Apple Pectin

I mentioned in my last post that I had made pectin to go into a delicious Rhubarb Prosecco Jelly recently. I followed this recipe for apple pectin from the Local Kitchen Blog, that the jelly recipe had referred to.

It would have been interesting to make the Meyer Lemon Pectin that the recipe also had mentioned as an option, but as luck would have it, a few days before my friend and I were going to get together to make the jelly, my husband had brought home a whole bunch of apples that he got for free. (He had been somewhere with a group of people that had all gotten box lunches, and no one had eaten their apples. When he called to ask if I wanted them all I jumped on it!)

The free apples were McIntosh variety and I made applesauce with the good part (which we all ate pretty much right away) and put all the cores and peels into the freezer for a few days until I was ready to make the pectin:

The night I was ready to make the pectin I pulled them all out of the freezer. Following the recipe, I put all the “leavings” in my Dutch oven and boiled them for about two hours that night while I was watching TV and doing other things:

At the end of the boiling I strained the cores and peels using my strainer. I got this strainer at a garage sale years ago and have been using it ever since. You don’t see them sold too much anymore (although I did see a set at Victoria’s Capital Iron the other day – the first time I had seen them for sale in years) and they’re very useful for anything where you want something to sit and drain for hours. In this case, I let the mixture drain overnight into a low dish:

And in the morning, gathered up the pretty liquid and boiled it for another hour or so to reduce it:

And eventually put it into the water bath canner so that I could save it to use during the summer jam season.

The recipe made quite a lot, I had the six cups shown in this photo plus another two cups that I saved for the Rhubarb Prosecco Jelly and another cup that I couldn’t fit in the canner to process it:

Now I’ll be the first to say that this pectin didn’t work out amazingly – or so I think. I didn’t mention in the other post that the jelly turned out a bit rubbery. I’m not an expert on these things but we did have to cook it a long time to get it to a gel point, and I think it was probably the pectin that had something to do with that. Because I made the pectin with McIntosh apples and not green apples or something that is higher in pectin itself, I think that it didn’t do as great of a job setting the jelly as it could have if I had made the pectin with less ripe or green apples. (As a point of comparison, I made the Concord Grape Jelly this past weekend, using a Certo powdered pectin instead of a homemade one, and it set up incredibly fast.) However, even though the rhubarb jelly is a little rubbery, it is still “gelled” and is still incredibly delicious!

I’ll continue to make my own pectin here and there, but this summer I’ll be looking for the vendor at the Shirley market that I met last year, from whom I purchased crab apples and made crab apple pectin. I haven’t Googled it, but something tells me that crab apples are probably higher in pectin than McIntosh’s – because of their tartness – and so I might return to that practice in the future when making liquid pectin. I had made Damson plum jam with that crab apple pectin last summer and it worked well.

So, that’s how you make apple pectin. So easy, and a great way to use up stuff that would otherwise go in the compost. And now I need to find a recipe to use my 1 cup still left in the fridge!

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