Magic Low Methoxyl Pectin

With low methoxyl pectin, you can make jams and jellies as sweet as you want without sugar.

| September/October 1979

"I am fascinated by this pectin. I wish I could call in ail my books and change all the recipes for jellies so that they could be made with this product and much less sugar."—Euell Gibbons  

Ol' Euell wrote the above remark after his diabetic brother Joe showed the master forager how to make all the jams and jellies he wanted without using sugar! Euell was excited by his sibling's discovery because it meant his own toast coverings could now be both more healthful (especially when you consider that, odd as it sounds, a tablespoonful of ordinary jelly contains more sugar than does a tablespoonful of dry sugar!) and tastier. (The wild foods expert had "long deplored the necessity of drowning delicate wild flavors in great overloads of sugar.")

And what is this gelling agent , a substance so amazing that MOTHER EARTH NEWS' jam-making staffers have nicknamed it the Magic Pectin? Well, its "real" name—unpretentiously enough—is Low Methoxyl Pectin, and it's an absolutely harmless cooking ingredient that's made from the inner peels of citrus fruits (instead of—vegetarians please note—from animal products as are ordinary commercial pectins). And, better yet, L.M. gels with the aid of small amounts of calcium ... rather than large quantities of sugar.

Not only that, but Magic Pectin is also unbelievably easy to use. Just take a look at the "new" jelly making technique.

Step 1. Prepare two separate water solutions: one made with four tablespoons of pectin per quart of liquid, and the other using one-half teaspoon of calcium (we use the healthful organic mineral, dicalcium phosphate) per cup of water. This is actually the most difficult step of the entire operation, because neither substance dissolves all that easily. You'll probably have to use a blender and dump each agent into a batch of swirling water. However, you can mix the solutions in quantity and keep 'em stored in your fridge. (Magic Pectin and water will gel in the icebox but still be perfectly "fit" for use. The calcium mix, though, settles out a bit in storage and will need some further blending before it's used.)

Step 2. Clean and prepare your fruit as you would for any jam or jelly making operation.

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