Pectin or Before you get "Jammed Up"

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Fruit "Wine" Maker
Aug 29, 2015
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Northwest Arkansas
I'll not pretend to know all the science behind how pectin works but... There have been several recent posts about using jam, jelly, preserves or other prepared fruit in wine making. Most of these have lots of Pectin in them, either naturally occurring or added to help make that product 'jell.' For those products that's a good thing - but for wine making - NOT good.

(The following is not original content from me but rather a gathering of info I found in a few simple searches regarding pectin.)

First - Pectin is a complex carbohydrate/fiber/structural heteropolysaccharide, found both in the cell walls of plants, and between the cell walls, helping to keep them rigid. In foods preparation it helps that food product bind everything together instead of being a runny soupy jam jelly etc. This is great news for people who are getting over a bout of diarrhea because the presence of this substance in apples is considered some of nature’s best medicine. Doctor’s frequently prescribe the brat diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) for patients with this condition. Either whole apples or applesauce can help end these nasty stomach conditions by providing that extra thickening agent in the gut.

THAT right there should tell us that pectin is NOT our friend when making wine.

We WANT that fruit first of all to break down and release its flavor and sugars. Pectin works against that process.

Enter our hero PECTIC ENZYME - Enemy and destroyer of Pectin.

So when we are making wine we add Pectic Enzyme (PE) to break down Pectin and help the fruit release all those wonderful element we want in our wine AND to help let all that pulp/fiber etc drop out of our wine.

Add too little PE and you have a slower process of fruit breakdown and potentially a bad case of Pectic Haze. (Been there DON'T want to see that again)

Add too much PE and.... Well so far nobody has spoken up in the 4 plus years I've been on this forum to caution about and bad effects. So double or even triple that PE dosage and get rid of Pectin.

Again IF you want to use a home or commercially prepared Jam, Jelly, Preserve or other fruit item check and see if Pectin has been added to it. If so, proceed with caution and be prepared to up your PE dosage.

As usual there may be alternative positions on this topic but if in doubt do your own research and just be aware of what your outcome may be and the steps you can take to resolve issues.

The amount of naturally occurring pectin varies:
(This list is from a site for those making jams, jellies, and preserves)
High-Pectin Fruits

tart, under-ripe apples
unripe blackberries
lemons, limes
crab apples
plums (but not Italian variety)
grapes (Eastern Concord variety)

Moderate-Pectin Fruits

ripe apples
ripe blackberries
sour cherries
grapes (California)

Low-Pectin Fruits

ripe cherries
Italian plums