Monday, 9 July 2012

The Great Pectin Debate - liquid vs. powdered - with Jalapeno Jelly Experiment

Jalapeno Jelly - a bit too green...


So, it was inevitable - soon after starting to can, I start reading recipes that called for ONLY liquid pectin, or ONLY powdered pectin.  I checked online, in my Blue Ball Cookbook, and everyone says NOT INTERCHANGEABLE!!! 


But why?  Liquid pectin is usually well over 2x more expensive, plus you need more of it, which makes the cost go up even more.  Powdered pectin can be bought bulk in a jar, which makes it even cheaper than per box.  I wanted to know for sure whether or not I could convert a liquid pectin recipe to a powdered one.  So I did a little experiment.


Below is a recipe for Jalapeno Jelly from my friend Naomi S. - basically the one from the Ball Blue Book, but with the addition of a bell pepper to give the jelly more chunks. (I didn't have a bell pepper on hand, so my jelly is rather chunk-less)  I had enough jalapenos to make 1 batch, so I divided it into 2 half-batches.  One would use the original liquid pectin just as the recipe states, and the other I would try to convert to powder.


Short Story - both batches turned out perfectly.  Below I will list both recipes and you can take your pick!!


Longer story - it is true that you cannot just substitute liquid and powdered pectin, because they work in different ways.  You have to change the recipe.
  • For liquid pectin, you bring all ingredients to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, then squeeze in the liquid pectin, boil for 1 minute, then process.
  • For powdered pectin you bring all ingredients (including powdered pectin) except sugar to a boil.  add sugar all at once, boil 1 minute, then process.
 So that's what I did.
  • For the original jelly recipe, I brought it all to a boil for 10 minutes, added liquid pectin, boiled 1 minute, poured into jars, processed.  Jelly set on the sides of the pan while I was pouring, perfectly stiff jelly after boiling bath.  
  • For my experiment recipe I brought everything except the sugar to a boil, added sugar, returned to a boil for 1 minute, poured into jars, processed.  Jelly set on the sides of the pan while I was pouring, jelly still slightly liquid straight out of the bath, set very firm by morning.
Fini!  Code cracked, mystery solved.  I'm still not sure why they need 2 kinds of pectin, or why one would be preferable to the other.  I've heard that the powdered pectin lends a dark/muddy tint, and it certainly looked that way in the pan - darker than the liquid pectin batch.  But the processed jars look the same to me.  I did use the food coloring to help with the color on both batches.  Cooked jalapenos are not very pretty.  Think 'overdone broccoli'.


Please feel free to use the recipe below to make Jalapeno Jelly out of liquid or powdered pectin, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!! Another bonus of using the powdered pectin, is that you don't have to cook 'n' stir for 10 minutes!!



Jalapeno Jelly - using liquid pectin
8 large or 12 small jalapenos (12 oz)

1 whole bell pepper, seeded (orange or red preferably)

6 C sugar
2C white vinegar, divided

2 pouches liquid pectin 
3-5 drops green food coloring

  1. Remove the tops and seeds of all peppers (keep 1 jalapeno with the seeds in for mild heat, more if you like). Grind all seeded peppers in food processor or blender with 1C of the vinegar.  Add peppers, SUGAR and remaining vinegar into a sauce pan.  
  2. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes.  Add pectin and return to rolling boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.  Stir in food coloring, 1-2 drops at a time (I used like 8 drops accidentally, and it's WAAAAYYYY too green and fake looking :-(
  3. Pour into hot jars, adjust lids and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.


Jalapeno Jelly - using powdered pectin
8 large or 12 small jalapenos (12 oz)

1 whole bell pepper, seeded (orange or red preferably)

6 C sugar - pre-measured into a bowl

2C white vinegar, divided

1 box powdered pectin (6 tablespoons from a bulk jar)

3-5 drops green food coloring

  1.  Remove the tops and seeds of all peppers (keep 1 jalapeno with the seeds in for mild heat, more if you like). Grind all seeded peppers in food processor or blender with 1C of the vinegar.  Add peppers, PECTIN and remaining vinegar into a sauce pan. 
  2. Bring to a rolling boil, add sugar all at once, then stir until melted.  If your jelly starts to set immediately (mine did) you might find it helpful to use a whisk.  But it will all melt eventually, so don't worry.  Bring back to a rolling boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.  Stir in food coloring 1-2 drops at a time (I used like 8 drops accidentally, and it's WAAAAYYYY too green and fake looking :-(
  3. Pour into hot jars, adjust lids, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

12 comments:

Katie said...

Thank you for posting your experiment!

Momma J said...

Thank you so much for this! I was making jalapeño jelly when I realized I had no liquid pectin. I followed your directions and it turned out great!

Cheri carpenter-silva said...

I've been canning for about 50 years and never understood the difference. I really believe that it's a "wives tale". I NEVER use liquid and I make 73 different kinds of jams and jellies, turn out the same and have for years.
The new Ball Classic Pectin is great!! You can make double and even triple batches using their formula. Give it a try.

Beth said...

Thanks for posting this information! I have been searching for a half hour for a reason liquid pectin is better than powder pectin. I am getting ready to make jalapeno jelly and all I had was powdered pectin. Thanks for the recipe and the processing guideline~you rock!!!

Apple Farmer said...

The first recipe calls for 2 pouches of liquid pectin. I'm wondering if that is the 3oz. or 6oz. size. Thanks for doing for the research...

Apple Farmer said...

The first recipe calls for 2 pouches of liquid pectin. Is this referring to the 3oz. or 6oz. size? Thanks for doing the research...

Carrie said...

Well, I've only ever seen one size, I guess they make 2 sizes now... The box was around 6"high and 2.5" wide and had 2 pouches inside. The pamphlet inside also had the recipe, so you could check there. sorry I can't be more help!

enLethe said...

Thank you for the experiment; explaining the process difference is a huge help! FYI, the classic Ball recipe for jalapeño jelly calls for (2) 3oz pouches of liquid pectin. I had to look it up myself last week.

Arnie said...

This was a very well written article and a lot of help to me. I used 12 jalapeño and 1 Anaheim and 1 green pepper and a half red pepper and left in a few seeds. I added the red pepper last to the blender so they would be pretty floaters in the green jam. I used powder pectin for the first time and made sure to use 6 c of sugar. Came out great and thanks again.

Arnie said...

This was a very well written article and a lot of help to me. I used 12 jalapeño and 1 Anaheim and 1 green pepper and a half red pepper and left in a few seeds. I added the red pepper last to the blender so they would be pretty floaters in the green jam. I used powder pectin for the first time and made sure to use 6 c of sugar. Came out great and thanks again.

Craig King said...

I made two batches using the dry pectin. One Sure Gel 1.75oz box for each batch. I did a Jalapeño jelly and a habanero jelly. For the habanero jelly, I did not use bell peppers, instead I used jalapeño peppers instead (8oz habanero, 4oz jalapeño)

Both batches turned out great. First time that I have ever tried making jelly, so if I can do it, anyone can do it!

Thank you for posting this recipe, it is fantastic.

Wanita said...

Thank you so much for this recipe with powder form pectin. There are so many recipes I looked at that were confusing me! (not hard to do because I have never made jelly before) I bought pectin in the bulk form and couldn't figure out how to convert all of recipes! It turned out WONDERFUL!!!!!

Labels