What is Pectin, Anyways?

October 21, 2012

Posted inEvents

Urban Harvest Canning Workshop

We rolled up our sleeves for this Harvest Noir-inspired workshop, with attendees arriving not knowing quite what was in store!

Grapes and grape leaves were gathered in Carlingwood the day prior in true Hidden Harvest style, with half of the gathered goods headed to the nearest food agency. Then we used some of these local fresh grapes, as well as some frozen from a previous harvest, to create grape jam and preserved grape leaves which can then be used to make dolmatas or added into any soups, stews or other savoury dish.

Squishing the grapes by hand allowed us to use all of the fruit in our jam – and yes, the stain came off!

Along the way we explored canning basics, such as “What is Pectin, anyways?” (answer below!). Many thanks to Credible Edibles for hosting the space, to Ann Balasubramanian for facilitating, to the thoughtful fruit owners who continue to connect with Hidden Harvest to use their fruit, and all those who came out with big smiles for the workshop. More gorgeous photos by Graham Irvine can be found here.

The final boil of the jars sterilizes the contents and prepares the jars to seal.

What is Pectin? Pectin is what allows a jelly to jell.  It is present throughout plant material, more so in non-woody parts, and less prevalent in softer fruits such as strawberries and blueberries. Although pectin is naturally present sometimes it’s concentration isn’t high enough to achieve the desired consistency, and so, often jam and jelly makers will add powdered or liquid pectin just to ensure their work doesn’t turn out to be a syrup.

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