ARE YOU A PECTIN PURIST OR SOMETHING OF A FRAUD?
I AM A PECTIN PURIST
Pectin purists love that the fruit and pectin are to be found together and all ready for that preserving moment. Pectin is sitting there in the skins of the best fruits and so just combining some of the high pectin fruits with low pectin fruits ensures a perfect set – the gold standard of all jam, marmalade and jelly.
So there is will be no mention of resorting to jam or preserving sugars or commercial pectin when it can be found right there in the fruit.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR HIGH PECTIN FRUITS?
PECTIN PURISTS DO
Pectin is naturally found in the walls of fruit and in the peel and is the component which acts with sugar and acid to achieve a set.
Beryl lists the following in her guide to high pectin content fruit:
Apples, blackcurrants, cranberries, damsons, gooseberries, lemons, acid plums, quinces and redcurrants. To this list I would also add crabapples and citrus peels such as oranges.
Pectin is also higher in under ripe fruits and but is reduced in fruits gathered after a wet weather.
One of my favourite jams is banana and lemon. There is a very small amount of pectin in a banana but a combination with lemon gives a great flavour and does the setting job.
Likewise Beryl’s recipe for banana jam on its own is made with apple juice for setting purposes.
I very often add a small amount of apple with other low pectin fruits such as strawberries. So strawberry and apple jam (the apple tends to disappear and leave a standard strawberry jam) and marrow and ginger with loads of lemon (another of my favourites) and cherry and red currant jam.
Banana and Lemon Jam is the easiest and it is such an understanding recipe as it also includes an hour’s break to catch up on errands, clean the kitchen floor, feed the baby, etc.
BANANA AND LEMON JAM
6 bananas, 3 lemons, 450g (1lb) sugar
Peel and slice bananas, grate lemon rind; squeeze and strain lemon juice; put bananas, rind, and lemon juice into pan, cover with sugar; stand for 1 hour; bring very slowly to boil (this will take about an hour) then boil till set.
This makes about 3lb of jam and while it will keep forever I have found that after a few months the banana becomes rather flaky. So I suggest enjoying it sooner rather than later. Not a problem. Fabulous on banana bread, small dollop on to plain yogurt for breakfast, then on toast, scones and all the many usual spreads.
It is possible to make your own pectin at home to add to a jam recipe if you choose a fruit which does not have high pectin content and this is quite acceptable to pectin purists.
TO MAKE YOUR HOMEMADE PECTIN
1k (2lb) tart green apples or cooking apples or crab apples, 4 cups water, 2 tables spoons lemon juice.
Chop apples but do not peel or core and put in large pot with water and lemon.
Bring to boil and continue until the apples are tender
Strain the pulp and juice through a jelly bag or muslin cloth and boil again until the juice is reduced by half.
Pour into sterilised jars immediately and store in fridge. Use within 4 days.
The quantity required for each recipe will depend on the fruit chosen, overall quantity and can only best be determined using the wrinkle test
NOW ARE YOU A PURIST OR SOMETHING OF A FRAUD?
So confess now and tell me your pectin story