Homemade Fruit Pectin Recipe

Learn how to make your own pectin from citrus! Fruits such as grapefruits, lemons and oranges have a thick layer of white pith and are perfect for homemade jam and jelly recipes.

From "Preserving Everything"
September 2015

  • Choose citrus fruits that have a thick layer of white pith such as lemons, limes and oranges for good results when making pectin.
    Photo courtesy The Countryman Press
  • The white pith just under the skins of citrus fruits is high in pectin.
    Photo courtesy The Countryman Press
  • There is no end to the magic of food preservation, and in “Preserving Everything,” Leda Meredith leads readers – both newbies and old hands – in every sort of preservation technique imaginable.
    Cover courtesy The Countryman Press

Total Hands-On Time: 30 min

Preparation Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Yield: 1 cup

Leda Meredith has been preserving food since she was a child at her great-grandmother’s side, and she covers all aspects of the many styles of food preservation in her book Preserving Everything (The Countryman Press, 2014). In this excerpt from chapter 4, “Sweet Preserves,” she shares how to make homemade pectin from citrus fruits.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Preserving Everything.

Homemade Citrus Pectin

The white pith just under the skins of citrus fruit is high in pectin. Any citrus fruit can be used, but choose ones that have a thick layer of white pith for good results with this recipe. The seeds are also high in pectin, so use those as well.

Homemade citrus pectin can have a faint bitterness from the white piths. Use it in recipes that contain spices or strongly flavored fruits.


  • 1/2 pound white parts of citrus peels plus any seeds
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups water


1. Use a zester or a vegetable peel to remove the colorful skins of the citrus fruit. These are aromatic and flavorful, so you may want to save them for another use. But they don’t bring any pectin to the party and could overwhelm the other flavors in your recipe.

2. Peel or cut off the remaining white layer of the fruits. Remove and set aside any seeds. Save the pulp for another use. Finely chop the white parts and weigh them; you’ll need 8 ounces.

3. Put the chopped citrus peel pith, seeds, and the lemon juice in a nonreactive, medium-sized pot. Cover and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. Add the water and leave at room temperature for 1 more hour.

4. Bring the ingredients to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

5. Strain through a jelly bag or through a colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Return the liquid to a pot over high heat and boil until it reduces by half.

6. Store any homemade citrus pectin that you will not be using right away in the freezer, or can it in half-pint jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust the canning time if you live at a high altitude).

Read more from Preserving Everything:

Reprinted with permission from Preserving Everything by Leda Meredith and published by The Countryman Press, 2014. Buy this book from our store: Preserving Everything.

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