Magic Low Methoxyl Pectin

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"Magic" low methoxyl pectin allows subtle flavors in jams and jellies to express themselves.

“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

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

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.

Step 3. Sterilize your jars and lids.

Step 4. Heat your fruit or juice in a large saucepan and
add honey, artificial sweetener, or sugar to taste.
(MOTHER EARTH NEWS’ “jammers” regularly use one tablespoon of
honey–instead of the standard one cup of
sugar–with each cup of fruit or juice, but you
don’t have to use any sweetener at all!)

Step 5. When this mixture reaches a gentle boil (no
lengthy, ester-destroying stewing needed here), stir in one
part of L.M. solution to every four parts of fruit. Then
just bring the mixture back to bubbling and mix in one
teaspoonful of the calcium liquid per cup of fruit.

Step 6. Your jam is done. All you have to do now is jar and
seal the delicacy. (NOTE: Because the spread does not
contain large amounts of sugar–which acts as a
preservative as well as a sweetener–you should not
paraffin-seal these products. Use a normal hot-pack
procedure–inverting the filled jars for a 20-minute
cooling period after sealing–or process the filled
containers for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.)

Now, that’s easy! No tedious cookin’ down of your fixin’s,
and no testing spoonfuls of jelly until the instant your
treat finally “sheets”. What’s more, if your batch–or
a sample cooled in the fridge–doesn’t gel quite hard
enough the first time, simply reheat and “firm it up” with
a bit more calcium mix (and make a note for your next
spread-cooking occasion).

And boy, does Magic Pectin work! One of our helpers
has made the “strawberriest” (instead of “sugariest”) jam
you could ever eat. Another staffer has concocted
jelly out of everything from delicate elderberry flowers to
sassafras roots. Why, ol’ Euell even created a “magic
pectin” frozen orange juice jelly!

The wonder getter is affordable to boot. In fact, Walnut
Acres–the only retail distributor of Magic
Pectin–has decided to give MOTHER EARTH NEWS’ readers an
exclusive, onetime introductory offer.

Here’s the good-until-1980 deal: Eight ounces of L.M.
pectin (enough for four dozen pints of jelly!) along with
the required one ounce of dicalcium phosphate costs you
only $6.00, while a one-pound/ two-ounce pair of packets of
the jammakers is a mere $9.00 (these charges include
shipping and handling).

Folks, we know it’s late in the growing season, but earlier
this summer–because of a lemon freeze in
California–Walnut Acres was plumb out of the precious
pectin. MOTHER EARTH NEWS came to the Pennsylvania health food store’s
rescue by helping it track down a new supplier, so the
folks there are now very kindly returning the favor by
offering you their products at economical “pre-freeze”

Besides, there’s plenty of good jamming time left (try
using elderberries, grapes, quinces, apples, and plums, for
instance). So don’t wait. Try this amazing pectin now
and–come next season–you won’t use anything

EDITOR’S NOTE: Euell and Joe Gibbons first announced this
discovery to the world in their fascinating and informative
Feast on a Diabetic Diet ($3.95, David McKay