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Old 12-26-2008, 09:35 PM   #1
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How to use pectin?

Hi there - occasionally I like to make strange variations of cranberry sauce. Occasionally they'll end up really thin. I then know of two options:

  • Deal with it being too runny
  • Heat it for a while till enough moisture evaporates

Could I add pectin instead as a third option? I've tried this but it never seemed to do any good - but I had no idea how much to add. I tried 1 t for 3 C of ingredients - and that didn't seem to do anything. Perhaps does pectin only thicken ingredients once they are cool? Or something else?

Thanks!

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Old 12-26-2008, 10:14 PM   #2
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If you like to experiment, you will never have much success using regular pectin unless you learn and truly understand the relationship of pectin, sugar and acid since it involves "chemistry" and knowing when that gel state has been reached.

But since it doesn't seem like you are trying to go that route, I would suggest you quit using regular pectin and get "Pomona Pectin" that does not require sugar and uses Calcium for the chemical reaction. The nice thing about it is that it is very forgiving and therefore used by most commercial companies who don't want to do thousands of jars of jam and end up with syrup.

You are still going to have to follow instructions to some degree -- recipes and such are contained in their box -- but you may end up with some successes.

http://www.pomonapectin.com
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnerd View Post
If you like to experiment, you will never have much success using regular pectin unless you learn and truly understand the relationship of pectin, sugar and acid since it involves "chemistry" and knowing when that gel state has been reached.

But since it doesn't seem like you are trying to go that route, I would suggest you quit using regular pectin and get "Pomona Pectin" that does not require sugar and uses Calcium for the chemical reaction. The nice thing about it is that it is very forgiving and therefore used by most commercial companies who don't want to do thousands of jars of jam and end up with syrup.

You are still going to have to follow instructions to some degree -- recipes and such are contained in their box -- but you may end up with some successes.

http://www.pomonapectin.com
Actually I would much prefer to understand the science behind this stuff instead of finding a work around. Is there a resource you could suggest (book/website/etc.) that'd cover this? Chemistry was not a strong point in college - but I did take a good number of chem classes so I'm not entirely hopeless!
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Old 12-26-2008, 11:20 PM   #4
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Pomona Pectin is not a "work around" but is the choice used by professionals and is more expensive, but the benefits outweigh the expense. Your low/no sugar pectins actually are quite similar since they too use a calcium for the chemical process instead of sugar.

You can research Pectin by doing searches on the Internet, but you might get more direct benefit by getting the Ball Blue Book of Preserving (less than $5 + s/h from the Ball canning website) available in most stores selling canning supplies. It is the canner's bible and has a lot of information about making jams and achieving the gel stage.

If you live near a university, check to see if it has a Food Preservation Extension and you might be able to get some more personal assistance. You can also go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation (National Center for Home Food Preservation) and use their search function to find answers to almost anything.

Making jams and jellies is still an "art" in my book and I truly pat the back of those mothers and grandmothers that can do it on a regular basis. With practice you get a feel for it. Me? I still make great syrups on occasion.
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:48 AM   #5
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I agree with Mcnerd. I switched to Pomona pectin this past year making my jams and jellies... it is a far superior product and allows you to use less sugar. I put up much less than I have in the past, but feel that I canned a better product because of the Pomona. I hope you find the answers to your science questions. I'm no help there.
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