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MCP pectin vs Surejell pectin for jam

geoffhazel's picture

Ok, so I was making raspberry jam, and picked up a few boxes of Surejell pectin at the Safeway. No worries, except it was like $3.50 a box or something insane. Anyway, I ran out so I went to the Albertsons, and they had the Surejell right next to MCP pectin, and I got very confused.

MCP is made by Surejell. Surejell is 1.75 oz at $2.99 a box. The MCP is 2.0 oz for $2.49 a box. More for less?

I called Kraft and asked about the differences, and they said the formulas were different. Sure enough, I checked the back of the boxes, and Surejell lists Dextrose, Citric acid, Pectin. MCP lists dextrose, pectin and then citric acid.

I have my formula for jam dialled in, so I didn't want to "mess with success" and switch now, with just one batch to go, but now I'm wondering what, if any, are the differences in the products? Am I a fool for buying the Surejell if I could make more jam for less money with MCP (with a tiny change in my quantities, of course).

Gretchen's picture

(post #37687, reply #1 of 45)

The cost of Sure Jell has escalated exponentially for years. I look for it on sale


They are all the same. Follow the directions.


Gretchen
Gretchen
geoffhazel's picture

(post #37687, reply #2 of 45)

I'll keep my eyes open for sales, too. The first batch I bought had expiration dates less than 1 year away, like April 2010, but the second batch is April 2012, so it must last about 3 years, and that first batch was 2 years old (ugh!).

Glad to hear I'm not the only one shocked by how much pectin costs these days.

And don't even get me started on lids. Safeway was over $3.00 for a box of 12 small mouth lids. (Albertsons again was just 1.99).

If the home made jam wasn't so good, it would hardly be worth making, even with free fruit.

Gretchen's picture

(post #37687, reply #3 of 45)

WalMart. Big Lots.


You don't need to buy whole lids--rings and tops.  You can buy new lids, screw them down, and then remove the rings.  However, I have a jillion rings, so just reuse them.


Gretchen
Gretchen
geoffhazel's picture

(post #37687, reply #5 of 45)

Believe it or not I paid over $3.00 for a box of tops only. I have plenty of rings as I am sure anyone who cans much does. Walmart here I come.

sbsterling's picture

(post #37687, reply #4 of 45)

WalMart has the best prices I've seen and they never sell out the stock so it goes on clearance at the end of the season. That's when I stock up.

http://neurosesgalore.com
Aberwacky's picture

(post #37687, reply #6 of 45)

My local wal-mart keeps canning basics stocked all year round, so no sale. I live in a rural area, where people "put up" year round.

In "the city," though, they do clear out the canning stuff, so I stock up there. Won't be long--they usually start clearance on it before the end of summer.

Leigh

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them."
-Leo Tolstoy
"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Marcia's picture

(post #37687, reply #11 of 45)

Leigh, I seem to remember you use some special pectin. Is it for low sugar jams or something else? Not being a canner, I haven't a clue.

DeannaS's picture

(post #37687, reply #13 of 45)

Not Aberwacky, but I've been using the "no sugar needed" pectin. There's a big difference there between surejell and ball brands. I prefer ball. If I remember, the surejell packet was only supposed to gel 4 cups of strawberries, whereas the ball one would gel 4 lbs. I did a little over 4 lbs and used all of the ball packet and a bit of the surejell packet and about 1/4 cup of sugar and it turned out delicious.

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

Gretchen's picture

(post #37687, reply #14 of 45)

Aberwacky uses a low sugar pectin. I have used the "no sugar" and thought it inedible!!  I'd rather eat a TBS and have good flavor and texture personally--assuming that sugar is allowed, of course.  ;o)

Gretchen

Gretchen
DeannaS's picture

(post #37687, reply #15 of 45)

Really? Inedible? In what way? It's a soft set - not quite the same as a jam with lots of sugar. But, I don't find that the taste is altered....

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

Aberwacky's picture

(post #37687, reply #17 of 45)

I use Pomona's pectin, and it's a completely different animal from the more commercial low/no-sugar pectins out there.


You can use however much sugar you want, no sugar, honey, splenda, whatever, and get excellent gelling. 


It's VERY economical--much cheaper than Sure-jell, etc., especially if you can a lot and buy it in bulk.  One difference--if you use it as low or no sugar pectin, jams made with it won't keep as long after opening, because the sugar's not there to act as a preservative.


http://www.pomonapectin.com/


Not enough time to go into detail here, but here's some info from the site:


   "Pomona's Universal Pectin is MADE IN DENMARK. It is extracted from the peel and pulp of lemon, lime and orange after the juice and oil have been pressed out.
     The pectin is extracted using hot, acidified water and then precipitated out of solution with alcohol. Some amide groups are then introduced into the pectin molecule during the process of de-esterification (a process by which the pectin is changed from high-methoxyl to low-methoxyl). High-methoxyl pectin requires a sugar concentration above 55% to gel whereas low-methoxyl pectin gels in the presence of calcium ions.
     This calcium sensitive, amidated, low-methoxyl pectin is packaged under the name Pomona's Universal Pectin. Each l oz. box includes thorough instructions and easy to follow recipes. Although low-methoxyl (LM) pectin has been known to the food industry for some time, Pomona's Universal Brand finally put it on the retail shelves. **


 


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them."
-Leo Tolstoy
"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Marcia's picture

(post #37687, reply #20 of 45)

That's very interesting -- thank you, Leigh. I remembered it as Pamela's Pectin (hey, I got the first letter right) and you wouldn't believe the stuff I got when I googled.

Okay, I have that bookmarked, but just why I cannot say. ;-)

DeannaS's picture

(post #37687, reply #21 of 45)

I'll have to order some of that for next year. I've definitely noticed the not lasting as long after opened issue with the raspberry jam I did last summer. But, so far this year's strawberry is going so fast that it's not an issue.

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists." - Joan Dye Gussow

Gretchen's picture

(post #37687, reply #22 of 45)

I'm glad you posted again about it. I did look when you did before, but the cost really didn't "impress" me because it seemed so much MORE than SureJell. In reading I see that a package makes at least 2 batches. Is that what you find?  Do you double the amount per batch, or make regular 4-5 cup batches and just measure the powder?  I don't really have a scale that would weigh that. Do they give directions by measure?  Thanks.


 


 IT ECONOMICAL TO USE?
     Yes! Because Pomona's Pectin does not have the sugar normally added by manufacturers for the purpose of gel strength standardization (the strength is standardized by blending pectin with pectin); it is more concentrated. A 1 oz. box will make 2-4 recipes with 4-6 cups fruit per recipe. A box of ordinary pectin will gel only 3-5 cups of fruit with about an equal amount of sugar. Therefore, a box of Pomona's gels 2-4 times as much fruit and twice as much finished product.


Gretchen
Gretchen
Aberwacky's picture

(post #37687, reply #27 of 45)

It really is more economical than Sure-Gell or the other commercially available types of pectin.  Especially if you buy in bulk.  It's all I use now, even for hot pepper jelly which I always had to by the liquid (EXPENSIVE) pectin for before.


I think the instructions are by volume, not weight.  I bought a half-pound a couple of years ago (price was lower then) and it's going to last me for awhile.  I think the shelf-life on it is pretty good.


Here's a link to some of the instructions--they are by volume: http://www.pomonapectin.com/card1.pdf


There are 8-9 teaspoons of the pectin powder in each 1 oz box, and most recipes call for 2-3 teaspoons of powder, so you get 3-4 batches per box.   Even buying by the box it's cheaper than Sure-gell.


A half-pound would then have approximately 64-72 teaspoons of the pectin, or roughly 35 batches.  Makes it less than $1 a batch for the pectin.  More economical than Sure-Gell, even if you use full amounts of sugar.    And, like I said, it has a LONG shelf-life, so you can buy in bulk and not worry about it going bad. 


There are two parts: the pectin, and the calcium-water, which activates the pectin.  You make up a batch of the calcium water (1/2 teaspoon to a half cup of water) and then keep it in the fridge (I've had it last for nearly a year without any negative result).  Most batches use 2-3 teaspoons of calcium water.


When calculating cost savings, don't forget that you can use less sugar (I like the flavor better that way--more fruit comes through) so you're also saving there.


Some health-food stores carry it by the box, but I've bought mine online.


If someone wants to try it and is not in a huge hurry, email me and I'll mail you a sample.  I say not in a huge hurry because it may be a couple of weeks before I can get it mailed out.


If you look at Garden Web's harvest forum, they have a lot of recipes using Pomona's pectin.   Don't have a link, but you can google.


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them."
-Leo Tolstoy
"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Gretchen's picture

(post #37687, reply #28 of 45)

That is all really terrific. I wish I had paid more attention last
year when you talked about it. Will order some, although I found a lot of various pectin last year on sale so have been pretty well set. Again, many thanks.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Risottogirl's picture

(post #37687, reply #29 of 45)

I have never used pectin for jam. Ever. I do use some when I make fruit gelee squares (like the kind from Hediard).


I have only ever made Concord Grape (which actually did not gel well), Mont Royal plum, greengage plum, rhubarb apple, and vidalia onion.


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Gretchen's picture

(post #37687, reply #30 of 45)

You are using fruits with high pectin and I probably wouldn't either for them, or apple, I used to make wild blackberry without added pectin, and it was delicious. You get a bit better yield using pectin, because you don't have boil down the liquid to the "gel point". 


I don't really follow the directions for preparing the fruit. I puree peaches and strawberries to get the 4 or 5 cups, and simmer berries to get that juice. It is pretty concentrated stuff


Gretchen
Gretchen
Aberwacky's picture

(post #37687, reply #31 of 45)

The ones you name all have fruits with natural pectin (execpt the onion jam, which is a horse of a different color). 


I make some traditional preserves, that don't use pectin, but also make some that do require pectin, such as hot pepper jelly. 


I like using Pomona's pectin for two main reasons:


1) I can use less sugar (most jams and preserves taste too sweet to me)


2) I don't have to cook the fruit as long, so it retains a fresher taste


Here's good information about pectin and it's purpose, from Wisconsin's extension service.


http://learningstore.uwex.edu/pdf/B2909.PDF


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them."
-Leo Tolstoy
"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Risottogirl's picture

(post #37687, reply #32 of 45)

Well DH thinks he'd like jam with less sugar but he is the one with the huge sweet tooth so I think he rather likes the IDEA of less sugar. I would probably actually eat jam if it wasn't so sweet.

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Aberwacky's picture

(post #37687, reply #33 of 45)

Yep, I don't like most commercial jams because they are so sweet, which is why I make the lower-sugar versions.  You  might like working with the Pomona Pectin--you can use as much or little sugar as you like, and it doesn't affect the gelling.  I also use it for making jams for diabetic friends, since Splenda works very well with it.


 I have a miniscule sweet tooth!


I also make lower-sugar versions of bread-and-butter pickles, because while I like the combination of sweet/sour, most have way to much sweet for me.  Make a 3-bean pickled salad the same way.


Leigh


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them."
-Leo Tolstoy
"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Gretchen's picture

(post #37687, reply #25 of 45)

If you buy it at the Pomona site it is about $30 for 8 oz. and $48 for a pound--shipping included. The latter is the key, as it is in most online purchases.

Gretchen

Gretchen
mireillec's picture

(post #37687, reply #26 of 45)

You're right.
Will wait to be in our condo in Florida and order it then.
Will avoid to pay shipping for Canada.

Maedl's picture

(post #37687, reply #7 of 45)

Different fruits have different amounts of pectin--and fruit just picked has more pectin than fruit that has been sitting around for a while. I don't add any pectin if I am using a high pectin fruit (see below). The two formulas you saw in the store should be used for fruits with differing pectin contents. You could also use a high-pectin fruit in combination with a low-pectin fruit to cut down on the amount of pectin you need to add.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/get_cooking/cooks_guide/preserves.shtml

High-pectin fruits include: blackcurrants, redcurrants, cooking apples, damsons, quinces, gooseberries and some plums.

Low-pectin fruits include: blackberries, cherries, elderberries, pears, rhubarb, strawberries and medlars.

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
geoffhazel's picture

(post #37687, reply #8 of 45)

Maedl, that was a great article. They mentioned "wax discs" and I know I've seen that done in the past, and in fact I've seen paraffin in the stores, but is that an "approved" canning method for jam nowadays?

I use the "inverted jar" method and so far have had no trouble, but all the books and instructions say use hot water bath which seems like too much trouble to me, given my success rate with inversion.

Gretchen's picture

(post #37687, reply #9 of 45)

Paraffin is no longer recommended, and it is ever so much easier to just use jars. I have a lot of truly "antique" jelly jars which I have done with paraffin in years past because they are so cute, but just not worth the trouble now. I don't water process jams and jellies.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Maedl's picture

(post #37687, reply #10 of 45)

Glad to be useful!

My mother used paraffin when she made preserves and it always worked well. When I make preserves, I sterilize the jars and any utensils I'm using, fill the jars with the hot jam, put the lids on (with the help of rubber gloves) and then turn the jars on their lids. That works fine, too, and it's a bit easier than using paraffin.

For what it's worth, I live in southern Germany and every grocery store sells Gelierzucker--it's sugar with pectin already added. You can buy different strengths of this sugar, depending on what you are making.

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
mireillec's picture

(post #37687, reply #16 of 45)

The canning pressure cooker is supposed to be the safest method for canning. It's what I use:
http://www.epinions.com/review/Mirro_Pressure_Canner_22_Quart_92022/content_283098910340

Aberwacky's picture

(post #37687, reply #18 of 45)

I don't think pressure canning jams is recommended (too much for the jam, loss of flavor, etc.).  Boiling water bath is, as far as I can remember, as it is for pickles.


Pressure canning is best for vegetables, etc.


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them."
-Leo Tolstoy
"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy