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!|
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.
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