Homemade Apple Pectin

Homemade apple pectin in a jar and on toast

​The Spruce 

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Straining overnight: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 64 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
2 Calories
0g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 64
Amount per serving
Calories 2
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Jams and jellies need a substance called pectin in order to gel. Some fruits are naturally high in pectin, such as apples and citrus fruits, but others, such as berries, don't have as much. There are some ways to mitigate this challenge when you're making jam with low-pectin fruits. Adding commercial liquid or powdered pectin is one way to get a low-pectin fruit jelly to gel. But you can save money with a totally natural approach by making an equivalent product from apples.

Homemade liquid pectin can be made from apple scraps, meaning the cores and peels, or unpeeled cored and cubed apples. Just stockpile these in the freezer until you have enough for the recipe. Be sure to use organically grown fruit if you are using the peels because the chemicals and pesticides will transfer into the pectin otherwise.

Use your homemade pectin to make jelly with low pectin fruit. Combine equal parts low pectin fruit juice and an equal amount of homemade pectin. Measure the combined liquid, and then follow a jelly recipe for how much sugar and acid (usually lemon juice) to add.

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts apples (cores and peels, or whole unpeeled apples chopped into 1-inch chunks)
  • 1 gallon water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for apple pectin
    ​The Spruce
  2. Place the apples in a large pot. Add enough water to not quite cover the apples. Bring to a boil.

    Place the apples in water
    ​The Spruce 
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples start to become mushy. This can take as long as an hour.

    Apples cooked in a Dutch oven
    ​The Spruce
  4. Strain overnight through a jelly bag or through a colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Compost the pulp left in the bag or colander. The slightly thick liquid that strained into the pot is apple pectin.

    Reduced apples strained through cheesecloth for pectin
    ​The Spruce 
  5. Use the apple pectin in your favorite homemade jelly or jam.

    Pectin in homemade jelly on toast
    ​The Spruce 
  6. Enjoy!

Tips

  • Keep in mind that tart, under-ripe apples contain more pectin than sweet, ripe ones.
  • Use about 1/4 cup apple pectin per cup of fruit for jams. For jellies, use 1/4 cup apple pectin per cup of fruit juice. Measure the combined pectin and juice and add an equal amount of sugar.

How to Store and Freeze Homemade Apple Pectin

For future use, you can either freeze apple pectin or can it.

To can it, heat the strained pectin just to a boil. Pour into clean pint canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch of headspace. Secure the lids, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust the canning time if you live at a high altitude).

To freeze, transfer the pectin to freezer-safe containers (small jam jars will work, especially ones geared toward freezer jam) and freeze for up to 6 months.

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