Saturday, August 11, 2012
You Say You Want to Make Some Pectin
I periodically share a recipe with your that includes some of my homemade apple pectin. There is really nothing wrong with commercial pectin. It's made from fruit, but it's very processed. Commercial pectin reduces cooking time, which can be desirable. But a short cooking time isn't the best if you don't want your fruit to float, or if you want to infuse an extra flavor, such as from vanilla beans or cinnamon sticks. Silly me, I like the challenge too. I think I'm getting to know the fruit better when I work with its own pectin. If I discover that it just won't set up on its own, I can add some of this apple pectin for the second try.
I didn't even know you could make your own concentrated pectin until I saw this post from Tigress in a Jam. It's really easy. She cans hers, but I like to keep them in the freezer.
My father-in-law has a McIntosh tree. He LOVES his Macs! The last couple of years, I've gathered the apples that fall to the ground when they are still green to make pectin. You can make pectin from any unripe apple, or you can use granny smith apples. They are loaded with pectin. You can also make pectin from quince, but they are so fragrant and their reduced juice so red, that they will not hide in your jam like this apple pectin will.
This is one of those recipes where you can use any amount you happen to have on hand. I package it in 2/3 cups portions in freezer bags. This seems like the right amount from most batches of jam. My experimental jams tend to work with 6 to 8 cups of prepared fruit. Sometimes I break them in half for medium-pectin fruits or mixtures that include a high-pectin fruit.
Apples - unripe or granny smith
Water to cover the bottom of your pan by 1 inch
Wash the apples. If they have any bruises or wormy spots, trim them away. Chop the apples into 1 inch pieces. Use the peel, cores and seeds. These have a lot of the pectin. Add the apples to a large pan and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the apples are very tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Process the cooked apples through a food mill to remove and discard the skins, cores and seeds. Place a large colander, lined with 3 or 4 layers of cheese cloth, over a large pot. Pour the apple puree and allow it to drain for several hours or overnight. Remove and discard the pulp and cheese cloth.
Bring the remaining juice to a boil. Reduce to a low boil and simmer until it is reduced by half. It will turn slightly pink as it reduces. Allow to cool and measure 2/3 cup portions into marked freezer bags.
Add to low-pectin fruits when making jam. Unlike commercial pectin, this is added at the beginning. Use the frozen spoon and saucer method to test for doneness.
Now, when I share a recipe that includes this good stuff, you will know how to make it for yourself!