Pectin shows gel forming, thickening and stabilising properties if it is properly dissolved in water and if it is stored in a cool and dry place. The general characteristics of pectin are shown below:
Pectin must be completely dissolved to ensure full utilisation and to avoid heterogeneous gel formation. Any lumps formed during the preparation of the solution leads to loss of gel strength because the pectin lumps are not active. To produce a good pectin solution it is recommended that the pectin is pre-blended with sugar in the minimum ratio of 1:3 and dissolved preferably in hot water (85 - 90°C), at a soluble solids content below 20% using a suitable high speed stirrer. Pectin will not dissolve in media where gelling conditions exist.
Pectin should be stored in a cool dry environment. At increased temperatures, above ambient, the degradation of pectin will occur due to the reduction of molecular weight. The optimal pH for pectin is between 2.8 and 4.7.
Pectin solutions show lower viscosity compared to other thickening agents. Polyvalent salts (such as Ca++ and Mg++) increase the viscosity of LM pectin solutions. In calcium free solutions the viscosity drops when the acidity is increased.