Thursday, August 4, 2011

Homemade Fruit Pectin

You can make pectin for canning from firm green apples picked early in the season. 

   For best results, use slightly under ripe apples that are firm and tart.

   You will need two 5-gallon buckets. Take one and drill holes in the bottom and halfway up the sides of one bucket for drainage. Line with a wet, wrung-out pillow case and set the bucket with holes inside the solid bucket to catch the liquids. Another method is to take an old T-shirt and simply use it in place of cheesecloth to drain the pectin into a large bucket. Secure it with a cord tied around the rim.

  Cut about 5 gallons of green apples into quarters, place in large pot and add water - don't cover the apples but just up until you can see the water.  Bring it to a boil, stir, reduce the heat and stir every 3 to 5 minutes to keep it from scorching.

   When the apples are tender and about the texture of applesauce, pour them with seeds, skins and all into the pillowcase lined bucket or T-shirt covered bucket, cover and let sit overnight.

   The next morning, the pectin will have drained out and collected in the lower catch bucket. Do NOT squeeze the remaining apples as this cause cloudiness in the pectin. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to prevent the pectin from browning. (optional step)

   Once the pectin has cooled, you can test its gelability by mixing 1 teaspoon pectin in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons rubbing alcohol. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then take a fork and if the pectin sticks to and globs up on the fork, it will work well for jam and jelly. If it is loosely hanging from the fork, it will work but will not set up firmly. If  the pectin drips more than an inch from the fork, use the pectin for syrup or you can boil it again and repeat draining it overnight. Syrup is simply a thinner form of jelly and works great for pancakes, waffles and the like. 

* I always boil and strain the peelings from apples when I put up apples or applesauce, add cinnamon and make a syrup for pancakes. My favorite combination is apple cinnamon syrup on gingerbread pancakes.
* You can also boil peach peelings with pits, or cherry pits, etc. for making a tasty syrup. You can even add a little good quality vanilla to it for extra flavor.

Homemade Jelly 

Sterilize jars.

Mix together equal amounts of fruit juice and apple pectin and bring to a full boil. If you use the whole fruit, you will be making jam.

Add 1 and 1/3 cups sugar for each cup of pectin mixture and stir until the sugar dissolves (Do NOT reduce the amount of sugar!)

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for one full minute.

Pour into hot, sterilized jars and top with lid and ring. Tighten well.

Turn the jars upside down for 10 minutes and then return upright to seal them. The jam or jelly should be ready to use the next day.

Store in a cool, dry place.
  Leftover pectin can be frozen or canned for future use!

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