Fruit pectin, or just pectin, is a heteropolysaccharide, a complex carbohydrate made up of D-galacturonic acid chains. It has been used in the food industry for quite sometime now, mainly as a gelling agent for jams, jellies, and candies. Because of its compact chain structure, it helps in binding and hence is popular. If you have ever wondered why fruits taste in a peculiar manner, then that is because of the presence of little to more amounts of pectin in them and thus the name, fruit pectin.
As mentioned before, fruit pectin has been a popular gelling agent for a long time now. It is present in few of the fruits and vegetables, especially oranges, apples, peaches, carrots, peas, and potatoes, from which it is extracted and used as a coagulating agent. However, fruits are the best source for obtaining it. It has also been sold as a powder or liquid in the market today apart from the natural extraction. It is also a part of the plant cell walls, wherein it gives the cell proper shape and rigidity.
Pectin is a whitish to light brownish color powder which has to be mixed with water so that it acts as a gelling agent. It is because of this property, that it helps in stabilizing and thickening of jams, candies, jellies, and acts as a good food additive. If you make these food items on a regular basis, then you would probably be using the ready-made mix available in the market. Next time though, check the ingredients and you will realize that pectin is the essential one amongst all.
For natural extraction of pectin from fruits, you would have to first gather them. It can be extracted by boiling fruit peels or rinds for a few minutes, say about 10 minutes, to get the thicker consistency required. However, if you happen to boil for more than 20 minutes, it will be obtained in a liquid consistency and can only be used for fruit juices.
As mentioned before, you get it in the market as well. However, it depends on where you stay. You can buy it online as well, by taking into consideration all the safety measures. Apple pectin is excellent and has been the most popular one till date. In case, you fail to get it anywhere, then there are few substitutes which would come to your rescue. As an alternative, you can use cornstarch, gelatin, or tapioca, which act a binders and are used in many recipes.
Consumption of fruit pectin is also said to help in arthritis pain relief, to a great extent. It is said to act as a cleansing agent, which helps get rid of toxic from the body, and hence is a reliable solution to bowel problems, like constipation and diarrhea. Many have used it to pass drug tests too. It has been observed that consumption of fruit pectin prior to a drug test, for smoking marijuana or other drugs, helps get negative test results. For this very reason, however, some states have banned its use.