Monday, July 25, 2011

Homemade Pectin

Last year I made quite a variety of jam that did not have added pectin.  I had found a number of recipes that did not use any and found that most often when you use pectin you need to add more sugar.  Most turned out great except they were not as stiff as if I used pectin.  Most of the time I was fine with that but a few varieties were a little runner than my liking.

I have an early apple variety that goes mealy almost as soon as it is ripe.  I tried it for apple juice last year but found it was too tart.  I also make unsweetened applesauce to use in my Applesauce Sourdough recipe but only need a limited amount.  This year, I decided to make apple pectin to thicken up some of my jams.

I gleaned information from these following sites to make my pectin.

Wash and sort apples.  It doesn't matter if the apples are not perfect because you basically want the juice.  Some people save up skins and cores to make pectin from.

Cut apples into pieces and cut out any bad spots or insect damage.

Place apples in a large heavy bottomed pot.  Add enough water to almost cover the apples.

Bring the apples to a boil and then lower heat and cook until they are soft and mushy.  Stir so the mixture does not stick to the pot.

Cook on low for several hours to extract all the pectin from the cores and peels.

You can see that as the mixture cooks it slowly turns from green to pinkish-brown.

Since I started with 2 large buckets of apples (each one 2+ ice cream pails)  I use a large colander set over a large pail to catch the juice.

I have made a number of juice bags from unbleached muslin.  Over time the become discolored (especially from straining raspberries or grapes) but that doesn't affect the juice.

Pour or ladle the apple mixture into the colander to strain out the juice.

I cover the colander with a large pot lid and leave it drip overnight.  The pectin is more clear that way instead of squeezing the bag.

To test the pectin refrigerate a couple of spoons of juice.  Put a bit of rubbing alcohol in a small bowl and add the chilled pectin.  If it is strong enough it will form a jelly-like glob.  NOTE:  Make sure to discard this alcohol-pectin mixture as it is poisonous.

Here you can see a bit of the glob can be lifted but I figured it should be stronger so I reboiled the pectin for awhile.

Once the pectin is cooked, pour into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  I got almost 7 quarts from my batch. 


  1. It sure came out a pretty color at the end. I will have to try this someday. Store-bought pectin is so expensive.