Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hydrocolloids- Pectin

Pectin is a very common hydrocolloid in most kitchens. There is a variety of different types of pectin that react differently to changes in ingredients used. The two most common types of pectin that I have come across are; high methoxyl, and low methoxyl. Both types of pectin are extracted from natural means. Most commonly they are obtained from the skins and pomace of citrus and apples. The two types of pectin mentioned above (high and low methoxyl) differ in the degree of esterification. Esterification meaning in this case a chemical reaction between alcohol and acid reactants. Basically the higher the DM (degree of methylation) the faster the set will be in the pectin. (taking into consideration other ingredients used). High methoxyl pectins are characterized by their; thermoirreversability and ability to gel in high sugar, low pH (acidic) solutions. Low methoxyl pectins are characterized by their; thermoreversability, and ability to gel in the presence of calcium. Whether you are using low or high methoxyl pectins in your formula you must take into consideration a few variables; the ammount of sugar you are using, pH level, calcium level, ammount of solids, and the reactivity of the pectin. By knowing how each ingredient will react to the ammount of pectin used you can begin to formulate recipes to achieve your desired texture and consistency. This will take trial and error...fortunately you can always learn from your mistakes.

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