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University of Minnesota Extension

Pectin use in jam and jellies

Stirring strawberry jam in a large pot on stove.

What is the difference between liquid and powder pectin?

Commercial pectin is manufactured from citrus or apple peels and sold as a liquid or powder. Both forms give good results but the methods of adding ingredients differ.

  • Liquid pectin is added to the cooked fruit and sugar mixture immediately after it is removed from the heat.
  • Powdered pectin is added to the unheated crushed fruit.
  • Liquid and powder pectin cannot be interchanged in a recipe.
  • Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recipes and instructions.

Does liquid pectin contain sulfites that may cause problems for people with asthma?

Yes. Asthmatics need to be aware that liquid pectin does contain sulfite (check the label) which can produce a severe allergic reaction in some people. If this is a problem, it’s best to use powdered pectin.

Can I use old pectin?

It’s best to purchase new regular pectin (powder or liquid) each season because using old pectin can result in a weak gel formation. This is less of a problem with modified and low-methoxyl pectin (the type used for no-sugar or low-sugar jams). If you need to save powdered pectin, store it in moisture-vapor-proof containers in the freezer.

How much bulk pectin do I use for jams and jellies?

In the past couple years, the makers of Ball® pectin have made it available in bulk. To help consumers decide how much pectin to use, they created an online pectin calculator.

Suzanne Driessen, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2021

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