In my quest to grow all the things and/or use all the things already growing, I found this interesting blog post showing how to make your own pectin. I realized last year that my nephew who is allergic to corn products cannot eat jam made with commercial pectin because it contains corn products. Last year I tried making strawberry jam without pectin — well it certainly contained no pectin, but it was a lot runnier than I’d like. Still acceptable when said nephew came over and needed jam, but not the best thing I’ve ever done. This year I made a batch of black raspberry jam sans pectin, which worked wonderfully but because you have to cook it down so much, it used a lot of those precious berries for very little jam. Not sure it was worth it although I’m sure my little buddy will enjoy it, as will I.
- I picked a bucket full of crapapples (while throwing the ball for the puppy as a bonus)
- I washed and pulled off leaves and stems and tossed mushy ones. This was honestly the most time consuming part of this project and I got a little bored.
- Then I filled two stockpots with around four inches of water and then added the washed crabapples.
- Boiled them down for awhile (I can’t possibly be expected to keep track of these things- I was washing my floors, getting the puppy out of trouble, and general tasking around the house). But it was probably half an hour? I wandered through the kitchen stirring occasionally and checking to see how mushy the crabapples had gotten.
- Once they were good and mushy, with the skins splitting, I strained them through an old t-shirt in a bucket. I let it drip maybe 15 minutes and then threw the mushy apple flesh into the compost.
- Then I did the pectin test from the website, which was just as simple as she says. You put rubbing alcohol into a small bowl, add a spoonful of the pectin, let it cool and see if it firms up. It firmed right up so I could move on without any more cooking down.
- Pour hot pectin into hot sterilized jars (pulled them right out of a steamy dishwasher). Put on lids and rings. The jars seemed to seal right up – although I was uneasy about not canning them in a hot water bath**.
- Voila! Canned pectin.
- Now I need to find something to make jam with to see how well it works.
- MAKE ALL THE THINGS.
**The only thing I felt not so great about was the canning part. On the blog I read, she said just heat the pectin up and then used heated jars. I did both and they seemed sealed, but a couple days later, one of the jars had mold on the top of it. Hmmm. I hot water bath canned the rest (which looked fine) because I wanted to be sure there was a good seal. No trouble from there on out.
Tonight I used some of my homemade pectin for jam tonight and it worked! I should mention that it uses a lot of the homemade pectin per batch of jam though. The recommendation is 4-6 T. of homemade pectin for every cup of prepared fruit. So I made peach black raspberry jam with 5 cups of fruit, so I used 6 T. pectin x 5 c. fruit = 30 T. pectin / 16 T. per cup = 1.875 c. pectin. (And because I’m a hack I used 2 whole cups which seemed to do the trick.)