Pomona Pectin

calikitchenNovember 20, 2008

I'm a very new, and passionate jam maker and am so glad to find this site. I am looking for jams with reduced sugar and have discovered Pomona Pectin. I want to love it for its versitility in batch size and sweetening agents but have had a few problems that I'm hoping someone can assist with.

I made a 2 cup batch of blueberry jam last night using 1 cup of Splenda, 1 tsp calcium water, and 1 tsp pectin (mixed in the 1 cup Splenda). I followed directions to a T. The end product was jelled too solid for my liking (I like jams to be thick and pourable, but this was like jello) AND I found the final product a little "grainy" (sort of like bits of the skins were littered throughout). I have never made blueberry jam before so don't know if its supposed to be grainy.

I want to continue using Pomona Pectin but I need help....please let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks in advance! :)

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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

If you will scroll down the page, you will see some interesting comments regarding my experience with Pomona.

Like you - I found my blueberry jam a bit too thick - like hard jello. I did a re-do - adding more juice, and it turned out very well. The grainy texture that you mentioned was not a problem with mine. However, I am wondering if blueberries might have a more natural pectin in them, consequently, contributing to a thicker consistency.

I also like the more natural flavor of the fruit and hope to continue using it. Perhaps with time - I will learn to work out the thick/thin problem, but would hate to have to do every batch over again every time.

I followed the cooked recipe otherwise. As my original problem was mostly with the sealing, I used longer processing time on the re-do batch of 10 minutes, as opposed to the 5 minutes that the instructions recommended. I originally thought the thickness might have contributed to the sealing problem, but apparently it did not.

Perhaps others can explain the grainy problem, this was not apparent in my jam.

bejay

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 7:10PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Based on previous discussions, I'm more inclined to credit your problems to using the Splenda than the Pomona. Not that it is bad, just different.

Pomona discussions come up often here and several of our experienced jam makers (I'm not one of them as that is the wife's specialty) have posted here in that past that both graininess and jelling problems happen with Splenda use. It is great for the low or no-sugar jams but the end result in taste, texture, or color simply won't be the same as a sugared jam.

Wife uses Pomona regularly but we use sugar, not Splenda, and we don't seem to have a problem with either grainy texture or over jelling (unless you just use too much).

I have linked several of the previous Pomona discussions below in case you want to review them. Hope thye are of help.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Pomona pectin discussions..

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 8:54PM
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calikitchen

Thank you both for your responses! I will continue experimenting with the information you gave and report back!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:22PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Keep in mind that if you use a WHOLE box of Pomona for a small batch of jam or jelly it will be quite stiff. Pomona, as packaged will make up to about 30 cups of jam or jelly if you use the WHOLE BOX. The box size is similar to a regular pectin, but thats the ONLY thing that is similar. I will add the calcium water at the last minute just before its going to go in jars. I mix the Pomona pectin powder with some (about a cup or two) of the liquid or water that is used in the recipe. Its placed in a blender to mix and dissolve it. Once done, it looks a little like the liquid Certo you buy in packets. Splenda and/or any other sweetener should be added during the cooking time. In this way, you can TASTE it and see if it needs more or less before you add the pectin. My home grown cultivated blueberries are quite sour for most of my bushes, so I do add extra sweetener besides Splenda. I like to add a little honey too. Once you have the flavor you like, then you can add the pre-dissolved Pomona, stir while slowly pouring it it, and then the calcium water. The package usually mentions the amount of Pomona needed for smaller batches that are not uip to 30 cups in size. I usually make big batches so I do use a whole box, as well as ALL the calcium mixed into a little water. Some of mu fruit jams seem to lack character even though they are sweetened witb Splenda and are acidic. I like to add some acid blend, in the from of malic, tarteric, anc citric, as they help to bring up the the flavor of most any berry based jam. I use it in my apricot jam as well as some ascorbic acid to keep the jam from turning brown. Below, is a site I use to get the acid blend. I only need maybe a half teaspoon to a small batch of jam, but thats all up to your taste preference. There are small seeds inside blueberries and the skins can get a bit grainy if you use only the smaller wild blueberries, compared to most cultivated types.

The method I use above has been done that same way for several years now, and I have yet to get any failures or any batches that are rubber or syrup.

The added acid helps to keep the jam and jelly longer once opened. Because there is very low sugar in these, they tend to have a shorter shelf life once they are opened and refrigerated. With the added acid, I have open jars at least 6 months old and no signs of mold any any of them yet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Acid blend

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 3:57PM
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kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

Ken,
I just tried my first sample batch of jelly using Pomona. I followed the included instructions and was dismayed when the pectic turned into little globs in the juice. Then I reviewed your process (above) I see that a) you add the calcium last (not first like the packet says) and that b) you use a blender to mix sugar/pectin together. OK, I'll try adding the calcium water last next time, but without a blender I'm at a loss how I should 'beat up' the sugar and pectin together as hard as you do. Any suggestions? Thanks. Kris

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 11:40AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

As mentioned above, I DO NOT mix the Pomona powder with sugar!! I mix it with some of the liquid and/or juice for the jelly. Tasting the liquid prior to adding the Pomona will tell you if it needs any flavor adjustments. My jellies have no sugar added at any time. Mixing the Pomona with just sugar only will not easily dissolve it. When it's mixed in a blender with some of the LIQUID from the jam, what you end up with is a thick syrupy mixture similar in appearance to Certo liquid pectin in pouches. You do not want to add the calcium at that point as it would quickly set up with or without sugar! The globs you mentioned are common if the Pomona powder is poured in too fast and your jelly mixture isn't boiling or your not vigorously stirring it in. Adding the calcium before the pectin might be fine, but I always prefer to allow the pectin to thoroughly dissolve in the boiling liquid before adding the calcium. For many years, I worked with many chemical epoxies and these all were resins and used a catalyst to harden. The catalyst was what makes the epoxy harden. Same with Pomona, the calcium water is the catalyst that makes it harden. A blender or even stick blender is quite cheap and can be used for many other things too like smoothies, purees, and all kinds of shakes. You say you have no blender, well a simple bowl and fork or wire wisk will work too, or a hand crank egg beater, an electric mixer, or anything that will easily mix a powder with a liquid. I have posted the directions I use for the Pomona several times now, and I have not seen anyone else having any problems with it, even if following the box directions. Its much easier to mix it into the boiling jelly liquid when its partially dissolved in a liquid itself. Add the calcium water after the pectin has been mixed in, boiled and dissolved. It will quickly set up!! I see it forming soft globs on the big spoon and ladle just moments after adding the calcium, so I know it will gel just fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cheap Rival Blender.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 3:54PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Here is another very inexpensive blender under $15.00 at Amazon

Here is a link that might be useful: Amazon blender link

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 3:57PM
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kiddo_1(NE OH 5)

Ken, I appreciate your patience. Thanks for all the advice.
Kris

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 11:37AM
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david52 Zone 6

I do the big batch, / whole box thing as well. I followed Ken's advice on trying to dissolve the pectin in a few cups of juice first, I tried using a food processor because we don't own a blender.

It took a while to dissolve, like an hour. And it seemed to me that the best way to do it was whirr it up, leave it sit for a while. Whirr it up, leave it sit for a while.

It works.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 12:35PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The Pomona seemed to dissolve quite fast when it was done in a blender with some added liquid. I can say it was about a minute or so. I really didn't care if it still had tiny pectin granules suspended in the juice mixture. It did thicken a little even without heat and the added calcium. Once mixed with a little of the liquid, by itself, it will mix and dissolve much more when slowly poured into the big pot of boiling jam/jelly. I always stir well when its slowly poured in. It usually only takes a minute or two to come back to boiling again, and by that time most all of the Pomona has dissolved already. I get my jars ready and then pour in the calcium water mixture. If I use the whole box of Pomona, I also use the whole packet of the calcium (and its water)as the final additive.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 3:22PM
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