The science of making jam and jelly recipes. For those who want to make products that use multiply fruits, peppers etc. this blog is for you.
I find it best to explain complex issues via example.
Terminology: The word brix means the total soluble solids of any fruit, vegetable or liquid substances.
Total Soluble Solids includes sugar and acid that are natural to fruit, vegetables and liquid substances. Sugar and acid are soluble solids because in enough liquid they are no longer visible. Remove the liquid and the sugar and acid become visible again (soluble solid). This is important because pectin in general is effected by total soluble solids and greatly effected when doing standard sugar jams and jellies. If the brix are too high the pectin will set to fast causing a pasty like texture or too low which will result in no set with the fruit remaining in liquid form.
pH is the other factor that we must consider when creating a standard sugar recipe because of the direct reaction to a standard sugar pectin (SSP). Type SSP pectin sold by California Ingredients is the pectin we focusing on. Store bought pectin like sure-gel and ball will apply here as well.
Parameters for SSP:
Brix – 59-66
pH – 2.9 to 3.3
As a general rule, if you want to achieve a fruit gel at 59 brix or lower you will need to have a pH of 2.9 or lower (add acid). 56 brix is about the lowest brix you can have and still achieve a fruit gel. In the same way if your brix are 66 or higher the pH will need to be 3.3 or higher (decrease acid).
Brix lower than 56 I would recommend our LSP pectin.
First you need to determine your ingredients list. Lets do one of my holiday favorites, Christmas jam.
Ingredients: brix value
32 oz. 2- bags Strawberries – Thawed/crushed 8 brix / pH 3.45 2.56
12 oz. 1 bag Cranberry – Finely chopped/Food processor 10.5 brix / pH 2.60 1.26
56 oz. or 8 cups sugar – 56
2 oz. SSP pectin – 2
Total weight – 102 ounces. Total brix weight – 61.82 ounces
Divide brix weight by total batch weight = 60.6 brix
All recipes should start in the 59 to 60 range. All ingredients must be given a weight value in order to achieve the brix value. The brix value is achieved by multiplying the weight of the ingredient by the average brix value. Example: Strawberry weight of 32 oz. times 8 or .08 = 2.56 . I used both brix and pH charts to give me the average numbers you see above. blog picture is a brix chart.
Calculating the pH is not as straight forward as brix. You cannot calculate pH. Experience will put us in the right direction. Because the cranberries have naturally high acid content, there is no reason for adding additional acid. Rule of thumb is fruits with an average pH of 3.4 or lower do not need additional acid in the recipe.
As always, feel free to email me for more information.
California Ingredients Inc.