of pectin in diet are realistic is a subject for another debate; of current interest here is the pectin levels of various fruits and vegetables. That is also subject to debate, as there are factors that affect the values measure, such as:
Pectin is a naturally occurring substance (a polysaccharide) found in berries, apples and other fruit. When heated together with sugar, it causes a thickening that is characteristic of jams and jellies.
You can also make your own pectin. Just see this page for directions. And if you are just looking ffor the best prices and all the options for pectin, click here!
Most pectin you buy at the supermarket is produced in Europe and imported to the U.S.. It has a limited shelf life; usually you don't want to keep it from year to year, as it's ability to gel will decrease.
As applicable to making Jams and Jellies
|Group I:||If not overripe, it usually has enough natural pectin and acid for gel formation with only added sugar.|
|Group II:||Low in natural acid or pectin, and may need addition of either acid or pectin.|
|Group III:||Always needs added acid, pectin or both.|
If not overripe, has enough natural pectin and acid for gel formation with added sugar only.
Low in natural acid or pectin; might need addition of either acid or pectin.
Always needs added acid, pectin or both.
|Apples, sour||Apples, ripe||Apricots|
|Blackberries, sour||Blackberries, ripe||Blueberries|
|Citrus skins (oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, limes, etc. - the pectin is high in the skin but low in the fruit)||Cherries, sour||Cherries, sweet|
|Currants||Grape Juice, bottled (Eastern Concord)||Grapes (Western Concord)|
|Gooseberries||Grapes (California, and all other than Concord)||Guavas|
|Grapes (Eastern Concord)||Loquats||Nectarines|
|Plums (not Italian)||Plums (Italian)|
|Raspberries * see note below|
The pectin content in all fruit is also generally higher when fruit is just barely ripe and diminishes as it matures from fully ripe to overripe. The process of ripening involves the breakdown of pectins, which softens the fruit as it ripens. Apples and crabapples (especially unripe ones) are good sources of pectin and are often used in making commercial pectin. Some commercial pectin is made from citrus peels.
There is a test that uses rubbing alcohol to provide a rough indication of the amount of pectin in the fruit. Mix 1 teaspoon of cooked, cooled crushed fruit with 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol. Use a closed container and shake gently. Juices from fruit that is high in pectin will form a solid gelatinous lump. If the fruit is low in pectin, it will form only small rubbery particles. Those with an average pectin content will form a few pieces of the jelly-like substance.
It ought to be needless to say, that just as you should never put a cup of very hot coffee in your lap while driving a car, you should not eat the test mixture (that with the rubbing alcohol in it) as rubbing alcohol is a poison.
ess than 1/2 cup in volume. So, a little less than 1/2 cup of dry pectin equals 1 pouch of liquid pectin.
Note: ClearJel is a starch that is used in making pie fillings. It is not a pectin, but a unique starch that is safer to use in making pie fillings, like home canning apple pie filling or blueberry pie filling. as it is more uniform for heat distribution.
Samples of Commercial Pectin
Top left: no-sugar Ball dry pectin
Top right: regular Ball dry pectin
Bottom left: regular SureJell dry pectin
Bottom right: lower sugar SureJell dry pectin
Far right: Certo liquid regular pectin
Pectin is commonly sold in large grocery stores, like Publix and Kroger, housewares sections of stores like local "big box" stores, and online. We have affiliate programs with two suppliers:
(This is my top choice, since you can use no sugar, sugar, honey and/or Stevia, or Splenda and it will set!)
I still think you should use the no-sugar version (at left), even if you want to add sugar!)
|Low sugar methoxyl pectin (Pomona)
Best for tough sets, like pepper jellies
|MCP - Modified Citrus Pectin
Made with fruit pectin and citric acid
|Freezer jam pectin
||Liquid pectin||low sugar pectin|
||It is hard to find - but the no-sugar pectin works well with sugar, too|
No-sugar needed bulk pectin: Regular (sugar needed) bulk pectin:
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]