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  • The Power of One October 23, 2014
    I believe in the power of using native plants in whatever landscape that man designs and creates. I believe in the power of using locally native plants to restore some small ecological balance back to a landscape that man has ripped apart. I believe that choosing to do so has an impact that, magnified by […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Seed collecting for school gardens October 20, 2014
    If you’re already thinking about next year’s school garden, this is the time to pick up your seeds: they are cheaper now than at pretty much any other time of the year. When I say “pick up” seeds, I mean it literally. Go out to your fading garden and get them. Collecting seeds takes only a […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beauti […]
    Stacey Evers
  • Inviting Dragonflies to Lunch in the Garden October 17, 2014
    I noticed someone enjoying a bit of lunch in the garden recently.  It was an Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis) and based on the coloration, a male. Males become pruinose blue with white claspers and a green face.” More often than not when I come across an Eastern Pondhawk in the garden it is one […] We love hearing from you! Please click […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Desert Ants are Dynamic October 11, 2014
    June was National Pollinator month, and many folks decided to help insect pollinators by planting flowers. Now for some not so popular insects that are also highly beneficial for the garden, but few people welcome them – ants. Indeed, some people are of the belief that the only good ant is a dead ant. While […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to […]
    Jacqueline Soule
  • Strays in the Garden October 10, 2014
    Hear the word stray and most likely you think of a dog or cat running the neighborhood while some irresponsible owner is oblivious to the whereabouts of their pets. My area?  We get a different category of strays.  Next door currently has a stray chicken hanging around.  A couple of weeks ago, a gang of […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • The Baby American Goldfinch in the Garden October 9, 2014
    Recently a fellow writer published a noticeably well researched post about the American Goldfinch. I was surprised to learn from reading this informative piece that this- early fall- is the American Goldfinch’s breeding season, and they only have one brood per year. A couple days later I was working at a clients home and saw […] We love hearing from you! Ple […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Sassafras October 7, 2014
    You know the question, “If you were a tree, what tree would you be?” My quick answer would be, “A sassafras tree.” I’ve had a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in Virginia, since 1992. During that time I’ve hiked my mountain up and down, getting to know all the things that grow here. I […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • The Lowly Carpet Beetle October 6, 2014
    The scientific name for this tiny insect is the varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci).  Carpet beetles are pests in the home and in natural history museums.  The adult beetles eat pollen and nectar, but their larvae feed on biological fibers from carpets, clothing, feathers, plus insect and animal collections. Carpet beetle larvae hatch from eggs […] We […]
    Judy Burris
  • Gardening Change of Attitude October 3, 2014
    YIKES!  Another year flew by and this article begins my fifth year as a writer here at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. Four years in the tank…every Friday since October 8, 2010.  Mother Nature has provided so many interesting encounters to share in my  208 articles.  I begin article 209 with how things have molded my gardening […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Loret T. Setters

#GardenChat

Make Your Own Pectin

“If you have an apple and I have an apple

and we exchange these apples

then you and I will still each have one apple.

But if you have an idea and I have an idea

and we exchange these ideas,

then each of us will have two ideas.”

~George Bernard Shaw

It’s (almost) autumn in New York and the apple harvest is so inviting! Who can resist orchard rows aligned with gnarled old trees full of bright, juicy jewels in greens, golds and reds?! The mere sight of them makes my heart sing and my mouth water. It’s time for appple pie, applesauce, apple juice and …pectin. Yes, pectin! It’s a great way to use the apple peels and cores you’d otherwise compost and can save you a bit of money.

Fruits and vegetables naturally contain various amounts of pectin (defined as “collodial carbohydrates soluble in water”) which diminishes as they age. Some fruits, like apples, blackberries, quince, and Eastern concord grapes are naturally high in pectin. Others like peaches, pears, and strawberries are naturally low in pectin. If you like to make jams and jellies or preserve fruit in the freezer you will use pectin to help prevent the fruit from turning brown and to help your jelly ‘set.’ Commercial pectin is widely available in stores, but it’s also very easy to make fresh from local fruit in season…especially apples which don’t lend a strong flavor to whatever you are preserving. Why not give it a try?

Apple Pectin

  1. Wash all of the apples well.
  2. Place the peels, cores, any windfall fruit or pomace you are using into a pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer the fruit until it’s soft, about 30 minutes. (Whole apples should be cut into chunks.)
  3. Strain through cheesecloth until it stops dripping. This can take a while, if you don’t mind cloudy jelly (or you’re using the pectin for freezing fruit) you can hasten the process by gently squeezing the cloth to extract the liquid.
  4. Return the cooked fruit to the pot, cover with more water and repeat the process again, cooking for only half the time, about 15 minutes.
  5. Now the liquid must be reduced to a concentrate. Place all of the liquid back into a pot and bring to a simmer. As it reduces, it will become smooth and have a slick texture. When the liquid reduces by half it can be used in a 1:1 ratio with low pectin fruit to make jelly. (One cup of pectin for every cup of juice.) It can also be mixed with low-pectin fruit before freezing to prevent darkening. Allowing the liquid to reduce down further to 1/4 of the original volume makes a thick pectin syrup similar to the liquid pectin available in stores. It will only require 1/4 c. of the pectin syrup for every 4 cups of juice when making jelly. (Follow the directions for canning jams and jellies with commercial liquid pectin.)
  6. Extra pectin can be frozen for later use.

It may take a bit of experimenting before you are familiar with the process, but don’t let that keep you from trying it. The pectin is also great for mixing into tea with a bit of honey to soothe sore throats. Nature really has it all..

Happy harvest!

4 comments to Make Your Own Pectin

  • This is a great idea Lisa. Neither of my young apple trees are producing any fruit yet but I’m saving this to try in the future.

  • I can use crabapples can’t I? I had heard that I could. And I have the little tiny ones in abundance.

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Hi Melanie! It’s easy and saves a bit of money, but the best part is making it and using it fresh! Enjoy!

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Yes, Trina, you can use any fruit that is naturally high in pectin. Bear in mind the flavors, though, as they may be imparted to whatever you are preserving. We have crabapples, but I leave them for the deer to munch all winter so I’ve just used the cores and peels from our windfall apples and a few leftovers from pies etc. :-)

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