Learn How to Make Natural Pectin For Jelly and Jam

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Homemade Pectin

Homemade pectin is very easy to make. And with jam season right around the corner, it’s time to get the recipes out! Enjoy this Strawberry Jam Recipe too!

Strawberries from Florida are just starting to come into season. And one of the best ways to preserve them is to make jam. There’s nothing better than fresh strawberry jam on a slice of hot homemade bread. Strawberries can be crushed and spread on things, but they last a lot longer in a jam.

What is Pectin?

Pectin is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that is present in many fruits such as apples, blackberries, gooseberries, crab apples, cranberries, grapes, medlars, plums, and quince. It’s also present in citrus peels, which is why you often see marmalades made from orange, tangerine, or grapefruit peels. Only small amounts of pectin are found in fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherries, pears, peaches, and raspberries. You can often make jam from fruits with high amounts of pectin without adding more, but those with small amounts will need more added to it. You can also make homemade pectin!

Do you still need sugar if using pectin in jam?

It’s a common belief that if you use a carbohydrate like a pectin that you won’t need sugar and can use a sugar substitute. This is true to a certain degree, but pectin needs a sugar of some sort to work. You can use regular sugar, or another sugar substitute like maple syrup, agave, rice syrup, stevia, or honey. Most all sugar substitutes will result in a softer set in your jams. (If you do choose to use stevia, monk fruit or something similar, make the ratio no more than 50/50. Any more stevia than that will result in a softer jam as well.)

You can make a no-sugar-added jam, but as stated before, pectin needs sugar to react. Without sugar, you’ll likely get a softer set just as you would with a sugar substitute.

Homemade Pectin

Note: if you just want to buy natural pectin, we recommend this one.



Add ingredients to a pot and simmer 30-40 minutes. Cool a bit, then strain. Your liquid will be the pectin.

To Use

To make jam, use 4-6 tablespoons of pectin per cup of mashed fruit. Add ¾-1 cup of sugar, or ½ cup sugar and ½ cup stevia or another sugar substitute.

If you don’t use all of your homemade pectin right away, you can freeze it or can it in a water bath.


If you don’t have apples handy, you can use a pound of citrus peels instead. Cut off as much of the pith (the white stuff inside of the peel) as possible and only use the outermost part of the peel.

Strawberry Jam With Homemade Pectin

Like I said in the beginning, I love fresh strawberry jam! Here is a simple recipe that you can make in less than an hour.


  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, washed, cored, and mashed
  • ¼ cup pectin
  • ½ cup of raw sugar


Simmer strawberries and pectin together. Add sugar and simmer a few more minutes. Can in a water bath processor or freeze for up to three months. I usually let some sit and cool before canning to be sure it will be the right consistency. If the strawberries are too sweet (although that never happens!) you can add a bit of lemon or lime juice.


About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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  1. Kathy says

    When making the strawberry jam, how long do you simmer the strawberries and pectin, before you add the sugar?

  2. Lisa says

    So would the ratio still be the same for the carrots? One pound of carrots to 1 1/2 cups filtered water? Thanks!

  3. MiTmite9 says

    Hahaha. Crabapples. I think I saw one crabapple tree in my hometown in my lifetime. That was about 50 years ago. Never see crabapples in market. Oh, well.

    • Cynthia says

      I have two crab apple trees in my yard that have been providing apples since before I was a toddler (and that was almost 60 years ago). My mom always canned pickled crab apples, which I don’t care for. But if I can use them for pectin, that would be terrific. Just want it to turn out right, hence the question……

      • Debra Maslowski says

        We had crab apples at the orchard I worked at in Minnesota, but when I came to North Carolina and asked where to find them, everyone thought I was nuts! They leave them for the cedar waxwings in the fall. Now I have four trees on either side of the dorm where the coffee shop that I manage is. I’ve been harvesting them for almost 5 years now. So you never know where you’ll find them, MiTmite9! You can also try hawthorn berries (even higher than apples!), and rose hips too. And I just read that carrots are higher in pectin. Who knew?!

    • Debra Maslowski says

      The short answer is yes, Cynthia! You can do either. I use the whole thing, then when I put them through the chinois, the conical strainer for making jam. The peels and stems then go to my chickens and they love them.

    • Debra Maslowski says

      There are a lot of fruits that are high in pectin Lila. Apples are about the highest, and citrus rinds are a close second. Guavas, quince, plums, gooseberries, apricots and even carrots are all higher in pectin.