What is Pectin? What are Types of Pectin?

Many people do not have an idea about what is pectin & what are types of pectin? While the season of jam, marshmallow, and marmalade is underway, let’s finally deal with pectin.

Moreover, in the comments to the corresponding recipes, you quite often ask questions regarding this gelling agent. Let’s put everything on the shelves.

What is Pectin?

Scientifically speaking, pectin is a polysaccharide formed by residues of hyaluronic acid found in all terrestrial and some aquatic plants. In human terms, it is a substance that is used as a thickener for jams, marmalades, jellies, marshmallows, candy fillings, ice cream, some sauces (such as ketchup), and other foods.

Pectin & Types

Pectin is a gelling, gelling, stabilizing, thickening, and water-retaining agent. On the packaging of finished products, it often appears as a food additive E440.

Pectin is naturally found in various concentrations in all plants. But most of all it is in beets, apples, citruses, apricots, and currants.

That is, you can cook jams from these products, make marmalades and marshmallows without adding powdered pectin.

The post has a table with the pectin content in different fruits and vegetables – you can use it as a reference when you are thinking of making, for example, marshmallows Powdered pectin is mainly produced from beet and apple pomace, as well as from the peel of citrus fruits, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes.

Types of Pectin

There are two types of pectin, I have written them below. Have a look in detail.

(1) Yellow (apple, citrus) pectin

As the name suggests, this type of pectin is made from apples and citrus fruits.

The mechanics of use and gelling abilities of apple and citrus pectin do not differ, but there is a difference in the result: citrus pectin at the exit gives a more transparent solution (this is noticeable, for example, when cooking jam in pieces or preparing compote for filling mousse cakes, when fruit or berry mass does not break through in mashed potatoes).

In the composition of “Zhelfix”, “Confiture” and other similar products, you will find exactly the same yellow pectin.

For best performance, this type of pectin requires the addition of acid – for example, lemon juice – to the mass at the final stage of cooking.

If you are not using pure pectin, but the ready-made mixtures mentioned above, you look at the composition and look for citric acid in it. If it is, you do not need to add anything else.

In addition, yellow pectin needs a fairly large amount of sugar to thicken reliably. This means that you will not be able to cook slightly sweet confiture with it – in most cases, it will remain liquid.

Yellow pectin is not thermoreversible. That is, after solidification and reheating of the mass, it will not solidify again.

During storage, the gelling properties of yellow pectin gradually weaken.

Therefore, it is not recommended to store it for more than six months. You need to keep such pectin in a tightly closed jar without access to moisture.

(2) Pectin NH

Thermally reversible pectin. Like agar, NH pectin can be reheated several times, and each time the mass will solidify again. This is convenient if, for example, you are making marmalade and want to cut it in the shape of hearts or flowers.

All trimmings can be melted, allowed to harden again, and again cut out the necessary shapes. Or another case. You have decided to bake a pie filled with homemade marmalade or jam.

If you used non-heat-resistant pectin when cooking them, the jam will melt at a high temperature and either partially flow out of the cake when cut, or it will be absorbed into the dough (or both).

The heat-resistant pectin will allow the jam to solidify again as the cake cools. Pectin NH is also good in that it does not need a lot of sugar to gel.

Therefore, it is convenient to use it for making jams, confitures, compote, and various fruit fillings with low sugar content.

How to apply Pectin?

Before being added to the bulk, pectin is mixed with sugar and poured into a saucepan in a thin stream with constant stirring. If you add pure powder, it instantly sets in lumps. which can not always be broken even with a blender.


When using yellow (citrus, apple) pectin, which is more capricious in work than NH pectin, there is a risk of making mistakes in cooking and getting a completely different result than you expected.

Let’s figure out what and why can go wrong.

(1) Too thick lumpy jam (jam)

  • Too much pectin was used for a particular type of fruit or berry. We remember that different fruits contain different amounts of natural pectin. So, for strawberry jam, the added pectin needs almost two more than for black currant.
  • The boil was too vigorous and too much liquid evaporated from the mass (applies to NH pectin as well).
  • The jam has been boiled for too long at a very low temperature, and too much liquid has evaporated from the mass (also applies to NH pectin).

(2)Too runny jam (jam)

  • Lack of acid when using yellow pectin. This can happen when cooking sweet fruits and berries such as pears or peaches (when cooking jam in pieces).
  • Too little pectin dose.
  • Too little sugar when using yellow pectin.
  • The mass is undercooked. For the pectin to start working, the active boiling time must be at least 1 minute.
  • The mass is overcooked. When boiled for more than 5-7 minutes, yellow pectin begins to lose its properties and thickens worse.


Myths of Pectin
  • Pectin should be added to the mass, the temperature of which is 45-50 degrees. To be honest, I openly sabotage this advice, pouring pectin into boiling jam or puree. And so far there has not been a single problem. But if you have doubts that you can stir it properly, arm yourself with a thermometer and catch 50 degrees.
  • Pectin needs acid to solidify. If you re-read everything written above, you can draw conclusions: NH acid is not needed at all, yellow pectin in ready-made mixtures in bags – also, provided that there is citric acid in the composition.
  • The mass with pectin can be cooked for no more than 3-5 minutes, with longer processing it loses its properties. The statement is true for all the same yellow pectin. Pectin NH normally tolerates longer heating.