I had no idea that I could just whomp up a batch of liquid pectin, but I tried it, and apparently, that's just exactly what I did. It was easy too, and the 'test' for it is kinda cool.
I learned about it here. It's a simple, 3 page printout, and most of the info you need is right there on page 1.
We had some apples hubby had thinned from the orchard. They are very green, nowhere near ripe, and perfect for making pectin. I washed them off, lopped off anything that looked yucky, cut them in quarters (more or less) and tossed them into the big crock pot.
Next I added water until the apples were almost covered, put on the lid and turned the crock pot to High and went about my life for the rest of the day. Every now and again I gave the whole mess a stir.
Eventually I ended up with this hot mess.
I lined some colanders with flour sack cloth and put bowls beneath to collect the pectin. All you have to do is spoon it in and let it drain through. Don't squeeze the mixture or force it in any way or you'll end up with an even cloudier mixture...at least that's what the article says!
Once it was done draining, the solids went to the hens and we were left with liquid pectin. Well...maybe. We need to test it!
Put some alcohol in a little bowl, add some cooled (it's important that it is not still hot) pectin and wait a while.
If it does this, it's pectin!
If it falls through the fork tines, it may need to be cooked down more to concentrate it, then you can test it again once it's cool. Mine made fruit snot on the first try - WOOT!
And on a side note, what a cool science project! Make fruit snot with your kids! Make them learn exactly what is going on here to cause this reaction (then, someone please tell me!)
I made two batches, and now I have 2 quarts and one half pint of pectin. The article explains how to use it for making jam or jelly. The author uses some old school techniques - I will be water bath canning mine - but the pectin/fruit/sugar ratios should still work well.
I should have enough for 2 batches of something. Will it be jam? Jelly? We'll see what fruit we get and what makes the most sense. I can't WAIT to try it! If things go as I'm hoping, I'll be back some time this weekend with pictures of jalapeno-peach jam made with some of this pectin. :)