DIY: Homemade Pectin Stock

DIY: Homemade Pectin Stock

Put 3-4 pounds chopped apples in a non-reactive pan. Add enough water to barely cover apples and bring to a boil. Lower temperature immediately and let simmer until soft, approximately 20-30 minutes. Pour apples and liquid through a fine sieve into a second pot. Without stirring, let this liquid drain overnight. Bring liquid to a boil and cook until it has reduced to half its original volume. Test pectin content (see instructions below) and continue to cook if necessary. Once liquid pectin reaches the desired strength, store it in the fridge or freezer.

Testing the Pectin Level

To determine the amount of pectin in your liquid, put 1 tsp. the liquid on a plate and add 2 tsp. rubbing alcohol to the mix. Swirl the mixture around until clots start to form. It will amaze you, but it will happen: You will know the strength of the pectin by the size of the clots.

You want a fairly large viscous clot to indicate strong pectin. Weak pectin will show up as several small, scattered clumps. If that is the case, bring the liquid back to a boil and reduce further. And toss out the test batch-you don’t want to return that to the pot. Once the pectin reaches the desired strength, refrigerate, freeze, or can it until you make jam. It will keep in the fridge for up to one week.

Using Homemade Pectin

As a general guide, 2/3 C. liquid pectin is enough to set 4 C. low-pectin prepared fruit or fruit juice. Here again, you have room for whimsy. If you use strawberries (low in pectin) alone, use the full amount of liquid pectin. If you throw in a few currants (high in pectin) with the strawberries, use less liquid pectin. If you use half currants and half strawberries, you might not need any liquid pectin at all.

In the end, willingness to learn by trial and error and to love whatever the outcome is what will win the day.

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