From apples? Citrus peel? Is it worth all the effort? I'm more concerned with aesthetics than anything else. So if it's better to go with store-bought pectin, that's an option.
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Cathy is a food preserving expert and author of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving.
I have made pectin from green apples. That's unripe, not granny smith apples. It's a project, that's for sure, and you'll need to coordinate with a farmer to get unripe apples. I found it very consistent as a gelling agent for low pectin jams and preserves. It was not crystal clear, and therefore was not my favorite choice for jellies.
What color was it? Is is possible to do just using the peels? I.e.: use apples as usual in a recipe and save all the peels to make pectin.
The color was exactly the same as the liquid pectin you buy from Certo, sort of pale yellow and opaque. The pectin comes from seeds, cores and peels, so you could try to use scraps, but a ripe apple will not provide sufficient pectin. It's all about the UNRIPE apple. Nothing ventured nothing gained... if you have scraps, give it a try.
Worth a try! Thank you.
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Did you try making pectin this way? I've just made about a pint of apple pectin using the cores, seeds and peels of a large bag of hard, green apples (very tart, from my neighbor's tree). It looks like the stuff I've seen in photos of others who've written about this on their blogs, including MrsW. I'm wondering how yours turned out. ;o)
My current preference for pectin stock? Gooseberries. They add less flavor than the apples do (but even the apples add very little flavor.) I've also made it from crabapples and from citrus peels and seeds.
Alas, gooseberries are hard to source here, and so expensive. If I'm peeling and coring 30+ pounds of apples over the course of the summer for pies, chutneys, pickles, mostardas, etc., and can keep them in the freezer until ready to boil, that's more sensible to me. I can make any jam without pectin, though they are always a bit looser than what my family prefers. I like using the pith and pips of lemons in cheesecloth, similar to what others have mentioned, to give the natural pectin a boost. I took an advanced class with Rachel Saunders last summer that was a real eye opener, in many ways. I find her jams much too sweet, though her Valencia orange and lemon marmalade is one for the ages. Seriously. Have several jars (I don't use plastic bags, for environmental reasons) of unsweetened apple pectin, made using the method MrsW posted on her blog last year (or was it before?), which I froze and plan to use this weekend in a nectarine, yellow plum + Gewurtz jam that's macerating right now. Not the best test case, perhaps, given how much pectin the local plums always seem to have. It's probably the last jam of the season, and I need those jars of pectin out of my freezer. Stay tuned . . . ;o)
I've made (successfully) with orange pith. Put the pith in a cheesecloth and boiled it with the fruit while making the jam; took it out before putting the jam in jars. My issue -- what is the right ratio, whether green apples or citrus pith, or something else? For me, it was all a guess.
In the FWIW department, I've found that I can make almost every jam/jelly set using lemon juice instead of pectin. Again, I probably put in more than I need to "just to be safe". Even some remarkably low natural pectin fruits have jelled nicely (although it is a softer set than with commercial pectin). The only fruit I haven't had luck with: rhubarb jelly. Don't know why. After way too much syrup (although it can be used to make a lovely rhubarb gin fizz, but I digress), I now always use commercial pectin with the rhubarb.
I assume you're making jam. Is so, just skip the pectin altogether and you'll end up with tastier jam. Take a look at the Blue Chair Jam Book for an example of a typical method of jam making without pectin. Basically, she just cooks it longer, until it starts to thicken. I make lots of jam and since I stopped using pectin, I think it tastes better and I avoid the overly solid jam that I used to get from time to time.