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Nov 8, 2007 11:37 AM

no gelatin jellies: possible?

Hi all --

I've been making quince jellies and I'm trying to make them without gelatin (vegetarian husband). Naturally, they are coming out too soft. Here' s my question: am I embarking on something impossible? Can I do them without gelatin and have them hold?

I've used pectin and that doesn't work too well but it's not like I've cooked the pectin down for ages. Would that make a difference? Could I do it with sugar only?

Or am I doomed to use gelatin and not tell my husband? (Kidding.)



Here's the blog post about the jellies:


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  1. I am surprised that pectin doesn't work for jelly. You could try agar but that texture is more like jello ( not spreadable or soft like quince jelly usually is). Perhaps irish moss (carageen). Or the ever popular reference source Harold Magee.....

    1. Thomas Keller uses apple pectin in TFL cookbook.

      1. I guess, since i generally make jam instead of jelly, i dont use pectin or gelatin at all...

        often with enough sugar, cooking sdown, and then letting it set up over some time in the jar, will see a significant thickening.

        1. First of all, I have to tell you that yours look *gorgeous*. Your blog link didn't work, so I'll put it here for others: http://omnivoreherbivorecarnivore.blo...
          I could read your blog for hours; I am madly in love with the HomeBaking book and was delighted to see it mentioned. I adore pouring over it and looking at all the photos. Your blog seems in the same vein. Sigh.

          ANYWAY, have you sought inspiration from Turkish delight recipes? They don't use gelatin (usually cornstarch, I think) -- they're quite stiff. Such as

          There is a kosher "gelatin" that is non-meat in origin. I bought a pack but never used it so I don't know how it works. Also, Mary Jane's Farm in Idaho sells a gelatin-substitute for jello salad type things; haven't used it either.

          No matter what you do, remember this: I am willing to be a taste-tester of your quince jellies!

          5 Replies
          1. re: willownt

            ah geez, i thought she meant jelly in a jar! *headdesk* lol

            1. re: TSQ75

              OMG, thanks for the responses everyone. I really really appreciate it. And willownt, thanks for the compliment on my blog, that is so nice.

              Yeah I think that I generally didn't cook everything down enough. I might try that cornstarch recipe - it looks so easy. The only problem is I was really trying to use this enormous bushel of quince up so that would be a different recipe. But worth trying. Hmmm.... That is a great idea.

              Kosher gelatin is made from fish so my husband won't eat it. Sigh.

              jsaimd, I'll have to check out the TFL cookbook. must buy that and the Bouchon set soon!

              1. re: piedsdesanges

                I'm also a vegetarian who is always on the lookout for gelatin substitutes. A while back, in the Kosher foods aisle of my grocery store, I found a product called "Sweetened Unflavored Jel - A Haddar Product". It's distributed by Erba Food Products in Brooklyn, NY and is made with pure vegetable gums and "other fine ingredients". Here's the full ingredient list:

                Sugar, Calcium Carrageenan, Adipic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Locust Bean Gum

                I haven't tried it yet, but the directions look the same as for regular animal-based gelatin. I also recall that it came in a few flavors too. Might be worth a shot.

                1. re: piedsdesanges

                  The kosher "gelatin" I have is called Kojel and it's vegetarian, made from carageenan. I got it at a semi-high end grocery store with a large Jewish food department but actually I had to request they stock it. It cost about $1. It seems also to be for sale on some online vegan stores and a pack of 24 is for sale on amazon. Who knew.

                  I have seen other varieties (in Indian (vegetarian), Middle Eastern [some of which are vegetarian (same brand as the Indian stores) and some beef, but it's clearly stated], both varieties run about $1, and, most recently, in natural food stores where it was nearly $3) but it is much easier to find fruit flavored than plain.

                  I would have thought quinces had a lot of pectin. There is a gorgeous book "Mes Confitures" by Christine Ferber -- have you seen it? I know this is a distraction from your mission of jellies but I think she makes her own apple jelly that is a key ingredient in all her jams. If you need an excuse to check this book out, that's my suggestion.

                  1. re: piedsdesanges

                    Here is the recipe paraphrased:

                    2 cups juice (grape)
                    2 .5 cups plus 3 1/2 T sugar
                    1/2 cup light corn syrup
                    2 T APPLE pectin powder (he insists on apple)
                    sugar for dusting.

                    Basically you combine the juice and sugar and corn syrup and bring to a simmer, skimming foam and sediment if any until liquid is clear, ~ 10 min. combine apple pectin with the 3 1/2 T sugar, add half the hot liquid whisking and then return this to the saucepan. Cook until temp is 219 degrees. Spoon into pan and let cool

              2. I'm surprised that the quince does not have enough natural pectin in it already. Normally, when I make a preserve with apples or quince, I don't need to worry at all about jelling -- it takes care of itself.