I am making a vegetarian jelly using Carrageenan. I am hoping to make a batch to give out as samples to friends etc. (hoping to market it eventually). Does anyone know what concentration of citric acid to use as a preservative. Also, some commercial products include sodium citrate. Is that always needed?

  • 4
    Pectin is about as vegetarian as they come, as well as being the standard material used in jelly-making...?
    – Ecnerwal
    May 25, 2015 at 0:58
  • 2
    Sodium citrate is a emulsifier, not a preservative
    – TFD
    May 25, 2015 at 7:52

3 Answers 3


You will have to use the amount specified in the recipe you are using. It varies with each fruit or vegetable. Further, making up your own recipe is not wise because of possible bacteria that could set in. You will want to check out recipes from sites like http://www.freshpreserving.com/tools/faqs.

  • Hello ethalfrida, please note that we don't do health claims on the site. I removed them from your answer and left the part which is on topic.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 27, 2015 at 11:10

I am assuming here that you mean jelly as in the preserve. It is not preserved with citric acid, it is preserved with sugar. I've heard as a rule of thumb that 1:1 jelly is shelf stable by itself, while anything between 1:1 and 1:2 can be canned using standard procedures and will be shelf stable until opened, keeping well in the fridge after that. Anything with more fruit than that has to be made from an empirically tested recipe without deviations from recipe ratios and process, possibly needing some amounts of acid (which are not sufficient by themselves to preserve!) and/or pressure canning. So, if your recipe has at least 33% sugar, the acid doesn't matter, if it has less, you cannot make it preservable by yourself and have to treat it like standard cooked food (keep in the fridge, and not too long).

If you meant that you are turning a gelatine-jelly recipe (typically called jello in the US) into a carrageenan-jelly recipe, that's not a preservable food. Any edible amount of acid will result in a food with a fridge life of some days, not shelf stable at all. It can be made shelf stable if you make gummy bears out of it, although I'm not sure carrageenan is suitable for that.


Citric acid is a natural preservative, 1tsp er quart of liquid to preserve the final product. As to allergies listed very little http://www.ehow.com/how_6315775_use-citric-acid-preservative.html

  • 1
    A teaspoon of citric acid per quart of liquid is not enough to make a difference as a preservative. If you try to preserve with citric acid, you need to take the pH to 2 or lower.
    – rumtscho
    Jan 13, 2016 at 15:09
  • @rumtscho Why do the preserves with citric acid need to be more acidic than pure 5% vinegar (which has a pH of 2.4)? Why would it need to be more acidic than water-bath canned tomatoes (4.6 or less), for that matter? What are the spoilage organisms we're considering here? Does carrageenan carry those that require a super acidic environment to inhibit? Oct 4, 2019 at 2:44
  • 1
    @Shule good point, I am now no longer sure where I got the number from. It may be that I have been thinking of foods which are shelf stable on their own (without canning), but can't find a limit for that right now, because for the keywords I'm trying, all sources point to canning.
    – rumtscho
    Oct 8, 2019 at 14:53

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