Important Uses of Pectin

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Pectin is a type of plant-derived soluble fiber that when combined with water, forms gels or colloidal system. It’s mainly used as a gelling and thickening agent in cooking and baking. This substance is a natural part of the human diet; pectin exists in most fruits and vegetables, including apples and oranges. However, the substance doesn’t provide much nutrition when used alone.

Pectin: Popular Uses and Health Benefits

Pectin is used mainly in jams, marmalades, fruit preparations, and as stabilizers to fruit juices. However, this substance is also used in pharmaceuticals and skin care products.

Certain studies suggest that pectin could bind with bad cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract and expel it as waste. The substance could also delay glucose absorption by trapping carbohydrates and may also help minimize the absorption of bad cholesterol from the bile. One promising health benefit of pectin is linked to the prevention of colon cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes. However, more testing are required to back up this claim. Below are some of pectin’s most important uses:

Keeps Food Fresh Longer

Pectin is a common ingredient in jams. When used, it allows for shorter cooking time and preserves the quality and flavor of the ingredients. By adding pectin, the jam will achieve the gel-like stage faster without sacrificing the taste.

Maintains Natural Color of Ingredients

If you’re making desserts or jams, you want your finished products to retain its colors. Adding a little pectin into the ingredients helps lock in the vibrancy of the ingredients’ colors so the end product looks fresh, natural, and appetizing — just like nature intended.

Creates Smooth, Creamy Textures

If you love creamy, smooth desserts then use pectin! Adding pectin to the mixture of ingredients helps achieve a creamy, silky texture. Used in jams, pectin will help develop glossy, spreadable texture with bits of fruits able to suspend in gel rather than sinking flat to the bottom of the jar! Pectin also helps create stable gels with a clean bite.

Creates Savory Dishes

Apart from jams and spreads, you can also use pectin to make vegetable terrines and so much more. If you love to experiment with different dishes, you can try out different dishes and use pectin as one of the ingredient to bind all ingredients together.

Maintains Nutrients

Because pectin helps cooked fruits achieve a gel-like state faster, this shortens the cooking time significantly. When food processing is much shorter, the ingredients do not lose its nutritional value. What’s more, if the cooking time is shorter, you get more flavors out of your main ingredients.

For example, if you’re boiling strawberries for jams, using pectin could make the cooking time four times faster. This allows the berries to maintain its vitamins and minerals because they are not exposed to heat for an extended period. The result? Jams that are so much healthier than even store-bought ones.

You don’t need to get store-bought pectin from your local grocer. Most fruits contain high level of the substance. In apples, pectin is concentrated on the cores. Green apples in particular are rich in pectin. Using the cores and skins, you can extract pectin and make jams or marmalades.