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If I use cornstarch in my jam recipes instead of pectin, will it change the shelf life of my jams? Is there any reason I shouldn't use cornstarch?
I'm not a jam expert but I have cooked with cornstarch a lot and it presents no problem. It is a good substitute in vegan products for instance it is great for lemon curd
i see many online recipes that use cornstarch, or that advocate adding conrstarch if things are not solidifying as they should
i think an issue with it is that it thickens rather dramatically so one might have to be careful of that
We don't have pectin where I live. In order to substitute for pectin, I use lime juice and the skin. I will use a garlic grader in order to grade the skin of the lime very fine.
Lime Peel is a source of Pectin :-)
I cannot find pectin at these stores nearby. Can I substitute with unflavored gelatin?
No. They are 2 different products. Gelatin comes from animals and pectin from fruit. Unripe fruits contain more pectin than ripe, so if you don't have pectin, you can do like they did before commercial pectin came around, and use a portion of your fruit that is not fully ripe. Apple is best.
You need to use fruits high in pectin. You cannot use canned or frozen fruit juices. Peels will add pectin to the product. There are also different processing times for jams and jellies without pectin. This article discusses it in greater detail: nchfp.uga.edu/