Homemade Pectin

If you choose to use your own homemade pectin, you really can’t follow the recipes that are found on the backs of commercially available jelling agents. There are two main factors involved in the making of jelly, the concentration of sugar versus the concentration of pectin. If you don’t use enough of either one, you will end up with a fruit syrup (excellent on ice-cream, but a failure in the jelly making world.)

Many, in an effort to eat healthier will reduce the amount of sugar that they use, while understandable; this shows a lack of knowledge of the chemistry involved in making jams and jellies. If you choose to make jelly or jam, you must understand that it will be composed mainly of sugar, hopefully knowing this will encourage you to follow recipes and will avert jelly making failure.

When using homemade jelly or jam you can mix liquid pectin (homemade) with fruit, or fruit juice and boil it until the mixture has enough pectin to jell. The only problem with this is that if you use a fruit juice with little to no natural pectin in it, you will need to boil this mixture to about the same volume of the pectin that you put in it. Boiling this fruit juice and pectin mixture will not affect the flavor of your jam or jelly, unless it burns to the bottom of the pan, or cooks too long after the sugar is added.

This problem is resolved by constant stirring of the mixture until cooking is complete. Some people will even use pure fruit pectin with whole fruits instead of water if they are using a low pectin fruit, such as nectarines, peaches, elderberries and domesticated grapes, (wild grapes are high pectin fruits and require little to no pectin.) Whether you use homemade pectin, or the store-bought brands, I encourage you to experiment—find new uses for pectin and record your recipes for future generations!