Making Pectin At Home
Although available commercially, making your own pectin for a thickener in homemade jams, jellies, or marmalades is incredibly easy and can help to keep your food free of any unnecessary chemicals or processing.
Pectin naturally occurs in most fruits, and when it comes in contact with sugar at a high temperature, it causes a thickening reaction, which accounts for the texture of homemade fruit preserves. Although pectin occurs naturally in most fruits, it is highest in unripe or bitter apples.
8 large, tart apples (Granny Smith or Crabapples are best)
4 cups fresh water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Large stock pot
Sterile jars with lids
Start by washing each apple thoroughly; however, leave the skins intact. Cut each apple into manageable pieces, including the cores, and then place all of the apples in a large stockpot along with the water and lemon juice. Bring everything to a boil and let the apples, water, and lemon juice cook for 45 minutes at just below boiling, or until the liquid is reduced by half.
Remove the pot from the heat and strain everything through the cheesecloth. Pour the remaining liquid back into the pot and boil it for another 20 to 25 minutes before placing the liquid in the sterile jars and sealing them off.
The resulting liquid can be used in any recipe that calls for fruit pectin, allowing you to reduce the amount of sugar used in your jams and keeping everything truly homemade and natural!
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