Pectin test.

I thought I might add my two cents to conversations on the internet about pectin – particularly since the first one I found was atrocious:

Windygales, you obviously didn’t know what you were talking about in your initial post, but thanks for the quick turnaround via BBC food. Her question actually wasn’t ‘what is pectin?’ though, so your second answer is just as useless as your first.

The rest of the conversation has a similar confused, incorrect or speaking-just-for-the-sake-of-it tone.

Who doesn’t have methylated spirits around their house? And why are they referred to as meths?

Pectin is a naturally occuring gelling agent in fruit. You can extract it by cooking beforehand. It is assisted by natural acids in the fruit, and you can increase the gelling process by adding lemon juice or tartaric acid. Over-ripe or stale fruit, as well as whole fruit cooked into a preserve, will have less pectin also. Do the pectin test before adding the sugar to determine how much you will need.

Fruits high in pectin and acid:
Currants (red, black and white)
Loganberries
Firm raspberries
Mulberries
Firm, ripe plums  (teehee)
Green apples
Quinces
Citrus
Fruits low in pectin or acid (little to none.)
Pears
Peaches
Sweet cherries
Very ripe grapes
Apricots
Strawberries
Melon
Overripe figs

How I pectin test (alcohol method):
Requires: methylated spirits, boiled fruit, a jar and a lid.

Cover fruit with water and cook between 15-45 minutes (depends on the type), and add 1 tablespoon of that liquid to a jar. Add 3 tablespoons of metho to the jar and shake thoroughly for a minute. Allow to stand for two minutes and pour from one container to another, or stir with a fork. If the mixture has clotted, there’s plenty of pectin present and I will add 3/4 of a cup of sugar to one cup liquid, and about 50mLs of citrus juice per 2 cups of liquid.

If there is not, I will cook for another half hour, then re-test. If needed I will increase the sugar/liquid ratio to 1:1 and add an extra 25mls acid per cup, or purchase pectin from a store (absolutely last option, and I still haven’t needed to buy any yet…)

For further reading, here’s a page whose author knows how to make a jam or two. Maybe even jellies, curds and compotes. It’s got good images of how to test for pectin, and gives you a few more choices than I have (jelmeter test, spoon sheet test, refractometer test).

About kellymarietheartist

I am an artist who, up until recently, was living and exhibiting within Toowoomba and the greater Granite Belt district. I have since packed up and left Australia, and am currently living and working in England. My work engages the craft involved in handmaking within a contemporary art context. I am drawn to the physicality of repetitive textile processes, and this is transcribed though the tactile quality of my forms. In particular, processes such as crochet, sewing and rug making serve as a proxy for growth within my personal environment. Many of my works imitate situations in nature, and they form organically as I create each individual piece, each addition both a continuation and re-enforcement of its predecessors. I enjoy using recycled materials for many of my works. Using crochet and other textile techniques to do this is an important part of my work as it celebrates a tradition of craft that has historically been relegated to 'women's work', with all the negative connotations that entails.
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2 Responses to Pectin test.

  1. Pingback: Blackberry, elderberry, crab apple and cherry plum jelly from foraged fuit | kellymariemcewan

  2. Pingback: Paste-up, découpage or papier mâché glue | kellymariemcewan

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