Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Home-made Apple Pectin instructions...

I've had a few requests to share the recipe for Apple Pectin, so here it goes:

  I'm no expert by any means, but this has worked 3 times for me so far, so I feel a little more confident in sharing now than I did when you all originally asked. :)

To make apple pectin, start with the greenest, most tart apples you can find. Crab-apples or unripe regular apples are the best, as they have the largest amount of natural pectin in them. I've been filling a 9-quart kettle with the apples. I quarter the apples, but leave the seeds and skin on, as the pectin is mainly in/under those areas. After putting the apples in the kettle, also slice in a lemon (or add some lemon juice), then add about 2 quarts of water. Simmer all of this on medium/low heat until the apples are all soft and mushy. Next, drain and save the juice. I like to put a colander over a large bowl, then put a clean, white dish-cloth over that and dump the apples into the cloth. Let the juice drain for a while. You can twist up the towel and squeeze it a bit, but not too much, or you'll get apple pulp in your pectin. Next, wash the kettle out and put the juice back in it. Feed your leftover apple scraps to your goats. ;) 


Now, turn the burner to medium/high and let the juice BOIL and boil and boil and boil, stirring occasionally. It will take about half an hour or more of constant boiling for it to reduce to about a third of the amount of liquid you started with and will turn a much darker color. The consistency will be a bit syrupy. You can do a "Setting up" test by pouring a small amount of rubbing alcohol into a dish and then putting a few drops of the pectin into the alcohol. Let it set for a few seconds and see how the pectin/gel sticks together. Once you think it looks thick enough, take the kettle off the stove. You can use the pectin right away or can for later use. I've ended up with about 1 cup of pectin (from that kettle full of apples) each time I've done this. The 1 cup of pectin is enough to thicken at least 2 quarts of chokecherry juice and could probably thicken 3 quarts, as my 2 quarts of jelly was very thick! I've read that chokecherries are very low in natural pectin, so other kinds of fruit that are higher in pectin would require even less added pectin. I made some apple jelly (with added cinnamon sticks) yesterday and that turned out really well/thick.


Today, I tried a mixed-berry-apple jam, but I made a large batch of that and could have used a bit more pectin I think. Hopefully it will set up firm by morning when it's cooled off completely! I'd be interested to know how others' jellies or jams turned out if you try this recipe, and, if you learn any tricks, please let me know. I've been having fun experimenting!


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