How to make your own pectin
This is really easy to make and gives a much milder flavour to your jams. It is a perfect sunny Saturday project. Start at the market and end with half a dozen jars of jam to enjoy throughout the year.
Start by buying a quart of fresh apples that have just been picked (around labour day you can get cortlands, which are firm for pie and MacIntosh blends, which are soft for sauce). There should be 5-7 apples, depending on the size.
I use an apple corer to cut them. The core, peel and seeds go in a turkey brining bag with half a lemon cut in quarters. Knot the top. The apple slices go in the pot. Add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Pour the contents into a wet/rinsed jelly bag and let stand to drain for at least 2 hours. The rationale behind wetting it first is to that the fabric doesn’t absorb any of your precious liquid.
- Ladle the liquid into sterilized jars and process for 5 minutes. It is necessary to sterilize the jars first.. You should get at least 2 pint size jars from this process. Jam-size jars are also okay but not quarts. If you are making the jam right away, simply measure out how much liquid you need as per the instructions below.
- The pulp should have separated from the skins; reheat and process the apple-pulp in 1 cup jars to use for baking. Alternatively, you can mix half of it in the jam you’re going to make (see below) to increase the volume. There should be about 4 cups.
- Compost the skins and contents of the brine bag.
How do you use this rose-coloured (natural pectin) water?
For each cup of fruit, mix in 1 cup of your pectin and ¾ cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil hard, stirring constantly. After 10 minutes it should form a gel. Ladle into sterilized jars and process for 5 minutes. It is necessary to sterilize the jars first.
If you are using berries, the proportions work out nicely because these fruits are sold in pints or quarts at the market. For example this combination should give you 5-6 jars of jam:
- 1 quart strawberries (4 cups), hulled and quartered OR 1 pint each of raspberries and blackberries
- 2 pint jars of liquid pectin (4 cups)
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 cups of left over apple sauce (optional but without it this will make about 3-4 cups of jam)