Label Decoder: Pectin


By: , – Toby Amidor, Food Network’s Healthy Eats
  :  15 comments   :  16,532 Views

You’ve seen it on hundreds of labels and may have even used it in your own kitchen — learn all the need-to-know facts about this additive.

What Is It?

Pectin is a gelatin-like substance that is naturally found in some fruits. It’s often added to jams and jellies to help cooked fruits reach a gel-like consistency. It can also be used to thicken barbecue sauce, cranberry sauce, canned frosting and yogurt. Some homemade jellies may call for high pectin fruit such as quince, concord grapes, currants, raspberries or apples in order to help thicken them. Fruit that is slightly underripe contains more pectin than fruits that have fully ripened. 

Commercial pectins can be found on the market in liquid or powdered form. The liquid pectin is made from apples, while the powdered version is made from citrus fruits. Some folks like to use the commercial pectins to speed up the jam and jelly cooking process.

Click here for more information on pectin from Food Network.

More from Food Network:Have you used pectin? What label terms would you like us to decode next?

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  • 15
    I would like to know what Guar Gum is. I see it in foods all the time. - 12/6/2013   2:23:03 PM
    Congratulations Bellydogs. It is great to have your own fruits for jams and you have a lot of fruits. I only have mangoes. - 8/23/2012   12:36:39 AM
  • 13
    I've used it to make preserves. I love peach preserves! - 8/21/2012   10:34:39 PM
  • 12
    I have used pectin when making jams because you don't have to cook the fruit as long to get it to thicken. That way, the jam keeps a fresher flavor and brighter color.
    - 8/9/2012   1:21:23 PM
  • 11
    I have been making jams and preserves for more than 10 years. We had 30 fruit trees in our back yard so had plenty of fruit to use up. Gave it away as Christmas and birthday gifts and sold it to raise funds for charity. Have actually sold jams in Africa and Scotland, so there are people around the world that know about my gourmet jams. I use SureJell low/no sugar variety as it gives the freshest fruit flavor. Only takes about 20 minutes to cook a batch of jam. You don't get raisin flavor, you get grape flavor, that's why I use the pectin. - 8/9/2012   1:13:25 PM
  • 10
    Thank you KGWINDER for that information! What a great idea and talk about being resourceful! - 8/9/2012   11:39:11 AM
  • 9
    My mom and I make jam almost every year and it's not about the jam (although it tastes so much better), it's about spending time with my mom, daughter, and nieces. - 8/9/2012   9:06:12 AM
  • 8
    I read about pectin in grape juice for joints and started yesterday. - 8/9/2012   8:54:24 AM
  • 7
    good to know, I guess - 8/9/2012   7:51:06 AM
  • 6
    I always used Pectin I preferred the powdered kind for my jams. I also have drunk pectin on advice from a GP for IBS. Not really sure it worked but I drank it anyway and hope it was that helping since something did. Pat in Maine. - 8/8/2012   11:06:33 PM
  • BCOOP3
    I actually made my own pectin this year with the tart, immature apples from my neighbor's & my trees. This is my first year trying to can at all, and the 1st attempts were weak (semi-jelled) but I think I've got it down now =) Nice to know exactly where it's coming from! - 8/8/2012   9:04:30 PM
  • 4
    My mother use to make a lot of jam when I was growing up, but I find it cheaper to buy it when it is on sale usually in the fall. - 8/8/2012   7:24:53 PM
    When I make jam, I use a larger portion of normal sugar (granulated) and a smaller portion of a "jam sugar", also granulated, containing pectin as well as potassium sorbate. - 8/8/2012   5:15:32 PM
  • 2
    I have an apple pie recipe where you peel the apples and boil the peels. These thicken up - natural pectin. Then you mix this sauce with spices and pour over sliced apples with some lemon zest. No added sugar or thickeners. It is never runny and the best. I crumble some granola over the top. - 8/8/2012   5:09:48 PM
  • 1
    I wish these "Guest Blogger" posts didn't have off-site links. I hate least this one tells you you are being sent off site.

    reasonable information on this one, though, not sure what the point is... - 8/8/2012   2:47:16 PM

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