Apple Pectin Stock

When you are busy making all of those holiday apple pies, butters and desserts, don’t throw out the apple peels!  Make apple pectin stock instead, and next summer you’ll be able to make 100% local jam with your homemade pectin.  Sweet.

Adapted (barely) from Homemade Pectin at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

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Apple Pectin Stock

INGREDIENTS

  • apple “leavings” (peels, cores and leftover bits from pie, jam or apple butter making, frozen is fine)
  • filtered water

METHODS

  1. Put apple leavings into a large stockpot and fill with water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, then simmer, covered, until cores are mushy and falling apart, about 2 – 4 hours depending on how much you have.
  2. Remove from heat.  Strain liquid through a colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth or butter muslin; allow apple leavings to drain for an hour or two, or overnight, until all  liquid has drained through. Do not push on the apple pulp or you will end up with cloudy pectin stock. If you let it sit overnight, some sediment will fall to the bottom; you can then scoop clear pectin off of the top and boil to reduce.
  3. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  4. Discard or compost the apple leavings.  Transfer the pectin stock to a clean stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Can pectin stock as is, or boil to reduce and increase the strength of the pectin (I reduced by half; see Options).  Fill hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace with hot pectin stock and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield: my largest (8-quart) soup stockpot full of apple leavings yielded about 5 and 1/2 pints of pectin stock.

OPTIONS

  1. Store apple leavings, as you gather them, in a large Ziploc bag in the freezer until you have enough to make stock.
  2. You can make pectin stock with fresh apples; simply use whole, stemmed apples in place of the leavings. Quarter the apples and proceed as above. Green apples, as in underripe (best in July or August) and green apples, as in Granny Smith, contain the most pectin and make the strongest stock.
  3. The strength of your apple pectin stock will depend on the ripeness of your apples (under-ripe apples have more pectin), the variety of apple, and how long you boil/reduce the stock.  Since the cores and peels have the most pectin, this stock should be suitable to provide a soft set used as is.  I reduced my stock by about 25% and canned it in pint jars.
  4. Fig Jam and Lime Cordial recommend using 1 cup pectin stock in place of the water in jam recipes. I’ve used anywhere from 1/2 – 2 cups in a jam recipe (to set 2 – 4 lbs fruit) depending on how firm I want the set.  I typically add the pectin stock at the beginning of jam cooking, either with juice that I am boiling down to syrup or with the fruit; then before canning I will test the set and add more stock if needed.  One cup is a good place to start for a typical jam recipe with about 3 lbs of fruit.
  5. Try as I might, I can’t make clear apple pectin stock; there is always some suspended sediment that I cannot strain out.  I often give it another strain through cheesecloth before using, but even this does not result in perfectly clear stock.  If anyone has a good tip for cystal clear pectin stock, please shout it out below!

STORE

Canned in a cool, dark, room-temperature spot, or frozen, for up to 1 year.

SEASON

Fall through winter.

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34 comments

  1. localkitchen

    I haven’t tried it yet, but over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial they say that they use 1 cup of stock in place of the water called for in most recipes. Since they like a softer set, they do not boil down the pectin; I boiled mine down a bit, so I will try a cup and see how it goes. It may take a batch or two to figure out the best ratio.

    I’ll tell you it’s a great use of all the apple leavings, because my attempts at making apple cider vinegar from just leavings & water have been sadly ineffective.

  2. Great work! I’m pretty lazy and don’t like to peel too many apples, but I like your tip for freezing the apple leavings. I do this for stock, collecting onion peels and such. As for ideas for usage, do you have Christine Ferber’s Mes Confitures? It has many recipes utilizing her green apple pectin stock. I’ve recently gotten the book and it hasn’t failed me once. Wonderful recipes.

  3. Brilliant! I just reposted this to my March CanJam post. Totally pumped to give this a whirl. And I really want to get that book Julia mentioned in the previous comment, happily reminded! Thanks again, Kaela.

  4. local kitchen

    Heh – I *just* got Mes Confitures and I’m in the midst of a discussion on Tigress’ site about how disappointed I am in it. Well – honestly, I haven’t cooked a thing from it yet, as I got it yesterday, but I was really hoping for more info on tips & techniques, as opposed to just straight recipes. And I’m bummed that all the recipes call for the ‘standard’ 1:1 ratio of sugar, which I generally find way too sweet for my taste. But – I will perserve and try out some recipes; maybe it will change my mind.

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  6. This is great! I am new to canning going through a whole bunch of apples today for applesauce, so that works out perfectly.

    A question – I began the process of making the pectin before realizing that I didn’t have any more small canning jars. I’d prefer to can it, but it will be a few days before I can get more jars. Will this keep in the fridge in the interim? Or am I only left with the option of freezing everything right away?

    Thanks again for sharing this!

  7. Hi Hannah,

    It should be fine in the fridge for a few days; in fact, I usually like to let it sit in a large bowl, in the fridge, overnight to let any sediment fall to the bottom. If you need to store for a week or more then I would freeze it; you can always thaw and can it later. Alternatively, you can freeze the apple leavings and make a batch of pectin when you are ready.

    Happy canning!
    Kaela

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  9. Hey Kaela: I’m bringing you back to the past with a question about stock and this super-helpful post. Right now, I’m simmering mixed quince and apple cores and peels (which I froze in increments all fall and winter) to make stock. I’m also trying to figure out how I will use it. I can’t think of any jam recipes I use that call for water — usually I put water only in marmalades. My concern is that, in a regular jam, any benefit to the set from the added pectin in the stock could pretty much be canceled out by the additional liquid. I’m thinking of making something like “stock jelly” — using my stock to make jelly right off the bat and then adding some of that to jams that don’t have a lot of natural pectin. What does your science head say to that?

  10. That’s what Mme. Ferber does; a lot of her recipes call for Green Apple Jelly, which is essetially a pectin stock. However, it doesn’t really matter; pectin stock jelly is just stock + sugar. So you can either add the sugar now, or you can add it later when you make the jam. I make a pretty concentrated version of apple pectin stock, such that I only need to add about 1/2 to 1 cup to a standard batch of jam. That amount of liquid, in my experience, doesn’t make any difference to the overall set, when countered with the additional pectin. Sometimes I add additional sugar, sometimes not (depending on how much pectin I add, usually). But if it makes sense to you, by all means, add the sugar now and make a jelly, then you won’t have to worry about adjusting the sugar in a recipe where you are using homemade pectin.

    • The only Ferber recipe I’ve made using apple jelly stock is the clementine marmalade, which we had so much fun discussing! You know I like firmer sets — not bounce-off-the-wall firm, but not so soft as many of the European-style recipes I’ve tried. I think making the jelly up front will help me feel I have more control when it comes time to use the stock, even if that control is mostly an illusion. I wonder if it may also give me a sense, right off, of how strong my stock is because I’ll know how it behaves as a jelly, before I risk adding it to my summer fruit. Thanks, K!

  11. That’s a good point, Shae: if you make a standard 1:1 ratio jelly and it turns out super-firm, then you have a good idea of how pectiny (is that a word? Well, it is now.) your stock is.

    I’m macerating a Ferber-esque strawberry concoction as we speak that will use some of my apple pectin. I have some super-concentrated stuff in the freezer that I want to use up, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out…

  12. Nayla

    I’ve made apple pectin with fresh under-ripe green apples and it turned out lighter than yours did. A pale beige applesauce colour. I actually like the darker colour. You know how apples turn a bit brown when left in the air? I think that may be a factor in the final colour. I put my apples directly in a pot of water as I chopped them. Although I wouldn’t think the colour would make any difference in a jam recipe.

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  14. Since strawberry season is upon us, I’m revisiting your strawberry recipes – which led me here. I’ve been saving my apple leftovers in the freezer and am going to make this stock to have on hand for the Strawberry-Pinot Noir Preserves. Do you think the apple pectin stock is thin enough to strain through a coffee filter? That’s what I usually do with all of my other stocks to avoid sediment.

    • Hi Dawn,

      I have strained mine through a coffee filter in the past; it generally needs a bit of help (some scraping of apple pulp off of the bottom of the filter, or perhaps a filter switch halfway through) but it works.

      Good luck!

  15. kitkat30

    Although interesting, this is not frugal. You can buy pectin for next to nothing at grocery stores, and all the electricity you’ll use to make this will cost you. Frankly, my time is worth more than trying to save whatever pectin would cost at the store.

  16. KitKat30,

    I don’t know where you are buying your pectin, but it is about $4/box where I buy my canning jars and I think the box contains enough for two batches of jam. And while locality, homemade, and the ability to control the set is more important to me than frugality, at $2/batch, commerical pectin can add up.

  17. Jo

    I’ve enjoyed this forum. Am just about to make my first stock- my neighbour’s crab apple hedge suffered a huge loss in the storm here (North West Highlands of Scotland) on Sunday so I picked up over 6 kilos of unripe fruits. Shame I have made most of my jam for this year already, though I might try some more cherry to see how to use this.

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  19. I know these posts are from quite a while ago, but I didn’t see anyone comment on your inability to make a truly clear pectin. I believe that may not be possible/desirable, based on winemaking practices. One of the things that prevent wines from clarifying is the pectin in the grapes. They use clarifying agents to help bring the wine clear faster, but i suspect that may precipitate out the pectins…. so you might actually be better off with cloudy stock :)

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  22. HI, In regards to clarifying your pectin. I’m not sure if this would work in this case but you could always try a small amount to see if it would I’m sure. The first thing that came to mind is the same method to making consume. for this you use egg whites…. i would try 4 or so to start whip them until frothy only with a bit of your cold pectin. heat the rest of the pectin in a pot or sauce pan just under a boil. take your whisk and still the hot pectin vigorously in a circle while turning up the heat. take the whisk out and pour in the egg white mixture as the liquid is still spinning in pan. bring to a simmer. you will see the egg whites rise and form a layer, this is called the raft. gently push a hole in the center so you can see the simmer. simmer at least 30 mins? not sure how it will all react. however the convection of the liquid in pot will go through the egg whites and filter it to clarify the liquid. Im sure i have not done the method justice with my explanation, but you may find better ones one line as tutorials etc.

    Good Luck!

    • Kelly

      Regarding your question, I was wondering about egg whites, as well, because I remember learning in regards to my son’s food allergy, some vintners use egg whites to clarify thief wine. Having made neither wine nor consumè, I will leave to you to judge whether the idea merits further research. If you do choose to try this method, please mention on the label, when gifting, that egg was used in the creation process, as this method does leave behind proteins – we know from experience that while there may not be enough of a food present to taste, the allergic individual’s body can still recognize and react. And yes, such an insignificant amount can be fatal to the individual with a severe allergy.
      In regards to kitkat30’s concern, I now am using a pressure cooker for my bone broths, and I plan to implement it in the first step of this recipe, as well. I have been stunned by the efficiency of this method: the great results at a fraction of the time and electricity use!
      Thanks for the great article!!

  23. I love the idea of freezing the apple cores, etc. until I have enough to boil a big pot. Thank you so much. I have wanted to make my own pectin for a few years now but haven’t taken the leap. This is the year — I know it. Thank you.

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  25. Theresa Minden

    I see your recipe doesn’t call for added sugar. I see in another book that sugar should be added.
    What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Theresa,

      Some books (I know Christine Ferber does this) recommend a basic apple jelly as a “pectin stock.” This would require sugar. And, as sugar is a preservative, adding sugar to your pectin stock would prevent the color from darkening over time.

      However, there is no necessity from a safety or performance standpoint to add sugar to the pectin stock; in fact, typically if I am adding pectin, it is because I am trying to make a low-sugar preserve. Adding more sugar in the stock itself would defeat the purpose.

      That said, with or without sugar, either is fine. Hope that helps.

      • Theresa Minden

        That’s helpful-so basically if I’m using it right away, no sugar needed, but if I’m “preserving” the jelly stock the sugar helps it “keep” better?

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