Sunday, September 25, 2011

Making and Canning Pectin from Apples

After making all the applesauce, apple butter, and canned apples from my plethora of apples, I decided to make pectin from all those peelings I had left over (it can be made from quartered whole apples, underripe apples, crabapples, or apple peelings, the greener the apple, the more pectin you can get). Apple pectin can be used in place of the store bought pectin when making jams and jellies... or alone to glaze fruit to add a shine. I like the idea of making my own... I know what's in it and I have it on hand whenever I need it... no running to the store at the last minute because I forgot the Sure-Jel!

Here's what I did...

I placed all those peelings (I had about 10-12 pounds) in a large stockpot. The recipe I found said to use 2 pounds of apples to 2 cups of water... I filled the pot with water to just cover the peelings and heated it all on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until everything was fully cooked (mushy!)

I put a couple layers of cheesecloth in my big colander and strained the mixture.

Since I had so many peelings, I strained my mixture into a food grade bucket (use a bowl, saucepan, stockpot, or whatever you have that will hold the liquid). I covered it up and let it drip all the liquid out overnight (Tip: Don't press the mixture, just let it drip, or the pectin will be cloudy)

I poured the strained liquid into a large saucepan and heated it up. Once it was heated, I tested it for "pectin strength."

I added a few drops of the liquid (cooled) to a small amount of rubbing alcohol to test the strength.

First time, the apple liquid just mixed right in with the alcohol...

So I cooked it down, boiling gently, and testing it about every half hour (I dipped a small amount out and put it in the fridge to cool then tested it)

The pectin should coagulate into a jelly-like mass when added to the alcohol... if it can be picked up with a fork it's concentrated enough, if not, it's too weak and you continue boiling it down to increase the concentration.

Yes, I know what it LOOKS like, but it's what I was going for!
Finally, after 3 or 4 "tests" I got coagulation!!!! Success!

I poured my pectin into hot, half-pint canning jars and tightened hot lids and rings on, then processed them in a boiling water bath for ten minutes (put jars in canner ensuring they are covered with water, bring to a boil and process), then removed them with my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool, and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.

To use in jelly making... 
  • Use 4-6 Tablespoons of homemade pectin for every ONE cup of prepared juice. 
  • Use equal amounts of juice+pectin and sugar to make jelly.
  • Place juice+pectin and sugar in a large saucepan and place over medium-high heat.
  • Stir constantly to keep it from burning to the bottom of the pan
  • After jelly comes to a full, rolling boil, let it do so for about a minute.
  • To test, dip a large spoon into jelly mixture then hold it over the pan sideways.
  • If the jelly falls off the spoon in a sheet rather than a drop, it is ready.
*Note: Adding homemade pectin to fruits which are low in pectin will not affect the flavor of the original fruit and will help bring the fruit mixture to a "soft-set" without excessive cooking.

Canning Granny©2011 All Rights Reserved


  1. I had no clue you could make your own pectin. Of course I only used pectin today for the first time. I might try this next time I get a source of free apples.

  2. Go for it... it's not hard! ~~Granny

  3. This is awesome information! Thanks!

  4. thank you i will be making this

  5. To canning Grannie ,
    Its been quite a while since I have seen my mother can when i was little , As I grew up I never really paid a lot of attention to what she done but do remember some things still even after she passed away . i had always taken some things for advantage as you can buy the stuff already canned in tin . It wasnt untill a few years back when i became unemployed and didnt get hardly any assistance from our goverment though I have worked since i was 12 . I got in a bind and had no food at all and happened to remember that mother had canned some beans and other things and that i had never thrown any of it away when i had cleaned out the building as at that time something told me to leave it alone . Well I had no choice and had to eat so I opened up a jar that had the lid still down and was a little over 14years old from when she put it up . So I decided to fix it for supper . I figured i would get sick but never did . All that she had canned that I ate was over 10+ years old . The food actually taste like it hadnt been long put up and For several months I done this till I got lucky and had found another job . For several years I never really gave thought to replacing those canned goods as i had always been able to keep a decent suppluy of tinned canned goods on the shelf . However with times being like they are and people loosing jobs and old timers who have been with a company a long time I have found myself a target for termination as i make too much < less than 28k a year > and lord forbid the CEO has to have a least a few million as he cannot live off of anything less and if they can hire someone to take my place for minimum wage they will do so as i live in . I came to the conclusion that tinned goods DO NOT LAST AS LONG AS JARRED ones and had gotten sick off of a can that was 4 years old . Now for my questions . I would like to can potatoes and soups , I have heard that pressure canning is best but mother just used a canning pot on a stove to do the canning and now i see these vacuum sealers with canning attachments but which of these methods should i use ?

    1. Bless your heart... isn't it great to have home canned goods to fall back on? As for a method of canning, anything that is low acid MUST be pressure canned to prevent spoilage. Potatoes, soups, and anything with meat in them are low acid (as are most vegetables, except tomatoes) Fruits, tomatoes, jams, jellies, pickles and relishes may be canned in a boiling water bath because they are high acid foods and the acidity will help the preserving process. Vacuum sealers are wonderful for sealing jars filled with dry foods (dried beans, things you dehydrate, etc.) but not for canning. If you have a pressure canner, read the instructions and follow them carefully, the instruction booklet that comes with your canner will have a list of times and pounds of pressure needed to preserve each food. If you plan to can something that includes multiple ingredients, follow the times and pounds of pressure for the ingredient that needs the longest processing time. Good luck on your quest! And thank you so much for reading!

  6. When I'm making applesauce (the bulk of my apple-related stores), I don't peel them first as I run them through my food mill after cooking. Can I use this cooked pulp/skin that's left from my mill to make pectin or do I need to start peeling first? Thanks so much for this info! With my own great-grandmother gone for nearly two decades (she was the last in my family to preserve), I'm so grateful for your willingness to share! I no longer have to muddle through on my own. The skills and knowledge you're passing on here is concurrently being passed to my four children so these things aren't lost!

    1. Most of the pectin is near the peel so I would recommend peeling... of course if you have any green apples or crabapples, they're loaded with pectin and you can use the whole fruit to make pectin... and the core has quite a bit. The greener the better for pectin. ~~Granny

  7. What if you don't use the whole jar of pectin? Should you just toss it in the fruit anyway, or refrigerate it (how long will it last in the refrigerator? Can it be frozen? Or throw it away?

  8. Thankyou for that.I had only recently learnt that i could make my own pectin and had been wondering whether it could then be canned and stored for later use.What sort of shelf life does it have.
    Jane from Aus.

    1. As far as I can tell, it lasts several years... I've had mine a couple years and it's still good. ~~Granny

  9. Can you freeze the peelings and use them later to make/can the pectin?

  10. I just tried to make this pectin, but I could never get the coagulation. Cooked it down till there was hardly any left, still no coagulation. Any ideas as to what might have went wrong? I did every thing you did, right down to weighing the peelings. I was so disappointed, but I want to try again because my kids will only eat the jellies I make lol. Any pointers would be much appreciated. Thanks, Jimi

    1. When I first tried (with whole chopped apples), I didn't have much more than a few hours (and therefore no patience), and had this same problem. Kept testing and no coagulation.

      The other day, I tried again. I boiled the whole lot for a long time, 5-6 hours maybe, before straining through a shirt (/cheesecloth). It took a very long time to drip, overnight and into the next afternoon, but it seems to jell pe

    2. *perfectly. There is still not a whole lot of pectin, but I imagine you simply need a lot to get a lot. I made some tasty apple sauce out of the leftover (strained) apples so there was no waste!


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