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Pectine or not pectine


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#1 delights

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 06:43 AM

Because of my job it happens to me to sell some jams.
But,for now 2 or 3 years,I've been in contact with persons who need jams without pectine.
Is it a fashion?
Or has the taste of the consumers changed?
But what is pectine?
Does it make the jam more acceptable and more solid
(the jam without pectine is sometimes too liquid).
Does it compensate the miss of sugar of the fruit?
Some fruits like strawberry or raspberry need pectine.
Some others like orange don't have a great need of pectine.
In France the jams must have a minimum of fruit of 55 %.
These kinds of jams have always pectine.
But now we have on the market some jams with 70 % of
fruit and without Pectine.
I must say that I trust these last one jams.
Obviously some persons will assert that I privilege the taste instead of the aspect.
The dispute is not consequently settled.
Maybe Nostradamus could argue about this,for,by writing
his treaty of jams,he showed that he was the theorician
of the jams without pectine!
Philippe raynaud
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#2 Adam Balic

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Posted 15 February 2003 - 09:52 AM

Delights - some information about pectin for you.

Pectin

All jelled jam will have pectin as it is a natural componant of fruit. It is a type of sugar that when exposed to acid and water turns into a gel, so it is the perfect setting agent for jam. Many comercial jams add pectin to aid in the gelling process, as the fruit they are using may not have enough pectin (tends to be more in unripe fruit). This added pectin is what is listed on the list of ingredients. Some commercial jams use other setting agents. In some cases this may be gelatine (have just seen a jar of cherry jam that contained pork gelatine), most people would prefer added pectin as the texture is much better with the use of pectin, rather then gelatin.

People preference for "no pectin jam" is clearly not related to no being able to eat pectin as all jam will contain some pectin. It could be due to confusion of gelatine with pectin (one is an animal product etc) or a preceived idea that jam without added pectin is "better".

#3 Bux

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Posted 15 February 2003 - 09:59 AM

Out of curiosity, where was the jam with pork gelative made? I've always thought gelatine was made from veal or beef bones. It's relatively tasteless as far as I know. I assume pork gelatine would also be tasteless, but the information might be important to a Muslim or someone who kiep a kosher diet. I wonder if it might be important in a positive way to someone worried about the possibility of made cow disease.
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#4 Adam Balic

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Posted 15 February 2003 - 10:23 AM

Bux - for you I just went through my rubbish bin contents, to find out the origin of the jam :smile: . Origin: UK. Could indeed be a BSE thing I guess.

Gelatine set jam sucks. Texture is all wrong, sad little pieces of fruit trapped in a un-spreadable matrix of jelly. Jam bounces of edge of toast and escapes, rather then spreading .

#5 Bux

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Posted 15 February 2003 - 11:02 AM

I don't think I've ever seen gelatine on the label of a quality jam. It's been a long while since we've bought any sort of the cheaper jams on the US market. In fact I never liked preserves until we started buying the better ones. One of my latest strange habits has been to bring back jams from artisanal producers when we visit France. It's a lot of fragile weight to be had carried on and off the plane, I might just as well stick to Calvados and Armagnac. Worse yet, a high percentage seems to leave the house as gifts to friends. We're currently finishing a jar of blackbery (mûre) jam from Normandy that contains blackberries and sugar (the percentages seem to have washed off the cheaply printed labels along with other information) but seems quite jellied. I assume blackberries have a lot of pectin. Coincidently, we still have a jar labeled "Tayberries" from the same producer. He said he got his plants from Scotland, when I asked what Tayberries were in English if that was the French name, or in French if that was the Enlgish name. He also said there was no French name. He was a likable rustic fellow producing a product quite capable of holding it's own against anything for sale on the place de la Madeleine and quite a bit bettter than what I run into in fancy food stores in the US. Margaret Polgrim intoduced us to the annual fair or salon of artisanal producers that occurs in Paris each October, which is where we got these jars.
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#6 Adam Balic

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Posted 15 February 2003 - 11:21 AM

Yes Eating rubbish quality jam is not high on my priorities of life experiences, but sometimes you have no choice in these matters (30 minute drop into work has turned into ten hours, no food avalible except for scavenged bread and jam).

Tayberries are grown in Scotland, I believe that they are a new breed/variety produced from crossing a raspberry with a blackberry (could be incorrect here). Rather nice flavour, sometimes a little sweet. I always bring back far too much food from holidays. This includes jams. I bought some excellent jams (Mirabelle and queshe (sp?) in Paris last year, from a very sweet little shop that look like it hadn't changed from the 19th C. Amazing looking jars, well worth only bringing back 10 bottles of wine and a madoline in my hand luggage to get them!

#7 Bux

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Posted 15 February 2003 - 03:44 PM

I bought some excellent jams (Mirabelle and queshe (sp?) in Paris last year, from a very sweet little shop that look like it hadn't changed from the 19th C.

I believe it's quetsche, which I also believe we call the damson plum. Both mirabelle and quetsche are delighful in the 750 ml bottle as well. In terms of portability there's a great econony in distilling the essence of a fruit that way. :biggrin:
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#8 wingding

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 03:55 AM

I've been reading Christine Ferber's book ,'Mes Confitures'and she usually recommends using a liquid derived from cooking and draining tart apples as a starter for many jams,making use of their high pectin content.Some pectin powder sold in France is referred to as apple pectin,so I'd assume that it is derived from apples!

#9 Vanessa

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 04:08 AM

I bought some excellent jams (Mirabelle and queshe (sp?) in Paris last year, from a very sweet little shop that look like it hadn't changed from the 19th C.

I believe it's quetsche, which I also believe we call the damson plum. Both mirabelle and quetsche are delighful in the 750 ml bottle as well. In terms of portability there's a great econony in distilling the essence of a fruit that way. :biggrin:

Mmmm, eau-de-vie de mirabelle - heavenly stuff :smile:

I started a thread a while ago about pectin (and potatoes I believe - the two being unconnected). In the UK you can only buy liquid pectin or jam sugar with pectin mixed in in supermarkets and I was looking for the powdered stuff for a coriander & honey jelly recipe from Helen Witty. In the end I found (for a monstrous price) pure apple pectin powder from the US vitamins/minerals co., Solgar, in a whole food shop. Apparently it has some use for health nuts as a source of fibre?

I shall report back when I get around to making said jelly.

v

#10 Adam Balic

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 04:50 AM

I bought some excellent jams (Mirabelle and queshe (sp?) in Paris last year, from a very sweet little shop that look like it hadn't changed from the 19th C.

I believe it's quetsche, which I also believe we call the damson plum. Both mirabelle and quetsche are delighful in the 750 ml bottle as well. In terms of portability there's a great econony in distilling the essence of a fruit that way. :biggrin:

Damson and Quetsche plums are both types of Prunus domestica (eg. European yellow fleshed plums derived from the wild sloe), but belong to different groups.

Quetshe belong to the Quetsche group ( :rolleyes: ) and are known as "German prunes" in English.

Damsons belong to the Bullace group and in French are known as "Creque" or "Crequier".

The taste similar after cooking, but Damsons have a lot more acid (try eating a raw one) and colour after cooking.

I like plums.

#11 Bux

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 09:57 AM


I believe it's quetsche, which I also believe we call the damson plum.

Damson and Quetsche plums are both types of Prunus domestica (eg. European yellow fleshed plums derived from the wild sloe), but belong to different groups.

Quetshe belong to the Quetsche group ( :rolleyes: ) and are known as "German prunes" in English.

Damsons belong to the Bullace group and in French are known as "Creque" or "Crequier".

Well that's the last time I place my faith in a French English pocket dictionary published in Germany. :laugh:

Mirabelles are pretty yellow inside and out. I've had damson plum jam that was dark. Does the flesh change color after cooking, or are the skins dark. Do the skins color the jam?
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#12 Adam Balic

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 10:19 AM

Yes, it is like red wine. The red colour of the preserves comes from the skin, not the flesh. Damsons are fantastic to cook with because of their flavour (plum + bitter almond if you leave the pits in during the cooking) and colour, which is an intense deep magenta/scarlet.

In the case of Asian plums which have red flesh (mostly), colour also comes from the flesh.

#13 Bux

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 10:28 AM

To return to an earlier comment I made, much of the mirabelle and quetsche I've consumed has been colorless. :biggrin:
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#14 Adam Balic

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 10:48 AM

To return to an earlier comment I made, much of the mirabelle and quetsche I've consumed has been colorless.  :biggrin:

Well yes, no red colour in Mirabelles and if you can be bothered you can make yellowish preserves from purple plums if you remove the skins (the come off easily after an initial poaching, it takes time for the colour to leach into the liquid).

Just like making white wine from red grapes. I believe your jam would be an example of how more refined the French are, then anybody else in the world when it comes to anything to do with food (or at least this is what I have learnt at egullet :biggrin: ).

#15 Bux

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 04:15 PM

I'm confused, which is what I've learnt from eGullet. Are you saying that making white jam from red fruit is more complex and that a blanc de noirs champagne is more French than a champagne made from chardonay? I'll be sure to put away my best white zinfandel for your next visit? :laugh:
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#16 Adam Balic

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 01:59 AM

Exactly. Sutter Home White Zin. is inherently more sophisticated then a Burgundy, due to the more refined techniques used in the making of this wine. I mean you should see how some of these guys in Burgundy make their wine. Basically a wax lined concrete tank and a bunch of mushed up grapes. No Technique, no refinement and no product placement. Burgundy is for tourists.

At least this is what I have learnt here. :smile:

#17 delights

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 04:05 AM

I've never seen in my french jams,or preserved(confits)
or jellies,some gelatine, of pork moreover!
I wonder how it must be.
Not very tasty.
I think it must me forbidden by the french legislation,without mistake of myself.
And even if it wasn't,I would refuse,out of respect for the
consumer to sell such a product.
Philippe raynaud
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#18 Adam Balic

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 05:53 AM

I don't think that the gelatine, form pigs or other animals, has very much flavour at all. After all, many French deserts contain gelatine as a setting agent. The problem is with the texture of the product, which is why many jams include either added pectin or agar.

#19 Steve Klc

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 06:26 AM

Gelatin can negatively impact texture Adam, but gelatin does have flavor and can be detected especially if over-used in desserts. Soften and melt some sheets and smell it. That's why every good pastry chef talks about using it with a light hand or using as little of it as necessary. That's also in part why those old Lenotre-style French desserts which utilized alot of gelatin in layers--those foamy whipped light bavarian style mousse cakes--have fallen out of favor among the leading edge pastry people.

And as far as powdered apple pectin is concerned, which has also been mentioned on this thread--it's very widely available to pastry chefs in the US. We use it alot--I use small amounts of pectin to thicken some sauces and infusions slightly so they sit up on the plate more and also in pate de fruit.
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#20 Vanessa

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 06:32 AM

And as far as powdered apple pectin is concerned, which has also been mentioned on this thread--it's very widely available to pastry chefs in the US.  We use it alot--I use small amounts of pectin to thicken some sauces and infusions slightly so they sit up on the plate more and also in pate de fruit.

Most interesting - thank you Steve

On the subject of gelatine - my feeling is that leaf gelatine has a less negative impact on flavour than powdered gelatine. Would you agree?

v

#21 Adam Balic

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 07:04 AM

Gelatin can negatively impact texture Adam, but gelatin does have flavor and can be detected especially if over-used in desserts.  Soften and melt some sheets and smell it.  That's why every good pastry chef talks about using it with a light hand or using as little of it as necessary.  That's also in part why those old Lenotre-style French desserts which utilized alot of gelatin in layers--those foamy whipped light bavarian style mousse cakes--have fallen out of favor among the leading edge pastry people.

Oh, I wasn't trying to suggest that it had absolutely no flavour, just that I though that it wouldn't be particularly detectable in something as strongly flavoured as a jam or even a fruit desert. I hav noticed that in some bavatian mousse preparations, the texture of the gelatine is more noticable, is this an indication of too much gelatine being used or more an issue about methodology.

One final thing Steve, do pastry chefs use much agar agar as a setting agent? It melts at a higher temperature then gelatine, but its texture is quite different, so any uses for this vegan product?

#22 Steve Klc

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 08:05 AM

Could be both amount and methodology--especially if the person doesn't understand how gelatin works--that gelatin needs to cool down slowly after initial heating in its mixture to bond properly. If cooled too rapidly--fewer bonds form and less strength is achieved--so the resulting mixture loosens up too quickly when pulled out of the fridge. To compensate for this next time even more gelatin is added to hold the "set." As a result too much gelatin can end up in the final product needlessly. Less gelatin, allowed to cool slowly, would have achieved the same binding effect.

Good other question Adam--no, as a general observation even leading edge pastry chefs are not using it that much, let alone the average working baker somewhere. We have started to discuss agar agar a bit over on the pastry board especially since word has spread about Ferran Adria's use of agar agar to make pasta--tagliatelle of a consomme "set" with agar agar to hold it's shape even while slightly heated--and then usually served to a diner with the waiter pouring some really warm liquid over it to melt it a bit more. I did a caramel gelee with agar agar and used it as nori for a sushi style presentation once and Michael Laiskonis talked a little bit about how he is experimenting with mixtures of agar agar and gelatin in things--but it is very new, seen as very cutting edge at the moment. Creative chefs are using agar agar more these days as well. Agar agar presents its own challenges with stiff texture and if you've ever had any of those Japanese desserts and petit fours which contain agar agar you know what I mean.

Also, re-reading my post I forgot to chime in with a few others here and say I'd never eat a jam made with gelatin. Like Philippe I have had a few very high fruit percentage jams that did not have added pectin on the label and they were delicious--just more like fruit spreads rather than "jams" per se.
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#23 Steve Klc

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 08:14 AM

Could be both amount and methodology--especially if the person doesn't understand how gelatin works--that gelatin needs to cool down slowly after initial heating in its mixture to bond properly. If cooled too rapidly--fewer bonds form and less strength is achieved--so the resulting mixture loosens up too quickly when pulled out of the fridge. To compensate for this next time even more gelatin is added to hold the "set." As a result too much gelatin can end up in the final product needlessly. Less gelatin, allowed to cool slowly, would have achieved the same binding effect.

Good other question Adam--no, as a general observation even leading edge pastry chefs are not using it that much, let alone the average working baker somewhere. We have started to discuss agar agar a bit over on the pastry board especially since word has spread about Ferran Adria's use of agar agar to make pasta--tagliatelle of a consomme "set" with agar agar to hold it's shape even while slightly heated--and then usually served to a diner with the waiter pouring some really warm liquid over it to melt it a bit more. I did a caramel gelee with agar agar and used it as nori for a sushi style presentation once and Michael Laiskonis talked a little bit about how he is experimenting with mixtures of agar agar and gelatin in things--but it is very new, seen as very cutting edge at the moment. Bill Yosses used agar agar in some special japanese desserts he created for the sushi bar downstairs at Citarella restaurant in NYC. Creative chefs are using agar agar more these days as well. Agar agar presents its own challenges with stiff texture and if you've ever had any of those Japanese desserts and petit fours which contain agar agar you know what I mean.

Also, re-reading my post I forgot to chime in with a few others here and say I'd never eat a jam made with gelatin. Like Philippe I have had a few very high fruit percentage jams that did not have added pectin on the label and they were delicious--just more like fruit spreads rather than "jams" per se.
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#24 Adam Balic

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 08:33 AM

Re Adria: Ah, is that how he did it! I have access to his books and noticed a picture of this dish while flicking through, but didn't read the recipe. I discussed the idea with a friend and as we thought that it was gelatin based it's mouthfeel and fragility would make it not worth the effort. Agar agar is an completely different beast and I should have guessed that he used it (having eaten enough coconut milk, panadanus and agar agar based SE -Asian sweets).

I will have to give this an attempt. Would make and interesting dish to serve for a Salmi of game for instance. I have a Chittarra, so no problem with cutting up the noodles.

Thanks Steve!

#25 Steve Klc

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 08:58 AM

Yes, Adria's use of agar agar in "warm gelatins" and pastas have been photographed and featured in magazines all over Europe for a few years now, especially in the serious Italian-language-only culinary media. I think I first started hearing about it in 1998. It's just another of his innumerable little twists and turns each season which take time to spread to other chefs and then for those other chefs to apply their own filter, their own sensibility to the technique or the concept.

I haven't paid close attention to these dishes (mostly savory) but I am sure they are well-represented in the El Bulli 1998-2002. I'd guess 1 g or so of the Spanish powdered agar agar he uses to 200 ml of consomme as a starting point.
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#26 Adam Balic

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 09:13 AM

OK, then I'm not cutting edge then :smile: . I think I saw this in that great big black book that he published recently.

I wonder if you can make a stuffed pasta with this agar agar media? Rhubarb or Quince flavoured (pink coloured from fruit) consomme agar agar ravioli, with a lamb and mint stuffing. Bottle of Billecart-Salmon vintage rose bubbles. Watch out world! :biggrin:

#27 Aquitaine

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 08:57 AM

I bought some excellent jams (Mirabelle and queshe (sp?) in Paris last year, from a very sweet little shop that look like it hadn't changed from the 19th C. Amazing looking jars, well worth only bringing back 10 bottles of wine and a madoline in my hand luggage to get them!


Adam, do you remember the name/address of this shop? Would love to check it out....Thanks.

#28 Adam Balic

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 09:10 AM

Not off the top of my head, but I still have the jars, if not the jam. I will look the information for you.

#29 Vanessa

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 09:26 AM

The reappearance of this thread has reminded me of my promise to feed back re coriander & honey jelly: an unmitigated disaster that went straight down the sink and nearly blocked it. I couldn't be bothered to try again. Basically, the pectin I purchased was of a far higher concentration than that used in Helen Witty's recipe (I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt here :wink: ). Probably a teaspoon of my stuff would have been enough to set the jelly, whereas she stipulated 1 3/4 oz (I halved the recipe, so about 25g was what I used). Point taken for the future.

v

#30 TrishCT

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 11:01 AM

As stated by soemone earlier, pectin is naturally present in all fruits, some have more pectin than others.

I have made blackberry jam (from my own backyard berries) both with and without added pectin (sure gel powder is the pectin I usually use, and I always check to see that the pectin is fresh, never old). I have also made red raspberry jam without pectin. Both ways come out fine, not too thin or runny but there is a big difference in ingredients and preparation.

For the jams with pectin you need to follow the recipes exactly as printed on the pectin box. Whatever amount of fruit to sugar it says to use you need to be exact or it may not gel, and trust me it's more sugar than you wish you had to use.

For the jam without added pectin, you can get away with less sugar than with the pectin, but you have to cook the jam longer so that it thickens to the proper consistency. This takes more cooking time and means constant stirring to make sure the jam doesn't burn. And yes, you can overcook it in which case it comes out too hard, kinda like blackberry candy. Cooking without pectin works fine for blackberry/raspberry jam, but I never tried it for clear jelly, and am not sure how it would work for that.

From what I can tell, the jam without pectin has more fruit flavor than with the pectin. But both are very good, and since I did wreck a batch once by overcooking, I generally use the pectin to ensure good results. :smile:

-Trish