Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pectin - Ball Real Fruit Pectin

Not all pectin brands are equal.   They have very different processing requirements.   REMEMBER THAT!  You can't substitute one brand for another and use the same instructions.

I use Ball Pectin.   Ball has a new pectin product out. 

UPDATE 3:   I now use Dutch Jell All Natural Lite.   Way cheaper!

It's a quasi-bulk jar of pectin, 4.7 oz, designed so that you can adjust the amount of pectin easily to the amount of jam you want to make.   If you only want 2 jars of jam, you only need 1 1/2 Tablespoons of pectin.     The old packets of pectin were 3 Tablespoons.

It's a good idea.   But it's going to take some getting used to.  

First the bad news.   The lovely paper insert full of recipes that used to be in the box has now been replaced with a sorta-sticky wrap-around label.

No more fun recipes.   No more freezer jam recipes. 

I looked online to find out if they had a recipe page, but I can't find one.   Maybe they want you to buy the Ball Blue Book. [ If you don't already have one, get it.  It's chock full of handy information]

UPDATE:  I finally found the BALL recipe site here.  Pay special attention to the instructions and the type of pectin called for.  I noticed that some of them looked odd and then realized that they called for liquid pectin.

UPDATE 2:  They moved the recipes page to here.

UPDATE 4:  My recipes are better.   Check out A Simple Jar of Jam on my sidebar.  You can get a free preview by following the link.  You can buy the book from my Etsy site:

[If you want more recipes, you could go over to the Sure Jell site, but remember those cooking directions will NOT work with Ball Pectin!]

Another thing that REALLY bugged me was the quantity of pectin inside the jar when you open it up new.

I opened this fresh jar just before I took the pic so you can see that NEW, it's only just over half full.   The first jar I opened was the same. 

That is total marketing B.S.  And as a consumer, it really ticked me off. 

Now for the good news.

Ball makes great pectin and I love it because you can use as little sugar as you want.  Make sure to get the Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin.   That's what I'm showing here. 

Photo: Rose petal jam [recipe tomorrow!] that I made with it today.

Here is the basic process for using BALL pectin.

1.  Stir the pectin in the cold fruit/juice or water.   NO SUGAR YET.  Really.  I'm serious.  Don't go there.
2.  Bring to a boil and boil HARD for 1 minute.   I always do 2 minutes just in case.
3.  Add the sugar.
4.  Bring to a boil again and boil HARD for 1 minute.   I always do 2 minutes just in case.
5.  Put in sterilized jars and process to seal.

A lot of old recipes have you adding the pectin to the sugar.   That doesn't work with Ball.   I know.   I've tried it.    Use Ball pectin the way I described above.

  • Hard boil means it's boiling so hard you can't stir it down.   Keep stirring.   If the boil goes away, it's not boiling hard enough.   When it boils even with you stirring, it's a hard boil. 
  • Sometimes you need to soak your fruit or whatever overnight with the sugar.   Don't worry about that.  DO NOT stir Ball pectin into the sugar/fruit mix.  [I know.  I tried it.]   Dissolve your Ball pectin in cold water instead.  3 cups is nice and you can boil it down quite a bit as you're getting it to the hard boil stage.
  • Add the sugar only after the Ball pectin has been activated by the 1 minute hard boil.    It doesn't matter if you're adding just dry sugar, or petals and sugar that have been sitting overnight.  I've done it both ways with success. 
  • To convert an old recipe, just re-arrange the order in which you add things.   Add the pectin to cold fruit/juice or water, boil, add sugar or fruit/sugar mix, boil.    You'll still be able to use those recipes - you'll just need to adjust your thinking a bit.
  • Take the opportunity to reduce the sugar you use in those old recipes.   You'll probably find that you can cut out 1/3 of it and not even notice.   Play around.  It's an excuse to make more jam. 
Good luck!  Let me know how this works for you.


  1. Thank you for this! I've always done freezer jam because I could get it to work. Tried the stove-top method. Made tar. But now I'm going to try it this way.

    And I'm dying to see your recipe for rose petal jam. What does it taste like? Rose water? And do you use your own rose petals, or can you buy them somewhere?

    You're the bombette, dudette.

  2. Robin, where in town do you get this Ball Pectin? I think B-foods only sells Pomona (or whatever it's called). Thanks!

  3. Teresa - It's at Menard's. Loads of it.

  4. I buy the Ball Pectin at WalMart. I like it better also.

  5. Robin, thanks! I boycott Wal-Mart, so I'm glad that I can get it at Menards. :)

  6. Thank you for posting this information.

  7. good information thanks. I clicked on the site for more ball recipes and it isn't there anymore. will you post the site address if you have it still. I have been looking for an low or no sugar needed pectin recipe using equal--I don't like how the splenda tastes.

    1. I found it here: Thanks for letting me know they changed it.

  8. Help Help. I have canned for 25 years and just started used Ball Reall fruit Pectin. However, in spite of a master's degree my math is 4th grade level. If I have 4. 5 cups of blackberries crushed in food pro- how many cups of sugar and how much pectin. I cannot figure out their calculator. I have a 1930's Ball book , which is great but this new formula is driving me nuts

    1. Hi momlovesyoubest! If you want sweet jam, then use equal amounts of sugar and fruit. If you want less sweet jam, then use 1/2 as much sugar as fruit and the add more if you want it sweeter. I'd use 3 Tablespoons of the Ball pectin for that jam. Boil it hard! Let me know if you have more questions!

  9. Thank you SO much for leading me to the recipes! I have wanted to use the low or no sugar needed pectin to make freezer jam, but could not find out how to do it!


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