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
Apple Pectin Stock
- apple “leavings” (peels, cores and leftover bits from pie, jam or apple butter making, frozen is fine)
- filtered water
- 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.
- 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.
- Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- 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.
- Store apple leavings, as you gather them, in a large Ziploc bag in the freezer until you have enough to make stock.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Canned in a cool, dark, room-temperature spot, or frozen, for up to 1 year.
Fall through winter.