Pectin-free canning is a wonderful way to create healthier jams, jellies and preserves. If you are new to pectin-free canning or if you’re an old hand with commercial pectin, here are some subtle differences you ought to be aware of.
Jellies and jams made without commercial pectin take on a darker hue. Longer cooking time leads to a more concentrated product. Jellies (most often) remain penetrable by the light while jams are often too thick. Does it matter? Only if you put home-canned goods on display!
A Fruitier Flavor
Pectin-free, home canned goods have a richer fruit flavor and jelly, particularly so. Longer cooking time intensifies and concentrates the natural zip, sweetness and richness of goods. If you prefer to taste fruit instead of sugar, you are well-suited to pectin-free canning!
A Thicker End Product
While jellies remain as jelly and preserves as preserves, jam contains high volumes of fruit in contrast to jelled substance. Do you like light, jelly-like jams or robust, chunky spreads? Generally speaking, natural-pectin jams are the latter and will stick to homemade bread in a most delightful way!
Requires More Fruit to Fill Jars
Instead of jelling extra juices with purchased pectin, a portion of the liquid will evaporate off as you wait for goods to thicken. The result? It takes more fruit to fill the jars! For some, this is a positive. For others, a negative.
Costs May Be Higher
Because old-fashioned canning requires more fruit, it may be less cost-effective. Did you purchase, grow or forage the fruit? How much is available to you?
Also take into account the amount of gas/electricity it takes to thicken goods. In order to keep costs down, be sure to use the 3 techniques for successful pectin-free canning.
The Option of Alternative Sweeteners
Pectin-free canning allows for lowered sugar content. It also enables the use of alternative sweeteners (such as raw honey). However, be aware that jams, jellies or preserves with reduced sugar content will spoil much sooner in the refrigerator. Canning in smaller amounts that will be used in 7-14 days time is recommended for sugar-conscious consumers.
It Takes Time and Patience
Making pectin-free, home-canned goods requires time. This is why its important to follow the 3 techniques to ensure a speedy thickening.
If you are already overwhelmed with a summer to-do list a mile long, perhaps you should consider the 100% natural (and relatively cheap) option of Pomona’s Pectin (not affiliated).
Is Pectin-Free Canning for You?
Wholesome and frugal as pectin-free canning is, this method isn’t suited to everyone. Sometimes, we need to invest the required time into more important things.
Does canning fill or drain you? Is it taking time you know is needed elsewhere (housekeeping, resting, relationships, getting outdoors)?
If so, let this old fashioned method slide by and consider using the all-natural Pomona’s Pectin (not affiliated).
About Pomona’s Pectin
While I’ve never used Pomona’s myself, its very popular among sugar conscious canners.
Made from the natural pectin found in citrus peels, it relies not upon sugar, but instead calcium water for a set. Because of this, sugar content (and alternative sweeteners) can be significantly reduced in recipes. The setting of home-canned goods is swift and sure.
The product is vegan, gluten free and non GMO. Unlike other purchased pectin, Pomona’s enables you to double or even triple your recipe without complications.
The down side is that it does cost. You can purchase a 6 oz box for $27.95 on Amazon (USD). One ounce of this pectin makes 22 half-pint (8 oz) jars of jam.
Are you unsettled about home-canned goods with high sugar content and the time pectin-free canning consumes? Pomona’s may put you at ease on both levels!
It’s Up to You!
So there it is! What do you think? Is pectin-free canning the very thing you were looking for? Or should be looking at other alternatives (such as Pomona Pectin)?