Jam making at home is the perfect way to preserve fruit. Read our advice on how best to judge pectin levels in your fruit and prepare for the fall of apples and plums.


Knowing how to judge pectin levels in fruit is crucial when it comes to perfecting your jam. Not only do different fruits have different amounts of pectin, these levels can vary according to the season or ripeness of the fruit.

There are two sides to jam making. One side is rather jolly and quaint and involves collecting old glass jars, string and fabric; you can begin capturing the essence of flavours and balancing the sweetness of the fruit. However, there is the maddedning technical side too which involves knowing how best to judge pectin levels.

If you want more ideas on how to make the most of your orchard, read our receipe on how to poach strawberries in Napoleon brandy. And if squeezing apples rather than grappling with them in a maslin pan is more to your liking read the below on how to make cider and juices at home.


QUERY: My jam has provided much amusement over the past year. It has tasted wonderful but has the appearance of coulis. Is there a way of telling whether your mix of fruit has enough pectin in it? JH, Wiltshire


Field readers recommend how best to judge the pectin levels when making your own jam at home.

“Different fruits contain different amounts of pectin. This amount can vary depending on the season and the ripeness of the fruit. To test whether your mix of fruit has enough pectin, take a teaspoon of the boiling fruit juice and place it in a cold glass, leave it to cool for a minute then add three teaspoons of methylated spirit and swirl it around gently. If a large clot forms your fruit mix has enough pectin in it; if several small clots form it might be worth adding a small amount of pectin; if there are lots of small pieces, then there is insufficient pectin. Sometimes it’s worth simmering the fruit for longer and retesting to check the pectin levels”.