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Okay, so I'm pretty new to making gummies and my goal is to make vegan ones with pectin. BUT I haven't been able to get anything remotely resembling gummy bears... they usually don't set, and if they do set -- then they end up too soft or too sticky. A far cry from commercial gummy bears. That being said, I'm aware that you can't get the same texture as store-bought gummies when you're using pectin, which I understand -- but what I'm ending up with is VERY different on all fronts.

I've started with SOSA's Jaune Pectin -- they set okayish, texture wasn't brilliant, but this type of pectin isn't good as the mixture sets too quickly and there's no time to pour these into moulds. So I've moved on to pectin NH, also from SOSA, which required 40% sugar. Here's a link to their specs (scroll down to pages 15-16).

This pectin is supposed to take 24 hours to set fully. And as far as I understand, it needs 40% min sugar to set, but the guy from Modernist Pantry (link here) says it's best to use less sugar to get a firmer gel. So far I haven't been able to get any kind of results with pectin NH. Needless to say, I'm gutted. I've done a bunch of research and the information seems to be conflicting (e.g. SOSA claims you need acid with pectin NH, but some recipes don't use any yet the results seem amazing).

My initial recipe looked like this:

  • 165g glucose syrup

  • 9g pectin NH (2% or thereabouts)

  • 20g sugar (first measurement - to disperse the pectin)

  • 85g water

  • 117g sugar (second measurement)

  • 1.85g citric acid + 1.5g water

  • flavouring + colouring

Steps: Heat water to 60C, add pectin mixture (20g sugar + 9g pectin NH), bring to 85C. Take off the heat, then in a separate pan mix glucose syrup + second measurement of sugar and bring to boil. Add the pectin mixture previously done, bring to boil then allow to boil for 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat, allow it to cool slightly until about 100C, add citric acid + flavouring + colouring, mix well and pour into moulds.

THESE DID NOT SET PROPERLY. The mixture would stick to your fingers if you pressed it.

I've realised I was using too much sugar (lots of glucose syrup there), so I ended up increasing the sugar content to about 36% and swapped the glucose syrup for agave syrup (1:1). I know agave supposedly has some glucose in it, so I thought it would make up for the missing 4% necessary for the pectin to activate. I have also lowered the citric acid % to about 0.25%. Same thing as above, they did not set. I've also tried doing the steps differently, like so:

Steps: Heat water to 40C, add pectin mixture (20g sugar + 9g pectin NH), bring to boil. Add glucose syrup + second measurement of sugar and bring to boil. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat, add citric acid + flavouring + colouring, mix well and pour into moulds.

I suspect I should have added the minimum 40% of sugar rather than 36% and use less agave instead, but I don't think that's the problem... in the previous recipe, there was plenty of sugar but the result as THE SAME.

What am I doing wrong? I'm happy with just making gum drops instead of gummy bears, but I don't know what to do or who to ask. :|

Any advice please?

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    I don't know enough to answer, but I have noticed my pectin-based gummy vitamins all include tapioca starch or xanthan gum as further stabilizers. I tried leaving one in water, and it looks like the starch matrix is providing most of the structure, while the pectin gives it a more gooey texture.
    – kitukwfyer
    Oct 17, 2021 at 14:49
  • @kitukwfyer I was actually browsing Amazon and looking at ingredients, but so far I haven't seen any formula with starch. Mostly a combo of glucose syrup, sugar, glucose, citric acid and pectin. I wonder what type of pectin they use and also why they use glucose syrup, glucose and sugar all in the same recipe? Oct 17, 2021 at 16:54
  • My bad. I was thinking of some spring valley b12 gummies, but it lists tapioca syrup. Glucose syrup is usually just corn syrup. Glucose will interfere with sucrose recrystallizing. Other than that, I'm not sure..... Only thing I can recommend is to use less water in case you have more water in your glucose syrup compared to the commercial stuff. But I'm just guessing. Good luck!
    – kitukwfyer
    Oct 18, 2021 at 0:26

1 Answer 1

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Try Agar Agar. You can use it with or replace pectin. It’s made from red algae and is commonly used to replace gelatin in vegetarian and vegan diets. You can buy it in powdered form from Walmart even. Gummies are tricky I’ve heard. People use it to make cannabis infused gummies for patients who don’t smoke. Have fun.

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    -1, the texture of agar agar thickened substances is not at all like gummies.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 8, 2021 at 9:32
  • Can you add details, please? E.g. is the asker supposed to substitute with a equal amount? Any difference in preparation? Do you have any experience with this kind of process? The “I’ve heard” has readers wondering whether you are just guessing based on the fact that in some recipes agar agar can be used in place of gelatin or whether you can give an authoritative answer based on experience or good references. Especially as one high-rep user disagrees with this suggestion.
    – Stephie
    Dec 8, 2021 at 13:06

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