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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Pomona's Pectin

Frugal Kitchens 101

We seldom use jams as spreads but rather as fillings, meat/poultry/fish glazes, an ingredient, topper and condiments.  Most of the jams I make are created by me.  I use Pomona's pectin which is a low methoxy pectin that I use to make gourmet syle low sugar jams.  I actually like making jams and jellies using local honey or maple syrup.  The flavour is amazing!  I can't do this using regular pectin that requires sugar for the gel.  Pomona's pectin (no affiliation or compensation) gives me clean, consistent results allowing me the flexibility when making jams and jellies.  At the same time it cost me money on the pectin alone and when making low sugar jams on the cost of sugar too.  From a canning perspective this is one of my most frugal additions to my canning repetoir.  Here's why:

  • storage  - Unlike other pectins, Pomona's pectin is shelf stable with no expiry date making it the ideal emergency preparedness product. It will consistently gel without fail.  Regular pectins (eg. Certo, SureJel) have an expiry date usually about a year from purchase after which time the gelling properties diminish or even fail.
  • flexibility - Pomona's pectin allows you to easily make test batches of jam using as little as a cup of fruit.  This is particularly useful when trying new combinations, testing for gelling and flavour.  In addition to this Pomona's pectin does not rely on sugar for gelling but rather calcium water.  Monocalcium phosphate is included with Pomona's pectin to make the solution as needed.  What this means is any sweetener can be used including honey, maple syrup and artificial sweeteners.  It should be noted that sugar in jams using regular pectins also plays the role as a bulk filler adding texture.  You can certainly use the same amount of sugar if desired while still having the flexibility of using Pomona's pectin and white sugar is the cheapest of the sweeteners.  However, Pomona's pectin allows you to experiment with other sweeteners. 
  • cost - Pomona's pectin costs $48 per pound bought directly from them and that includes shipping.  One pound gives a yield of 128 tsp at a cost of 37.5¢ per tsp.  A normal sized batch of strawberry jam using regular pectin gives a yield of 4 - 500 ml (pint) jars with the pectin portion costing approximately $2.49 to $2.79 (powdered, liquid).  To make the same sized batch using Pomona's pectin you would need 4 tsp at a cost of $1.50 so for each 4 - 500 ml batch of jam you save at least $1.  That doesn't seem like a lot of money but factor in the cost over 10 batches of jam or more.  
  • not corn based -  Regular pectin actually has trace amounts of corn in it something I learned from a member on one of the groups I frequent who is dealing with a severe corn allergy.  The problem with corn is it is found in some form in a wide range of foods including regular pectin.  Pomona's pectin is citrus based with no trace amounts of corn making it a safe product for those with corn allergies or insensitivities. 

2 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

Thanks for all this information. Much appreciated!

Garden Gnome said...

You're welcome :)