Apple Jelly Stock
Apple Jelly Stock is the original name used for this homemade pectin. Prior to our use of commercial variations, these sorts of recipes were the favored method for creating your own pectin for low pectin fruit jams and jellies. Almost every farm had an apple tree or two and this may well be the primary reason for it. There are two variations of this that are reasonably good. One is a bit more concentrated than the other, but both are entirely usable. A note of information. For a stronger pectin, apple thinnings are a very good choice and less costly. However, if you are wanting a clearer jelly stock, then you will want to use mostly mature apples that are just a little shy of ripe. The apple should be tart still. Either of these can be used right away or stored in the refrigerator for up to a week if you don’t want to can the stock for later use. Stock can also be frozen.
This recipe will create about 1 quart of apple jelly stock per pound of apples. 4 cups of this stock is equal to half a bottle of pectin, or 3oz of commercial liquid pectin. Convert your recipes accordingly.
1) Wash your apples, but don’t peal or core since those locations are where the highest pectin resides.
2) Slice apples into 1 pint of water per pound of apple and bring to a boil for 15 minutes.
3) Strain off the juice through a single thickness of cheesecloth without squeezing the pulp.
4) Return pulp to the kettle and add the same amount of water again. This time cook at a lower temperature for 10 minutes.
5) Strain again as you did in step 3
6) Allow the pulp to cool, then squeeze the remaining juice from it and combine all three sets of juice.
7) *This is the noted method for processing this version* Heat to a boil and pour into scalded quart jars. Seal and invert the jars. Place to cool in the refrigerator.
This recipe creates a bit stronger concentration of the pectin through boiling the juice down. Generally with this recipe, 2/3 cups of finished product will set 4 cups of low-pectin fruits. Some adjustments will need to be made if you are using fruits with a higher pectin content.
1) Slice 4 pounds of washed green apples into a non-reactive sauce pan and cover with enough water to barely cover them. (Granny Smiths are not what is being referred to here, but rather tart and under-ripe apples)
2) Cover and bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer until the fruit is soft. (around 20 to 30 minutes)
3) Pour apples and liquid through a fine sieve into another pot. Do not stir and allow it to continue draining from the fruit overnight.
4) Bring the liquid to a boil and cook down to half of the original volume. Test the pectin content and continue to cook until it is to the desired strength.
5) Process the hot pectin into sterile pint jars for five minutes in a boiling water caner.
Testing Pectin Levels
One teaspoon of your liquid pectin on a plate combined with two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol should clot up the pectin when they are swirled together. You are looking for fairly large and viscous clots that indicate you have a strong pectin content. Small and scattered clots mean the pectin is too weak. If it is too weak, bring your stock back to a boil and continue to reduce, but remember that you must throw out the portion you tested rather than adding it back into the batch. It is poisonous after testing because of the rubbing alcohol.
Sugars and Acids
If you are trying to work out your own new recipes rather than working from an existing one, this information will be useful to you. Generally one to two cups of sugar is right for two cups of prepared fruit or fruit juice. This will vary based on the set you are seeking and the type of product (preserves, jelly, jam, conserves and the like) you want to make. The amounts of acid you need will depend on the fruit so you may want to check a chart, but as a general rule, if you know a fruit is low in acidity, add two tablespoons of lemon juice to your fruit before cooking for every two cups of finished product you plan to have.