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Reading through the ingredient list of every package before purchasing anything is a part of everyday life for vegans. It’s easy to identify non-vegan ingredients such as dairy or honey. But nearly everything contains some form of food additives that we’ve never heard of. And we are left wondering what exactly they are and are they suitable for vegans.
Pectin is one of those ingredients that can confuse us. And I bet you’ve seen it listed on packages of jams, jellies, and even candies. So what is pectin, and can you consume it on a vegan diet? Let’s get straight to it.
What is pectin?
Pectin is a structural acidic heteropolysaccharide. To put it more simply, it’s a type of fiber found in virtually all plants. Pectin occurs naturally in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables to provide them with structure.
I’m sure you’ve come across it when buying jams, preserves, and even Fruit Roll-ups. So why exactly is pectin such a common component in the food industry?
It’s most commonly used as a thickener and gelling agent – but pectin can also be used as a stabilizer and emulsifier. As it’s similar to gelatin, it can successfully replace the infamous non-vegan component in food products.
This fiber is usually used for gelling and preserving fruits – it is what gives jams and jellies a thick gel-like texture. But it also has its place in different sweets and desserts. So, is pectin vegan-friendly?
Is pectin vegan?
As mentioned above, pectin is a naturally occurring soluble fiber found in plants. Some fruits and vegetables contain more pectin than others – the more firm the texture of the fruit is, the richer in pectin it generally is. But the fiber is exclusively obtained from plants, and therefore, it is always safe for vegans to consume. So there is no need to stress if you see pectin listed on the label of your favorite jar of jam.
Because not every plant has an equal amount of pectin, the food industry tends to use a few specific sources to extract it from. The most popular ones are the following.
- Citrus fruits
You can find pectin in most stores – most pectin available on the market comes either in a powder or liquid form. It’s usually produced from citric fruit skins or apple pulp.
How is pectin made?
Pectin needs to be extracted from fruits and is usually done so by boiling and simmering them. When combined with acid, sugar, and water – the fiber forms a gel. It is relatively easy to make homemade pectin with a few simple ingredients. All you need is some apples, citrus fruits, or any other fruits high in pectin. Next time you’re making jams, here is a good citrus pectin recipe to try out.
Is pectin healthy?
It is no secret that many food additives found in processed foods are not exactly good for your health. Is pectin something you should make sure to consume in moderation? As it’s a natural fiber found in plants, it is not anything to worry about. In fact, it is believed that pectic has quite a few health benefits! So, how can pectin be beneficial for you?
- High cholesterol – Taking pectin by mouth could possibly be good for folks with high cholesterol as it seems to reduce it slightly.
- Cancer – Pectin is believed to potentially prevent or slow down the growth of colon and prostate cancer. One study showed that citric acid reduced the spread of prostate cancer – however, the primary tumor was unaffected.
- Weight loss – A small study showed that pectic can slow down the digestion process. That means you will feel full for longer, and that would be very beneficial if you are trying to lose weight.
- Gut health – Some believe that apple pectin can stimulate the growth of good gut bacteria and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. If true, it could promote our gut health.
Worth mentioning that before any of those possible benefits can be taken as facts, significantly more research has to be done. Pectin was used to control diarrhea in the past, but in 2003 FDA decided that there was not enough evidence to prove its effectiveness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Certo pectin vegan?
Certo pectin is made from fruit pectin and is suitable for people following a plant-based lifestyle.
Is apple pectin vegan?
Yes, apple pectin is 100% vegan! Apples are a great source of pectin.
Is Ball pectin vegan?
Yes, another pectin that is fully vegan.
Is Bernardin pectin vegan?
It is safe for vegans to consume as it only contains dextrose, citric acid, and fruit pectin.
Is Certo liquid pectin vegan?
The Certo liquid pectin is completely suitable for vegans.
Is citrus pectin vegan?
Citrus pectin is one of the most common types of pectin and is always vegan-friendly.
Is sure jell pectin vegan?
It is plant-based. Sure Jell Pectin contains the following ingredients: Dextrose, Citric Acid (Assists Gel), Fruit Pectin.