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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 is used in food additives as a gelling agent particularly in jams and jellies. It is also used in fillings, sweets, as a stabilizer in fruit juices and milk drinks and as a source of dietary fiber.

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.

Citrus Pectin which belongs to thickener is a plant fiber obtained from the rind and peel of citrus fruits such as lemons, grapefruits, oranges and tangerines. Structurally, pectin is classified as a water soluble, complex polysaccharide, rich in the sugar - galactose. At a molecular level, pectin is a strong binding agent, which directly relates to its tremendous detoxification and cholesterol lowering properties.

A natural gelling agent found in ripe fruit. Pectin is an important ingredient in making jams and jellies. The levels of pectin vary from fruit to fruit. Some fruits, such as citrus fruit, blackberries, apples, redcurrants, have high pectin levels. Others are low in pectin such as strawberries – so lemon juice is added to strawberry jam to help the set. It is possible to buy pectin as a liquid extract or in powdered form. On ready-made jams and jellies it’s labelled as E440.

In cooking, pectin is used as a thickening agent, and could be considered one of the most natural types around. The first pectin available for purchase was derived from apples, which have a high amount of it. There are other fruits that naturally contain this gelling agent, including many plums and pears. The properties of pectin were discovered and identified by the French chemist and pharmacist, Henri Braconnot, and his discovery soon led to pectin manufacturer making deals with makers of apple juice to obtain the remains of pressed apples (pomace) that were then produced in a liquid form.

Other thickeners: Carrageenan   CMC    Cassia Gum

 

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