Make Your Own Pectin for Canning

Its easy and inexpensive

We all go to the store and buy liquid pectin, but why it is so easy to make.  Pectin is a natural substance that’s found in all fruits.  Apples and crab apples contain the highest concentrations of pectin.  As fruit ripens, it loses pectin.  Barely ripe fruit will have the most natural pectin.

1. Slice about 4 pounds of washed, tart green apples under-ripe apples.  This is best done in the early summer).  Place apples in a stainless steel saucepan.  Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add enough water to barely cover and bring to the boil.  As soon as it comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the apples are soft.  This should take about 20-30 minutes.

2. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer and let the liquid set overnight.  Do not stir the liquid.  The pulp can be discarded.

3. The following day bring the liquid to a boil and cook till it has reduced to half its original volume.

4. Test pectin to determine its strength. Use the instructions shown below.  If the pectin is weak, boil it some more and retest.

5. When the liquid pectin is ready, you can store it in your fridge , freeze or can for greater shelf life.  To can process the hot pectin in sterile pint jars for 5 minutes in a boiling water canner.

 Testing the Pectin Level

To determine the strength of the pectin stir two tablespoon of grain alcohol into one teaspoon of liquid pectin. You can use wood or denatured alcohol, but remember wood alcohol and denatured alcohol are poisons.

  • Juices that are high in natural pectin will form a lot of bulky, gelatinous material.
  • Those with average pectin content will form a few pieces of the jelly-like substance.
  • Juices that are low in pectin content will form only small, flaky pieces of sediment.
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If the pectin test weak, continue to boil it down further.  Be sure and throw test patch out.

Using home-made pectin.

As a general rule 2/3 cups liquid pectin will be enough to set 4 cups of low-pectin prepared fruit or juice.  If you are using strawberries which is a low pectin fruit use the full amount.  If you are using a high pectin fruit, none maybe needed.  This will take a little experimenting to get used too.

Pectin and Acid Content of Common Fruits Used to Make Jams and Jellies

Group I: If not overripe, has enough natural pectin and acid for gel formation with only added sugar.
Group II: Low in natural acid or pectin, and may need addition of either acid or pectin.
Group III: Lowest in pectin.
Group I Group II Group III
Apples, sour
Blackberries, sour
Grapes (Eastern Concord)
Plums (not Italian)
Citrus skins (oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, limes, etc. – the pectin is high in the skin but low in the fruit)
Apples, ripe
Blackberries, ripe
Cherries, sour
Grape Juice, bottled
(Eastern Concord)
Grapes (California)
Cherries, sweet
Grapes (Western Concord)
Plums (Italian)










I recommend that you start experimenting with this now and not wait until you are in a future grid down situation.


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