What You Need to Know About Pectin

What You Need to Know About Pectin - Ingreland
Pectin is a natural, plant-based ingredient that is commonly used in the food industry as a thickener and gelling agent. It is found in many fruits and vegetables, and is commonly extracted from citrus fruits, apples, and sugar beets. In this article, we will explore what pectin is, its uses in the food industry, and its potential health benefits.

What is Pectin?

Pectin is a natural and commercially produced essential ingredient in preserves, like jellies and jams. Without pectin, jellies and jams won’t gel. Pectin is a type of starch, called a heteropolysaccharide, that occurs naturally in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables and gives them structure. When combined with sugar and acid, it is what makes jams and jellies develop a semisolid texture when they cool. Some fruits, like apples and quince, and the rinds, seeds, and membranes of citrus are naturally very high in pectin. Commercial pectins are usually made from citrus rinds. It is sold as a dry powder and in liquid form and can be expensive.

Uses of Pectin in the Food Industry

Pectin is extensively used as a gelling agent in canned jams and jellies, and as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier in juices, bakery, confectionery, and dairy products. It is also a crucial source of dietary fiber. Global production reaches 60,000 tons annually, but demand still exceeds supply. Pectin is also used in conjunction with other thickeners in food products like gelatin, locust bean gum, modified food starch, agar agar, guar gum, and gum arabic. Pectin in Jam, Jellies, and Preserves

The primary use of pectin is in jams, and jellies, i.e., in various fruit preserves. Jam products are the traditional application of pectin, which improves the taste of jams, decreases cooking time, provides good flow, improves taste and color, and increases shelf life. The recommended use rate is approximately 0.2 to 0.3 percent.

Pectin is effective for improving mouthfeel, adding flavor, reducing assimilation, and making jellies smooth and creamy. HM pectin is used in traditional jams, jellies, and preserves with 65 percent to 75 percent S.S. and a final pH of 3.0 to 3.5, and usually contains 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent HM pectin. Depending upon the content of soluble solids and package size, rapid set, medium rapid set, and slow set HM pectin is available.

In the production of low-calorie jams, jellies, and preserves, LM pectin, particularly LMA pectin, is used in combination with calcium salts to form rapid and uniform pectin-Ca2+ gels.

Acid Milk Drinks Acidic milk drinks could be cultured, directly acidified, or mixed with fruit juice. In the absence of stabilizers, protein precipitation and serum separation could occur, and pectin molecules can be protected by hydrophobic action and electrostatic repulsion to prevent aggregation of casein particles, thus achieving a longer shelf life. HM pectin has a DE value of over 70 percent and can be used in acid milk beverages. Beverages Low-calorie or low-juice-content beverages lose their viscosity because of the dissolution of sugar and have a thinner mouthfeel. Pectin could help restore the desired mouthfeel by building a stable viscosity without adding any calories. Pectin also increases the viscosity of the pulp in fruit juices and offers excellent turbidity stability to pulpy beverages. Pectin offers an unparalleled refreshing taste. HM Pectin is especially advantageous in this application. Pectin in Fruits Preparations Soluble solids of 20 to 65 percent are required for general fruit pre-treatment. For good taste, soluble solids of 50 to 65 percent are required. HM pectin is suitable for fruit preparations with more than 60 percent S.S. and a final pH of 3.5 or below. LM pectin provides a wider range of gelation in terms of pH and S.S. Pectin is well suited for yogurt fruit preparation because of its pumpable texture and its ability to prevent fruit floating. Pectin in Bakery Jelly Bakery jellies need very high baking stability and low moisture activity to avoid the conversion of moisture from the filling to the dough. Because of industrial use, pumpability (shear stability) and a spreadable texture become increasingly important. Thus, it is possible to choose between HM pectin with extra slow set solidification and LM pectin with high calcium reactivity. Pectin in Ice cream Pectin has an emulsifying and stabilizing effect, which could make the finished product taste delicate and smooth. Recommended dosage: 0.1% to 0.2%. Confectionery

Pectin is an excellent gelling agent for the production of premium candies and chewing gum. It has a transparent appearance, provides an elastic texture, presents an excellent taste, is non-sticky, and at the same time low in calories. Recommended usage: 1.5% to 2.5%

At the same time, it works synergistically with gelatin to avoid the low melting point that happens when only gelatin is used, thus improving the stability of the candy. As a texturing agent, pectin is extensively used in the confectionery industry.

Pectin enables a better release of flavor in confectionery and has a typical viscoelastic texture. For fruit-flavored candies, extra slow-set HM pectin could be used, while for “neutral” flavored candies, buffered LM pectin is suitable for ultimately relatively high pH values.

Yoghurt The purpose of adding pectin to yogurt is to improve taste, extend shelf life, offer a creamy, rich texture, and stabilize emulsions. Pectin improves the texture of yogurt and lowers the tendency of yogurt to assimilate. The addition of pectin to a shaped yogurt improves the firmness of the yogurt, and stirring the yogurt leads to a more creamy texture. Both LMC and LMA could be used in yogurt products. It is generally recommended to add about 0.1% to 0.2%. Pectin in Jelly Pectin has been used for many years to make high-quality, tender, confectionery jellies with especially good flavor release. Unlike some other products, pectin jellies could be manufactured to the desired final solids content and do not require staving to remove excess moisture. Pectin in Dressings and Glazes Dressings are used after the dessert has cooled or frozen for a refreshing taste as well as appearance. Glazes are generally reheated and diluted with water before application. They are applied to baked goods to avoid them from drying out. Therefore, a thermo-reversible gel is necessary to make sure a visco-elastic texture after use. It is clear that LMA Pectin has the advantage of meeting all these requirements. The recommended dosage is generally 1.0 to 1.5%.

Types of Pectin

There are several different types of pectin available, each with different properties and applications. High methoxyl pectin is the most commonly used type of pectin and is used in high-sugar products, such as jams and jellies. Low methoxyl pectin is used in low-sugar and sugar-free products, such as yogurts and fruit spreads. Amidated pectin is used in acidic products, such as fruit juices and soft drinks, where it provides stability and enhances the mouthfeel. Related: Apple Pectin Help with Weight Loss

Health Benefits of Pectin

In addition to its functional properties, pectin may also have health benefits. Pectin is a soluble fiber, which means it can be fermented by the gut microbiota and produce beneficial compounds like short-chain fatty acids. This can help support gut health and may have other health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity. Some studies have also suggested that pectin may help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.


Pectin is a natural, plant-based ingredient that has a wide range of applications in the food industry. It is a versatile thickener and gelling agent that is commonly used in fruit-based products like jams and jellies, but can also be used in other products like dairy and bakery items. In addition to its functional properties, pectin may also have health benefits, including supporting gut health and reducing the risk of heart disease. By understanding the properties and applications of pectin, manufacturers can create innovative and appealing products that meet the demands of today’s consumers. Read Our Latest Blogs:

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