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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics


(Malus Sylvestris)

For Informational Use Only
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.

  • Apple Pectin Description
  • Apple Pectin Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Apple Pectin Dosage Information
  • Apple Pectin Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Apple Pectin Fiber Supplements & Products

  • homemade apple pectin



    Apple Pectin is a compound found in apples (Malus sylvestris). Many other fruits also contain pectin, although apples contain very high concentrations of this compound. Pectin is a structural heteropolysaccharide contained in the primary cell walls of terrestrial plants. It was first isolated and described in 1825 by Henri Braconnot. It is produced commercially as a white to light brown powder, mainly extracted from citrus fruits and apples. Unripe apples have more pectin than ripe and old, overripe apples. Cooks may be familiar with pectin because it is used as a gelling agent particularly in jams and jellies to help them set. It is also used in fillings, medicines, sweets, and as a stabilizer in fruit juices and milk drinks, and as a source of dietary fiber. Pectin also has a number of health benefits. People can consume apples for their pectin or take Apple Pectin supplements, available through health food stores and in the vitamin and supplement aisle at some grocery stores.

    homemade apple pectin in canning jars


    Pectin was first isolated and described in 1825 by Henri Braconnot, though the action of pectin to make jams and marmalades was known long before. To obtain well set jams from fruits that had little or only poor quality pectin, pectin-rich fruits or their extracts were mixed into the recipe. During the industrialization, the makers of fruit preserves soon turned to producers of apple juice to obtain dried apple pomace that was cooked to extract pectin. Later, in the 1920s and 1930s, factories were built that commercially extracted pectin from dried apple pomace and later citrus-peel in regions that produced apple juice in both the USA and in Europe. At first, pectin was sold as a liquid extract, but nowadays pectin is often used as dried powder that is easier to store and handle than a liquid.

    Homemade pectin is easy to make from apples and many homecooks state that have found it works as well as or better than commericially prepared powdered pectin. For more information about making your own pectin, see Homemade Apple Pectin.


    In plant biology, pectin consists of a complex set of polysaccharides that are present in most primary cell walls and are particularly abundant in the non-woody parts of terrestrial plants. Pectin is a major component of the middle lamella, where it helps to bind cells together, but is also found in primary cell walls. The amount, structure and chemical composition of pectin differs among plants, within a plant over time, and in various parts of a plant. Pectin is an important cell wall polysaccharide that allows primary cell wall extension and plant growth. During fruit ripening, pectin is broken down by the enzymes pectinase and pectinesterase, in which process the fruit becomes softer as the middle lamellae break down and cells become separated from each other. A similar process of cell separation caused by the breakdown of pectin occurs in the abscission zone of the petioles of deciduous plants at leaf fall.

    Pectin is a natural part of the human diet, but does not contribute significantly to nutrition. The daily intake of pectin from fruits and vegetables can be estimated to be around 5 grams (assuming consumption of approximately 500 grams (1.17 lbs) fruits and vegetables per day). In human digestion, pectin binds to cholesterol in the gastrointestinal tract and slows glucose absorption by trapping carbohydrates. Pectin is thus a soluble dietary fiber.

    Consumption of pectin has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels. The mechanism appears to be an increase of viscosity in the intestinal tract, leading to a reduced absorption of cholesterol from bile or food. In the large intestine and colon, microorganisms degrade pectin and liberate short-chain fatty acids that have positive influence on health (prebiotic effect).

    Pectins, also known as pectic polysaccharides, are rich in galacturonic acid. Several distinct polysaccharides have been identified and characterized within the pectic group. Homogalacturonans are linear chains of alpha-(1-4)-linked D-galacturonic acid. Substituted galacturonans are characterized by the presence of saccharide appendant residues (such as D-xylose or D-apiose in the respective cases of xylogalacturonan and apiogalacturonan) branching from a backbone of D-galacturonic acid residues. Rhamnogalacturonan-I pectins (RG-I) contain a backbone of the repeating disaccharide: 4)-alpha-D-galacturonic acid-(1,2)-alpha-L-rhamnose-(1). From many of the rhamnose residues, sidechains of various neutral sugars branch off. The neutral sugars are mainly D-galactose, L-arabinose and D-xylose, with the types and proportions of neutral sugars varying with the origin of pectin.

    Another structural type of pectin is rhamnogalacturonan II (RG-II), which is a less frequent complex, highly branched polysaccharide. Rhamnogalacturonan II is classified by some authors within the group of substituted galacturonans since the rhamnogalacturonan II backbone is made exclusively of D-galacturonic acid units. Isolated pectin has a molecular weight of typically 60 to 130,000 grams/mol, varying with origin and extraction conditions.

    In nature, around 80 percent of carboxyl groups of galacturonic acid are esterified with methanol. This proportion is decreased to a varying degree during pectin extraction. The ratio of esterified to non-esterified galacturonic acid determines the behavior of pectin in food applications. This is why pectins are classified as high- vs. low-ester pectins (short HM vs. LM-pectins), with more or less than half of all the galacturonic acid esterified.

    The non-esterified galacturonic acid units can be either free acids (carboxyl groups) or salts with sodium, potassium, or calcium. The salts of partially esterified pectins are called pectinates, if the degree of esterification is below 5 percent the salts are called pectates, the insoluble acid form, pectic acid. Some plants such as sugar beet, potatoes and pears contain pectins with acetylated galacturonic acid in addition to methyl esters. Acetylation prevents gel-formation but increases the stabilising and emulsifying effects of pectin. Amidated pectin is a modified form of pectin. Here, some of the galacturonic acid is converted with ammonia to carboxylic acid amide. These pectins are more tolerant of varying calcium concentrations that occur in use.

    To prepare a pectin-gel, the ingredients are heated, dissolving the pectin. Upon cooling below gelling temperature, a gel starts to form. If gel formation is too strong, syneresis or a granular texture are the result, whilst weak gelling leads to excessively soft gels. Pectins gel according to specific parameters, such as sugar, pH and bivalent salts (especially Ca2+).

    In high-ester pectins at soluble solids content above 60 percent and a pH-value between 2.8 and 3.6, hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic interactions bind the individual pectin chains together. These bonds form as water is bound by sugar and forces pectin strands to stick together. These form a 3-dimensional molecular net that creates the macromolecular gel. The gelling-mechanism is called a low-water-activity gel or sugar-acid-pectin gel.

    In low-ester pectins, ionic bridges are formed between calcium ions and the ionised carboxyl groups of the galacturonic acid. This is idealised in the so-called "egg box-model". Low-ester pectins need calcium to form a gel, but can do so at lower soluble solids and higher pH-values than high-ester pectins. Normally low-ester pectins form gels with a range of pH from 2.6 to 7.0 and with a soluble solids content between 10 and 70 percent.

    Amidated pectins behave like low-ester pectins but need less calcium and are more tolerant of excess calcium. Also, gels from amidated pectin are thermo-reversible; they can be heated and after cooling solidify again, whereas conventional pectin-gels will afterwards remain liquid.

    High-ester pectins set at higher temperatures than low-ester pectins. However, gelling reactions with calcium increase as the degree of esterification falls. Similarly, lower pH-values or higher soluble solids (normally sugars) increase gelling speed. Suitable pectins can therefore be selected for jams and for jellies, or for higher sugar confectionery jellies.


    Apples, guavas, quince, plums, gooseberries, oranges and other citrus fruits, contain large amounts of pectin, while soft fruits like cherries, grapes and strawberries contain small amounts of pectin. Typical levels of pectin in plants are (fresh weight):
    • Apples, 1 to 1.5 percent.
    • Apricot, 1 percent.
    • Cherries, 0.4 percent.
    • Oranges, 0.5 to 3.5 percent.
    • Carrots, approximately 1.4 percent.
    • Citrus peels, 30 percent.

    The main raw-materials for pectin production are dried citrus peel or apple pomace, both by-products of juice production. Pomace from sugar-beet is also used to a small extent. From these materials, pectin is extracted by adding hot dilute acid at pH-values from 1.5 to 3.5. During several hours of extraction, the protopectin loses some of its branching and chain-length and goes into solution. After filtering, the extract is concentrated in vacuum and the pectin then precipitated by adding ethanol or isopropanol. An old technique of precipitating pectin with aluminium salts is no longer used (apart from alcohols and polyvalent cations; pectin also precipitates with proteins and detergents).

    Alcohol-precipitated pectin is then separated, washed and dried. Treating the initial pectin with dilute acid leads to low-esterified pectins. When this process includes ammonium hydroxide, amidated pectins are obtained. After drying and milling, pectin is usually standardised with sugar and sometimes calcium-salts or organic acids to have optimum performance in a particular application. Worldwide, approximately 40,000 metric tons of pectin are produced every year.

    apple pectin powder



    The main use for pectin (vegetable agglutinate) is as a gelling agent, thickening agent and stabilizer in food. The classical application is giving the jelly-like consistency to jams or marmalades, which would otherwise be sweet juices. Pectin also reduces syneresis in jams and marmalades and increases the gel strength of low calorie jams. For household use, pectin is an ingredient in gelling sugar (also known as "jam sugar") where it is diluted to the right concentration with sugar and some citric acid to adjust pH. In some countries, pectin is also available as a solution or an extract, or as a blended powder, for home jam making. For conventional jams and marmalades that contain above 60 percent sugar and soluble fruit solids, high-ester pectins are used. With low-ester pectins and amidated pectins less sugar is needed, so that diet products can be made.

    Pectin is used in confectionery jellies to give a good gel structure, a clean bite and it confers a good flavor release. Pectin can also be used to stabilize acidic protein drinks, such as drinking yogurt, to improve the mouth-feel and the pulp stability in juice based drinks and as a fat substitute in baked goods. Typical levels of pectin used as a food additive are between 0.5 and 1.0 percent - this is about the same amount of pectin as in fresh fruit.


    Apple Pectin helps regulate intestinal function. It works well as anti-diarrhea agent, and decreases the chances of colon cancer. Apple Pectin is effective in lowering cholesterol levels. Research performed in Japan has shown that It is beneficial for those with ulcers or colitis, high blood pressure, and is effective in the regression, or prevention of, gallstones. There is also recent evidence to suggest that taking Apple Pectin everyday over time can lead to a reduction in insulin requirements which may lessen the severity of diabetes. Here is a list of medicinal uses for Apple Pectin: A soothing coating for the intestines by intestinal bacteria, which eases stomach cramps. Adds bulk, increases viscosity and volume to stools so that it is used against constipation and is useful in combating diarrhea.


    Pectin's primary use is as a treatment for digestive disorders. It is high in fiber and can be used to regulate bowel movements. People with diarrhea may take Apple Pectin to firm the stool and reduce some of the inflammation associated with loose stool and reduce some of the inflammation associated with loose stool. Conversely, Apple Pectin can also help move things along for people experiencing constipation. Consuming apples on a regular basis can help provide people with a history of digestive problems regulate their bowels and prevent flareups. In addition to regulating bowel movements, Apple Pectin can also be helpful for people with colitis, irritable bowel disease, and other digestive disorders. High fiber foods tend to increase activity in the intestines, which can provide numerous benefits. A health care provider may recommend apples or Apple Pectin as a low cost way of managing intestinal conditions. Pectin can also be taken in association with medications such as bowel protectants and in fact, some medications to treat bowel disorders already contain apple pectin. Until 2002, it was one of the main ingredients used in Kaopectate a drug to combat diarrhea, along with kaolinite. However, in April 2003, the FDA found ruled that scientific evidence does not support the use of pectin for diarrhea. Since April 2004, pectin has not been permitted as an anti-diarrhea agent in over-the-counter (OTC) products. As a result, Kaopectate no longer contains pectin and kaolin.


    Pectin is also an antioxidant. Antioxidant foods appear to confer a number of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, helping people manage diabetes, and potentially reducing the risks of certain cancers. People who consume apple pectin can also eat other antioxidant foods to keep their diets varied. Pectin is found in fresh and dried apples along with supplements, making it easy to access and integrate into the diet.


  • People use pectin for high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and to prevent colon cancer and prostate cancer. It is also used for diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In a 2008 study, researchers at the University of California-Davis concluded that Apple Pectin can lower cholesterol levels, reduce and prevent gallstones, promote a healthy digestive tract and regulate blood-sugar levels. The study showed Apple Pectin is also an antioxidant. A study that appeared in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute hints that pectin may stop cancer spreading through the body and that pectin binds certain carcinogenic compounds in the colon, speeding their elimination from the body. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that Apple Pectin helps reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. Apple Pectin reportedly helps retain cholesterol in the stomach, binding cholesterol to itself and carrying it through the digestive tract to be eliminated and is also reported to help the body rid itself of lead, mercury and other heavy metals prevalent to modern water, food and air.

  • Some people use pectin to prevent poisoning caused by lead, strontium, and other heavy metals. Yablokov et al., writing in Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, quote research conducted by the Ukrainian Center of Radiation Medicine and the Belarussian Institute of Radiation Medicine and Endocrinology with the conclusion that "adding pectin preparations to the food of inhabitants of the Chernobyl-contaminated regions promotes an effective excretion of incorporated radionuclides". The authors report on the positive results of using pectin food additive preparations in a number of clinical studies conducted on children in severely polluted areas, with up to 50 percent improvement over control groups.

  • In ruminant nutrition, depending on the extent of lignification of the cell wall, pectin is up to 90 percent digestible by bacterial enzymes. Ruminant nutritionists recommend that the digestibility and energy concentration in forages can be improved by increasing pectin concentration in the forage.

  • Pectin is also used in throat lozenges as a demulcent.

  • In cosmetic products, pectin acts as stabilizer.

  • Pectin is also used in wound healing preparations and specialty medical adhesives, such as colostomy devices.

  • In the cigar industry, pectin is considered an excellent substitute for vegetable glue and many cigar smokers and collectors will use pectin for repairing damaged tobacco wrapper leaves on their cigars.

  • Pectin is also used in jellybeans.

  • Some people apply pectin to the skin to protect raw or ulcerated mouth and throat sores.

  • apple pectin gel


    The old adage "An apple a day helps keep the doctor away" may in part be true. Pectin can be a useful dietary supplement to help people maintain general health and in some cases, health care providers and nutritionists may recommend pectin for managing an ongoing condition. A person with Celiac disease and chronic IBS can take use baked apples to help stop diarrhea. The B.R.A.T diet (Bananas, Rice, Apples, Toast). However, the apples need to be peeled, chopped and baked for about 30 minutes. Cooking apples enhances the pectin process which works wonders on the bowel, whereas raw apples contain digestive enzymes that soothe the stomach. Eat apples both ways to get the most benefit. Try drinking pure apple juice on a regular basis if you are having gallbladder or intestinal problems. People of all ages and levels of health can benefit from pectin. However, people should make sure to see a health care provider if diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, and other gastrointestinal symptoms recur or are persistent in nature, as there may be an underlying problem that needs to be identified and treated.

    Numerous nutritional studies show she was not wrong about that. Apples are rich in pectin. They are water soluble and useful as a dietary fiber. Apple Pectin acts as an antioxidant against the bad cholesterol in the blood stream. Apples also work in any form such as raw fruit, powder, or juice in helping maintain cardiovascular health. Diets low in fiber, high in fat, and animal protein appear to be one of the leading causes of death in many people. We know that apples have been consumed by man since 6,000 B.C. and were prescribed for virtually every ailment throughout the ages. Our ancestors knew the "secret" of the Apple and its life giving properties. The Apple is particularly rich in Pectin, the name applied to any one of a group of complex carbohydrates with a high molecular weight. These water-soluble fibers are found in plant tissue. Modern researchers suggest that a high fat/low fiber diets are encouraged to include Apple Pectin in any form (raw fruit or powder or juice) to help protect them form the ailments that may be caused by such a lifestyle. Rich in important vitamins, tannins, and especially high in Pectin content, the Apple is especially beneficial to maintaining good health.


    Apple Pectin is a liquid extract made by boiling fresh or frozen from fresh apple leavings (skin/peel/core/pips) or whole fresh apples in water till the apple bits turn soft and mushy and the liquid is transformed in color and infused with a delicate apple flavor and fragrance - perfect fruit stock. The primary purpose of making apple pectin is to replace the powdery store-bought stuff and to act as a setting agent for jams and jellies.

    Making your own apple pectin is a a great way to use up fall's bounty of apples and its leavings - the part of the apple which are not usually consumed, such as the skin, pips and cores of the apples. You can collect the bits, one set at a time and stash them away in the deep freezer until you need them for your pectin-making. Making your own apple pectin gives you greater control and flexibility when making jams because unlike powdered pectin, it can be cooked for much longer without affecting the taste or texture of the jam. With this pectin, you can control the amount of sugar your use and the set - soft or firm or somewhere in between. Homemade apple pectin can be preserved by canning or freezing. It is easy to make and requires no sepcial knowledge with just a little care at the end to ensure the finished product can be stored safely.


    It is best to use under-ripe apples that are still a bit green, hard, and sour. Ripe apples contain less pectin, but the level varies greatly from one tree to the next; some varieties are suitable when ripe, while some have virtually no pectin by that time. Over-ripe apples are the worst. You can use your damaged or misshapen apples for making pectin. Hard apples can be used which were just ripe but were all shades of green and red, not the pure granny smith green.

    canned homemade apple pectin


    • Whole apples or apple leavings.
    • Enough water to cause the apples to float.


    You can either peel and core the apples - saving the scrapse for pectin makin and you are using the whole fruit pulp for apple sauce, apple butter or apple pies, or you can use the whole apples for your pectin project. Either way, place all the peels and cores into a large pot and add enough water until the apples float, only just. You want to lessen needless cooking time by not over-watering so as to ensure you get pectin-rich liquid sooner rather than later. Using the whole apples (peels, cores and pulp) produces a slightly nicer tasting pectin and you can use the leftover pulp to make apple sauce or apple butter.

    Cover and bring the pot to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and allow to boil gently, ensuring the pan is covered for a couple of hours or until the solids turn soft and the apples become a rosy mushy brown.

    Once boiled, line a colander with a clean piece of cheesecloth and pour boiling water through it to sterilize the fabric. Place the colander over a large stock pot and carefully tip the apple mass and liquid through it. Do not press the pulp, or you will get cloudy pectin. Leave to drip for several hours or overnight, folding the ends of the cloth over the top of the apples, then cover gently with the stockpot lid to keep bugs and insects out.

    Once the liquid has completely drained, remove the colander and re-heat the pectin until boiling. You will need to reduce the pectin until it reaches the required strength. This may take about an hour or so.

    To test the pectin, cool a couple of tablespoons of pectin in a small bowl and place in the refrigerator. It will not work if the pectin is hot. Pore some methylated spirit / rubbing alcohol into another bowl. Tip the cold pectin into it. If you have made a decent batch of apple pectin, it will coagulate in the spirit and you should be able to lift it out as a jellied blob using a fork. This pectin-spirit combo is lethal. Do not ingest and consume this poisonous mixture. Make sure no one else accidently eats or drinks it either. Once tested, discard both jellied pectin blob and testing medium.


    1. Freezing: This is probably the quickest and easiest method. Pour your prepared pectin into plastic freezer bags or boxes. Label with ingredient and date of batch. This is great for small batches of apple pectin.

    2. Canning: With canning it is more time consuming and you may need to worry about the jars sealing properly. First sterilize the canning jars (do not reuse old food jars but kerr or ball canning jars only. Sterilizing is done cleaning the jars in hot soapy water and rinsing well and then putting them into a pan with cold water and bring them to a boil. Make sure the water covers the entire jar. After boiling for about 10 minutes, remove them and set them on a clean wooden board. Take the sealing lids and heat in hot water. Leave them in the hot water until needed. While they naturally dry out, let your pectin cook a bit and pour the hot liquid into the jars, leaving about a half inch or so of head space at the top. Make sure there is no pectin residue along the top edge of the jar opening and there are no chips or cracks on the egde (it will not seal correctly if any air can get into the jar). Place the hot sealing lid on the top of the jar and put on the ring, sealing the lid. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Make labels with ingredient and date. It can be stored in sealed jars up to 12 months.

    If you have a jar that does not seal, refrigerate and use right away within the week or freeze, as described above.

    When you go to use your homemade pectin, taste a bit of pectin of each jar as you open it. The pectin should taste like mild, unsweetened apple juice. It may have darkened slightly with storage, but if it tastes good, then it should be fine.

    frozen apple pectin


    Makes About Ten 5-ounce Packages

      12 pounds Green Apples (either unripe or granny smith)
      4 cups Water

    In a large pot (8 quart or larger) add the water and apples, each one cut into eight pieces, retaining skin, seeds, and core (as that is where the pectin resides). Bring to a boil, then cover and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, until the apples are quite soft. Line a large colander with a double layer of cheesecloth and carefully add the apple mixture. Press only slightly and not at all if you want to make clear jellies. Allow the pectin to strain overnight. The next day, bring the pectin to a boil and reduce by one third. Package your pectin in 5-ounce packages and freeze for future use. Use one package with each 4 cups of fruit used. Pectin making is not an exact science so be prepared to add more pectin to your recipe, if needed.


    Use about a cup of pectin to a cup of fruit to make your jellies and jams. If you make your jams and jellies with added apples, you may not need to add pectin since the apples already contain pectin in them. To test the jelly to make sure it will gel properly, take a large metal spoon (it must be metal) and put a little amount of cooking jelly into the ladle. Slowly turn it sideways and watch the jelly. If it gels into a sot blob, right from the pot, then it is done.

    (Using Homemade Pectin)

      2 cups strawberries, washed & hulled
      2 limes, juiced
      10 Cardamom pods of seeds, crushed
      1 cup sugar (or less to sweetness taste)
      2 cups homemade apple pectin


    1. Combine the strawberries and lime juice in a large bowl and crush with a fork or potato masher until liquid is released from the fruit.
    2. Add the cardamom seeds and leave to macerate, a few minutes to a couple of hours, refrigerated.
    3. In a blender, blend until the strawberry mixture is smooth.
    4. Put the mixture in a large pan, with the sugar and the liquid pectin and let boil until reduced and edges begin to collect thickened syrup. If you do not have an eye for telling when the jam is ready (it may appear somewhat liquid when hot), test it by putting a small saucer in the freezer to cool. When cold, put a small sample of jam on the cold saucer and let it rest for a few minutes, then touch the surface of the jam, It should wrinkle if it is ready. Do not over heat the jam.

    Put in a jar and store in the refrigerator to use as needed on toast or rolls.



    Incorporating fresh fruit, particularly apples, in your daily is a wonderful way to get the pectin that your body needs. For taking an Apple Pectin supplement, read and follow product label directions.

    For using homemade pectin in recipes, use about 1 cup of apple pectin with about 1 cup of fruit for making jams and jellies.



    If you are taking the Apple Pectin in order to lower your blood sugar, please stay in contact with your health care practitioner as there may be changes needed to your insulin. There are no safety issues or interactions associated with Apple Pectin when taken in the recommended doses.

    At the FAO/WHO joint Expert Committee on Food Additives and in the EU, no numerical acceptable daily intake (ADI) has been set, as pectin is considered safe. In the US, pectin is GRAS - generally recognized as safe. In most foods it can be used according to good manufacturing practices in the levels needed for its application ("quantum satis").

    In the International Numbering System (INS), pectin has the number 440. In Europe, pectins are differentiated into the E numbers E440(i) for non-amidated pectins and E440 (ii) for amidated pectins. There are specifications in all national and international legislation defining its quality and regulating its use.


  • Apple Pectin Fiber Products


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  • Nutrition Basics: Apple Pectin Fiber Information

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