There are three different types of fruit preserves and spreads. Standard sugar (more sugar than fruit). Low sugar (more fruit than sugar). No sugar added (fruit with a concentrated sweetner). Each of the three types of fruit products requires a different pectin.
Standard sugar products;
Our SSP type pectin is specifically designed for standard sugar products. Standard sugar jam, jelly or preserve is defined as a product with a brix of 65. Brix is a measurement that tells you what your total soluble solids are. A refractometer is the instrument used to measure brix. I personally recommend the Atago H93 for measuring a brix of 50 – 90 and the Atago H50 for measuring brix 50 to zero.
Soluble solids defined:
A soluble solid is an ingredient that will completely go into solution given enough moisture. This is a brief list of ingredients that are soluble solids, Sugar, pectin, citric acid, fumaric acid, calcium citrate, dextrose, malto dextrin, natural fruit sugar, natural fruit acid and some natural fruit minerals.
A desired brix of 65 is a measurement of all the soluble solids together. Most of the soluble solids in the case of jams, jellies, preserves and fruit spreads will be sugar.
Why is a brix of 65 important?
Two reasons. First, To legally call a fruit product “Jam, Jelly or Preserve” a target brix of 65 is required. The second reason is pectin reaction. Part of the gelling process for standard sugar pectin is a failed precipitation. A failed precipitation is simply described as the pectin trying to come out of solution. When the sugar content gets high enough the pectin tries to come out of solution and grabs the liquid around it causing a gel.
Acid content or pH is also critical for a standard sugar gel to take place. Imagine a steel chain that links end to end. A pectin chain is similar. Acid is attracted to the side of the chain links. When there is sufficient acid the pectin chain’s will cross link using the acid groups creating a web effect holding the pectin chains together assisting the gel. The ideal pH is 3.2
A standard sugar pectin can gel fruit with a brix as low as 56. This however will require a low pH of 2.7 – 2.8 However, having such a low pH will generally cause water separation.
General recipe breakdown for our SSP pectin:
45% fruit 53% sugar 2% SSP – This formula is designed to work with fruit having an average brix of 10 This will include blackberry and most of your blackberry crosses and most strawberries.
50% fruit 48% sugar 2% SSP – This formula is designed to work with fruit having an average brix of 15 This will include blueberries, some grape/cherry varieties.
For fruit that falls between, above or below 10 and 15 brix will require sugar and fruit adjustments respectively.
The last issue to consider is natural acid content of the fruit. Fruit wilh an average pH of 3.2 to 3.4 will generally not need addition acid to gel. The acid in our SSP will be sufficient. Fruit with a pH above 3.4 will need the addition of lemon juice or citric acid. Fruit with a pH below 3.2 will need the addition of a buffer like sodium citrate or use our SSP No Acid pectin. SSP No Acid is not currently listed on our website. Please call to order.
For jellies, all above stated content apply except pectin amount. When making jelly, the absents of fruit pulp will require more pectin to achieve the same gel strength.
Jellies will generally require 2.5 to 3% SSP
Low Sugar Fruit Spreads:
Our LSP type pectin is designed for Low sugar applications. This pectin does require a specific sugar or acid content to create a fruit gel. Having said that, sugar and acid content does play a part in gel strength and consistency.
General recipe breakdown for our LSP pectin;
55% fruit 42% sugar 3% LSP – This formula will work will 10 brix fruit
59% fruit 38% sugar 3% LSP – This formula will work with 15 brix fruit
For fruit above, between or below 10 and 15 brix can be adjusted respectively to keep a precise brix. These adjustments however are generally not critical to the product gelling.
Acid content is not as critical. Generally the addition or take away of acid is more for taste than function.
No Sugar Added Fruit Spreads;
Our NSP type pectin is designed for no sugar added applications. Like our LSP, this pectin is flexible with sugar and acid content.
General recipe breakdown for our NSP pectin;
94% fruit 5% NSP 1% concentrated sweetner/lemon juice or citric acid to taste
75% fruit 20% white grape juice concentrate 68 brix 5% NSP – lemon juice or citric acid to taste. This recipe is for those who do not want to use an artifical sweetner yet give some sweetness to the product while still maintaining a very low sugar content.
Note: These are general guide lines. There are always exceptions. Pectin’s are one of the most difficult gelling agents to work with. If your having problems call us! If we can’t fix it, no body can.