Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600959


     For proper texture, jellied fruit products require  the
correct combination of fruit, pectin, acid  and sugar.   The
fruit  gives  each spread its unique flavor and  color.   It
also  supplies  the  water  to  dissolve  the  rest  of  the
necessary  ingredients  and  furnishes some or  all  of  the
pectin  and acid.  Good-quality, flavorful fruits  make  the
best jellied products.                                      

     Pectins  are  substances in fruits that form a  gel  if
they are in the right combination with acid and sugar.   All
fruits    contain   some   pectin.    Apples,   crab apples,
gooseberries   and  some plums and  grapes  usually  contain
enough natural pectin to form a gel.  Other fruits, such  as
strawberries,  cherries   and  blueberries,  contain  little
pectin and must be combined with other fruits high in pectin
or with commercial pectin products to obtain gels.   Because
fully ripened fruit has less pectin, one-fourth of the fruit
used  in  making  jellies without  added  pectin  should  be

     The  proper  level  of  acidity  is  critical  to   gel
formation.  If there is too little acid, the gel will  never
set;  if  there is too much acid, the gel will  lose  liquid
(weep).   For fruits low in acid, add lemon juice  or  other
acid  ingredients as directed.  Commercial  pectin  products
contain acids which help to ensure gelling.                 

     Sugar serves as a preserving agent, contributes  flavor
and  aids  in gelling.  Cane and beet sugar  are  the  usual
sources of sugar for jelly or jam.  Corn syrup and honey may
be  used  to replace part of the sugar in recipes,  but  too
much will mask the fruit flavor and alter the gel structure.
Use  tested recipes for replacing sugar with honey and  corn
syrup.   Do  not  try  to reduce  the  amount  of  sugar  in
traditional recipes.  Too little sugar prevents gelling  and
may allow yeasts and molds to grow.                         

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