Food - Drink
Why The Different Types Of Pectin Matter In Home Canning
Pectin is a type of fiber found in plants that "gels" when combined with water, which creates a semi-solid, spreadable consistency in jams, jellies, and preserves. Some high-pectin fruits like blueberries may not require additional pectin, but when your preserves need some help to thicken up, the type of pectin you choose really matters.
Powdered pectin
The most common pectin variety, powdered pectin, is extracted from high-pectin produce like apples, creating a shelf-stable product that is added right before you start cooking. However, powdered pectin must be boiled and rehydrated before using, and often requires extra sugar to be added to your recipe.
Liquid pectin
Liquid pectin is essentially a re-hydrated version of powdered pectin, which means you can skip the extra boiling step and just pour in the pectin at the end of the jam-making process. While liquid pectin is more convenient than the powdered version, it's also more expensive and doesn't last as long in storage.
Low-sugar pectin
Low-sugar pectin is powdered pectin that contains a small amount of dextrose, which eliminates the need for extra sugar. While it does require another acid like lemon juice to boost its preserving power, low-sugar pectin lets you control how much sugar you add to your jam or jelly, without altering its texture.
Instant pectin
Instant pectin is almost exclusively used to make no-cook "freezer jam," in which fruit puree is mixed with instant pectin and sugar, then frozen, creating a jam with a fresh flavor and no need for extra sterilizing. Freezer jam should always be kept chilled, or else it becomes runny and at risk for bacterial growth and spoilage.
Different types of pectin can be substituted for one another if you follow instructions, convert the measurements, and understand how different pectin sources may change the end result. Pick the kind of pectin that is best for the kind of jam you want to make, whether it be no-cook jam, low-sugar jam, or another type.