If you only have time to read this: Pectin is suitable for vegans.
I had lunch in an outdoor place with a lovely vegetarian friend. When we got down to canning everything, I told him how excited I was to try a sugar-free jam recipe using a particular pectin. “I cannot eat jams with pectin. I am a vegetarian,” she said. I was shocked. Having a smartphone, I immediately searched for the pectin in question. It is 100% vegetable. I showed her the ingredients and she was surprised. She thought pectin and gelatin were similar and not vegetarian or vegan. If my charming and intelligent vegetarian friend was confused by pectin, I suspected others are too.
Pectin is a plant-based, thread-like carbohydrate that when cooked creates a cross bond to form a gel. We do not endorse any product in the UC Master Food Preserver Program, so the brand of pectin I’m about to reference is for reference only.
The pectin I looked for was Pomona Universal Pectin®. According to their website, it is 100% citrus pectin. Pectin is extracted from the dried zest of lemon, lime and orange after the fruit has been squeezed and the oil has been extracted from the zest. The product is vegan, gluten-free and GMO-free. This particular brand of pectin is fixed using calcium water; instructions are included in the package. With Sure-Jell pectin powder® and pectin powder®, the ingredients are dextrose, citric acid (gel aid) and fruit pectin.
The pectin quickly gels jams and jellies, saving stovetop cooking time and helping to retain a fresh fruit flavor. Photo credit: Maureen Ladley
Commercially packaged pectin comes in liquid or powder form. Each type has specific uses and cannot be substituted for each other. Recipes usually state what type of pectin to use and how to use it. Here is an example of jam made from pectin powder from UC ANR (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources) Recipe library:
Strawberry jam, using powdered pectin: https://ucanr.edu/sites/camasterfoodpreservers/files/334998.pdf
Making strawberry jam with pectin helps preserve the bright color. Photo credit: National Center for Home Food Preservation
Do you have questions about pectin or food preservation? You can find your local county program at http://mfp.ucanr.edu/Contact/Find_a_Program/, and send your questions. You can also Submit a question to the state UC Master Food Preserver office.
If Solano / Yolo is your local county, contact us online by following this link: https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=30140.
For more information on the UC Master Food Preserver program, including the Food Preservation Video Library, visit mfp.ucanr.edu.