Rather than using natural pectin from the fruit being used or added pectin I am looking for an alternative setting/gelling agent that will enable me to get more jam from my two principle ingredients (fruit and sugar). In other words, if I want to stretch my ingredients to create more volume, what else could I use to ensure it gels to the correct consistency while at the same time not losing its flavour?

  • 1. Sure you can stretch jam - but why with the gelling agent? All gelling agents are used in a very small amount, typically under 1% of the food. 2. There is no way to stretch the jam without losing flavor - stretching means less fruit per portion of jam, and the only thing which creates flavor in the jam is the fruit.
    – rumtscho
    May 28, 2013 at 15:05
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    Anything other than pectin will have a slightly different texture and increasing the volume will dilute the flavor. Perhaps you are asking what could get you close? What are the characteristics of pectin that you are trying to avoid? May 28, 2013 at 15:05
  • I agree... sugar already stretches the fruit--and that is what jam is. Fruit, sugar, and enough pectin to thicken (plus maybe some trace flavorings or spices). I don't think you want to go down this path. Anythign you do will lessen the flavor intensity.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    May 28, 2013 at 15:11
  • A agree with all of you,I have been asked to make in large volumes two types of Jam, Strawberry and Raspberry for a retailer . In the past I have made these two jams using their natural pectin (very low) and the reduction method ;ie nothing else except the fruit, sugar and a little lemon juice. The jam turned out perfect and very flavoursome each time albiet with a lot of attention. However I have room now to dilute the flavour a little because of the flavour intensity of the inicial jams and becuase of the request from the retailer to tone down the flavour a little !!
    – chefsambob
    May 28, 2013 at 15:26
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    I'd strongly suggest clarifying your question. You've said a lot of things about what you're trying to do in comments (and not all of it is even consistent - you've said you both are and aren't trying to dilute the flavor), so it's really hard for people to provide good answers for you.
    – Cascabel
    Jun 3, 2013 at 21:32

4 Answers 4


Tapioca Jelly is interesting stuff:

A typical recipe for tapioca jelly can be made by washing 2 tablespoonfuls of tapioca, pouring a pint of water over it, and soaking for three hours. It is then placed over low heat and simmered until quite clear. If too thick, a little boiling water can be added. It can be sweetened with white sugar, flavored with coconut milk or a little wine, and eaten alone or with cream.

Of course, not all tapioca jelly recipes are yummy at first go, so you'll have to experiment.

Powdered tapioca starch is the starting material of choice, not the pearls or cubes etc.

  • Presumably you wouldn't "wash" powdered tapioca as the quoted text suggests? May 30, 2013 at 3:26
  • @ChrisSteinbach You're right, they must be using the small pearls. Those'll turn to goo with a long soak. The powdered form is much quicker at that. May 30, 2013 at 4:20

If, as the comments to the question specify, you want to tone down the flavor of the jam, I would not look to the pectin as the way to do it. Its not really a filler, its a thickener.

Instead, I would suggest adding fruit that is much more neutral in flavor and that will not compete with the strong berry flavors. Obviously, this will change the ingredient label and flavor profile. Some candidates include white grapes, apple juice, or pear juice.

Obviously, at this point, you are into recipe development, so you will have to:

  • Test for balance of flavors
  • Ensure you have sufficient acid for your canning method (for safety)
  • Ensure the final ratios of pectin, sugar, and acid are in line for proper gelling
  • Thanks for that,I am not really looking to tone down the flavour as much as I am tring to get more yield.The original jams I prepared alow me probably get up to 25% more yield without compromising the flavour too much if I can can think of a way to thicken the amount without incurring too much cost,this is more for commercal use than for the home.I have thought about making my own apple pectin and adding more lemon juice but do you think the use of a geletine or starch product would afect the jams flavour and texture too much
    – chefsambob
    May 28, 2013 at 19:48
  • The approach I have proposed is about using cheaper filler fruits. Even cheaper would be plain water. What you don't want to do is fundamentally change the sugar : pectin : acid ratio overall, which is what creates the texture of jam.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    May 28, 2013 at 20:12
  • You mention acid and its importance in the process of the jam making, its a component I use most of time when making jams but not always.In the case of blackberry and apple for example I use only blackberry, apple and sugar and it work very well, obviously there is a large amount of pectin in apples, usually when I use apples in any of my jam making (rhubarb and ginger) I would use lemon juice, but just as much for flavouring as for anything else, is this because Apple has also a certain amount of acid also ? But I agree about using fruit juices instead of water, the cost is of these is small
    – chefsambob
    May 28, 2013 at 21:38
  • You will note I said overall ratio--the acid can be inherent in the fruits themselves, or added as a separate ingredient, such as lemon juice. Most fruits are at least somewhat acidic, some much more so. Apples will usually have enough acid for their own pectin, although it might vary by variety.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    May 28, 2013 at 21:39
  • @chefsambob You mention adding gelatin or starch, but I'm not sure why you'd be willing to add gelatin or starch to jam but not just add pectin?
    – SourDoh
    Jun 30, 2014 at 11:39

I would suggest agar agar that stuff is really nice to work with. I use it for jellies but I guess in a lower amount it can be used for jam or marmalade. It's an organic ingredient made from seaweed.

  • does it not react badly with ingredients that are high in citrus, I dont want the jam or marmelade to break down after a short while
    – chefsambob
    Jun 3, 2013 at 22:51
  • Nope, I've used it mainly with lemon and lime. I've stored it open in the fridge and after a week it didn't decay at all. Have a look at youtube.com/… It's where I got my knowledge. Jun 5, 2013 at 18:39

I've used chia seeds - you won't get QUITE the thickness of pectin but it does get that goopy texture! see recipe here: http://happystronghome.com/raw-strawberry-jam-gelatin-free-no-cook/

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