I've seen recipes calling for pectin, others call for pectin NH, so there is a difference.

Could anyone please explain to me what is the difference between them and how to they behave different? Also is there any rule of the thumb when to use what?


Pectin is a polysacharide found in the cell walls of plants. There are two main divisions of pectin used in cooking: high methoxyl (HM) and low methoxyl (LM).

The high methoxyl is used in most jam and jelly recipes. It requires sugar and acid to gel. When the pectin is dissolved out of the cell walls it is very dilute and picks up a negative charge that prevents the molecules from binding to each other and gelling. Adding sugar isolates the pectin molecules from some of the water while dding the acid removes their charge.

Pectin HM is thermally reversible which means it can be set, melted, and set again.

Instead of using sugar and acid to encourage gelling, low methoxyl pectin gels in the presence of calcium. It is used in glazes and reduced sugar jams. It is not thermally reversible.

Pectin NH is a type of LM pectin that has been modified to be thermally reversible. The more calcium in a gel the less able that gel will be to melt. Pectin NH gels with calcium but unlike other LM pectins it requires less calcium. This would mean that it could still be melted and reshaped. The recipes that I have seen that use pectin NH both have less sugar and require remolding.

From what I have seen pectin NH tends to be more expensive. It is typically used in low-sugar pastry fillings and glazes.


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