View All Molecular Gastronomy Glossary
What is Pectin?
Pectin is a structural heteropolysaccharide which is found in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants. In commercial production, it is taken from citrus and other fruits through extraction. The fruits are mixed with a dilute acid and later filtered and separated to come up with this light brown to white powder. When combined with water this indigestible fiber forms a colloidal system.
This is found in many different foods such as jam, milk based beverages, jellies, sweets and fruit juices. Pectin is also used in molecular gastronomy mainly as a gelling agent, thickener and stabilizer. There are a variety of types of pectin which react differently according to the ingredients used. Low methoxyl which is activated with the use of calcium for gelling and high methoxyl pectin that requires sugar for thickening are the two most common types used in cooking.
Low methoxyl pectin is often used in modern cuisine due to the non-thermoreversible gel that it forms and its good reaction to calcium. Its natural capability to emulsify and gel creates stable preparations. It is often used with a concentration ranging from 0.5% to 1% of liquid weight.