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Two Letters Re: Pomona Universal Pectin

I asked my cousin to respond to the Pomona Universal Pectin article. She is the  production manager and head nutritionist at a commercial jam manufacture. Here is what she had to say: “Pomona Universal Pectin is a low methoxyl pectin.  This means that it will gel without the presence of sugar if a salt (monocalcium phosphate) is added at the critical time.  If the salt is added at the wrong time, the resulting products have an “applesauce” type consistency.  The biggest problem with this type of pectin is that it is inconsistent across different fruit and different degrees of ripeness of the fruit.  Since all fruit has natural pectins, those that have more natural pectins will set more firmly and be rubbery, while those with less pectin will be runny.  We use some low methoxyl pectin in our products, but we also add xanthan gum, locust bean gum (all natural, 100% fiber products) to our jam to alleviate these problems.”  Regards, – Robert E.

First, I’ve used Pomona Universal Pectin for years. Great product. And it’s cheaper to buy in quantity, by mail.  It the last couple years the price went up  25+%.   Coming from Europe, I believe, it’s sometimes on backorder for weeks at the local coop, right when you need it, in the summer. To make sure it keeps indefinitely I put both parts [pectin and activator powder] in plastic bags, then in mason jars, and then removed the air [and more moisture] with my Vacu-saver. However, do plan on using much more fruit. Regular pectin jam with 7 cups of sugar to 4 cups berries is about 64% sugar. Pomona made jam with it’s maximum of 2 cups sugar to 4 cups berries, is 33% sugar.  Much better for you, but you’ll get about 1/2 the yield of regular jam. My experience is that jam consumed in about five months is fine with 1.5 cups of sugar; but if you plan on keeping some jars for 6 months or more, then 2 cups sugar keeps the flavor better.  Also the jam, with it’s lower sugar content, only keeps for about 3 weeks, once it’s opened;  Not months, like the store bought high sugar jams.  So if you live alone, or like to keep several kinds of jam opened all at the same time in the fridge, the pint jars may be too much. Have fun jamming. 

Don’t forget long sleeves and pants for protection with the boiling water, despite the heat. Make plenty.   It’s the perfect Christmas present for relatives and neighbors “who have everything”. – T.H.R.