I usually make jams and jellies at home as my son just loved it. In the last winter, season I bought a stock of Pectin on sale for making jam.
I had the fruit thawing to make several batches of jam. So, I decided to try hands on a new batch of jam last week.
I collected all other ingredients required for jam. But I found pectin goes beyond the expiry date.
I was wondering can I use expired pectin? Does it go bad?
I did lots of research about it. After researching I got to know, Yes, pectin can go bad, but not in terms of food safety but all about its quality.
The pectin starts losing its gelling power after the expiry date. The end product you made like jams or jellies with expired pectin will not gel as it should be.
Read further to know more about different types of Pectin, and its storage and shelf life.
What is Pectin?
Pectin is a type of polysaccharide starch. It is found especially in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables.
Pectin is a natural gelling agent. It is used in food like jams and jellies for gelling formation. Without using pectin jams will not gel.
When pectin combined with sugar and acid, it forms a semi-solid structure in jams and jellies when they cool.
Pectin is entirely made from a plant. Commercial pectin is produced from citrus rinds. It is sold in powder or liquid form.
You can find liquid and dry pectin in a wide variety of foods. It can be used in homemade jams to commercial produced gummy candies.
Types of Pectin
There are two types of Pectin-
High Methoxyl Pectin
The High Methoxyl Pectin is made from apples or rinds of citrus fruit.
High methoxyl pectin has two types- “fast- or rapid-set” or “slow-set.”
Fast set HM is used for chunky jams and marmalades. Slow set HM is perfect for clear jellies.
Low Methoxyl Pectin
Low Methoxyl Pectin uses calcium instead of sugar to form set. It is used for low or no sugar preservatives. This is ideal for low sugar recipes.
What’s the Difference Between Liquid and Powder Pectin?
Commercial pectin is made from apple or citrus peels. They can be sold in liquid and powder forms.
By using both forms you can achieve good results. They both are thickener, but the methods of adding these two forms are different.
Powdered pectin is added to the unheated crushed fruit.
Liquid pectin added instantly when cooked fruit and sugar mixture removed from the heat.
You can not use liquid and powder pectin interchangeably.
What is the Shelf life of Pectin?
Pectin should be stored in a cool and dry environment similar to a lower shelf in your pantry.
Pectin begins to weaken after extraction from citrus rind. The average shelf life of pectin is about 1 year.
It will take 18 months to 2 years prior to the user will start to notice weaker gels.
in you are concerned about the shelf life of pectin, you can use this Pomona’s Universal Pectin as it has an indefinite shelf life as long as you don’t get it wet.
It is sugar-free and low methoxyl pectin. As per Pomona’s, this pectin is made from the dried peel of lemon, lime, and orange.
It is 100% pure citrus pectin. It is vegan, GMO-free, and gluten free.
No, any preservatives, additives and sugar added.
If you don’t make jams and jellies frequently, this will be the best buy for you.
Can You Freeze Pectin?
Yes, you can freeze pectin.
You can freeze both types of pectin powdered and liquid.
It is a good choice to buy new in all pectin in each season whether it is powdered or liquid.
Because old pectin may result in weak gel formation. But this problem is less with low-methoxyl pectin.
If you want to save powdered pectin, you can freeze it for the next use.
You can store it in moisture and vapor-proof containers and keep it in the freezer.
But I wouldn’t recommend freezing powdered pectin. It may get moisture in it after freezing.
You just need to put the powdered pectin boxes in the sealed zip lock and Tupperware. They are good to use for longer.
Does Pectin go bad? / Can You Use Expired Pectin?
Yes, pectin can go bad.
Here bad means it will get old and start losing its gelling power.
It is not about its food safety issue but it’s about quality.
High storage temperature, fungus, and bacteria are the major factors that can degrade the quality of pectin.
If the pectin packet is open, humidity fluctuation might have gotten it a bit damp.
The acid environment also may cause it to break down as there is citric acid used in pectin.
The pectin package with a past expiration date may affect the gel quality of the end product you made with pectin.
It means the product made with expired pectin will not gel or work as it should.
If you made a batch of jam or jelly with expired pectin, the jam or jelly would not set up correctly. You may end up with runny jam or jelly consistency.
This is the case for both types of pectin either liquid or dry pectin.
Though some folks still have been using expired powdered pectin successfully.
They are using expired pectin for jams and jellies with right gelling formation.
So, it’s your call using expired pectin or not.
But If you ask me about using expired pectin, I would not use expired pectin for making my batches of jam.
Rather I would use it for other recipes.
If you have expired pectin you can try other recipes like ice cream topping, jam for pancake syrup, etc. So that it would not go waste.
The expired pectin may start yellowed and started to form clumps in it. If you use that type of pectin, the end product will come out too thin.
Even though you want to use expired yellowed or clumpy pectin, I suggest don’t go for making a large batch of food. First, try hands-on making a small batch.
If it won’t come out as per your desired consistency, pitch the old one and buy new pectin.
You can also check the pectin power with little fruit juice or sugar water.
Microwave the appropriate volume of pectin with a quarter cup of liquid.
Microwave it until its boiling. Check the consistency when it cools down.
If it is set properly as per your desired gelling consistency, go for it. Otherwise, buy a new one.
If you don’t make jams frequently and you are a newbie for canning, try Pomona’s Universal pectin which doesn’t have an expiry date and it is totally reliable for you.