One of our apple trees - the honeycrisp - really overproduced fruit this year. We picked some green apples off the tree in June, but recently had to pick even more fruit off of the tree.
This much, in fact:
bowl full of unripe honeycrisp apples from the tree in our backyard
So...having a plethora of green apples I pondered what to do with them. I could have made pies with them, or tried making some applesauce. I might have pickled them.
But I finally decided to try my hand making homemade fruit pectin.
The first step in making green apple fruit pectin is to wash and cut the apples. I quartered most of them, but cut the small ones in half.
Then I put them in my small water bath canner and filled the pot with water to cover the apples.
filling the pot of apples with water
Then I set them on the stovetop and brought them up to a boil. Then I turned down the heat and let them simmer. This batch simmered for about 5 hours.
apples and water simmering on the stovetop
After they were extremely soft and slushy and the water had reduced quite a bit I prepared another stock pot by setting a colander lined with cheesecloth inside it on top of the pot.
I then poured the green apple slush into the colander and let the liquid drip through.
straining the apple mixture
I set it aside overnight to drain.
This is what the apple mixture looked like after a night of draining:
apple mixture after overnight straining - liquid pectin has been drained out
and this is what the final product looked like in the pot:
homemade liquid fruit pectin
In the end it yielded 7 cups of homemade fruit pectin.
7 cups of homemade liquid fruit pectin
I then refrigerated the liquid pectin until I had time to get around to finishing the project.
The next step was testing the pectin.
supplies and ingredients needed to test the homemade fruit pectin
To test homemade pectin take one teaspoon of the liquid pectin and place it in a small dish with 1 Tablespoon of rubbing alcohol (70% works fine). If the mixture creates one large glob you have a strong fruit pectin. If it forms smaller globs it's a weaker pectin.
a view of our homemade pectin after the alcohol test
You *must* discard this test product. Never return it to your batch of pectin as rubbing alcohol is not an edible item.
If you want to improve the strength of your pectin simply return the liquid to a stockpot and continue to cook it down reducing it. Test again with a small sample.
I wanted to preserve the liquid pectin by canning it so I went ahead and did some research as to what the right amount would be when preparing jams and jellies. For my purposes I brainstormed what fruits I typically used in making jams and jellies. Some fruits are naturally high in pectin (apples, grapes) and others are quite low (raspberries, strawberries). I also prefer to make low sugar versions and needed to come up with a method that would allow me to continue this practice.
After a fair amount of research I decided to use 8 oz. jars to preserve the homemade fruit pectin.
Homemade fruit pectin is water bath canned and processed for 10 minutes. The process is very similar to canning jams and jellies, actually.
First you heat the homemade pectin to a boil. Then you fill your jars, one at a time, leaving about 1/2" headspace.
using a canning jar funnel to fill the jars with homemade fruit pectin
Then you center a lid on the top of the jar and tighten it down with a ring.
one jar filled and with lid and ring on ready to go in the water bath canner
Place that filled jar back in your water bath canner and fill the next jar until all are filled and back in the canner.
6 half pint jars of homemade fruit pectin ready to be canned
6 half pints of homemade fruit pectin
As for using the homemade fruit pectin in making jams and jellies, most instructions I read stated that a 1:1 ratio of fruit (or fruit juice) to homemade fruit pectin was needed for low sugar jams and jellies. Most of my jam and jelly recipes use 5 cups of fruit or fruit juice and I usually add about 1/4 cup of sugar to help retain the bright fruit colors.
Traditional jams and jellies using large amounts of sugars typically need 2/3 cup of liquid pectin for 4 cups of fruit or fruit juice. This is assuming added sugar of about 7 cups for 4 cups of fruit or fruit juice.
- A 40 something mama meandering through life with an eclectic 21 year old boy-man (the boy), an 8 year old girl (big girl) who is a ball of lightening, and a 4 year old girl (baby girl) who brightens our lives with her smiles. I'm grounded by my 40 something husband and partner (the hubster) whose quirky mannerisms brighten my days.
I've been a single mama, married mama, divorced mama, career mama, SAHM, and WAHM. There was a short time of my life when I wasn't a mama, but that was a LONG time ago!
I hold an AA, BS, and MA and most say I'm wasting them by devoting my intellectual capabilities and energy in the nurture of the wee ones that I've been entrusted to raise, but there is nothing else I'd rather be doing these days. :)
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