Pectin vs Gelatin

Hello to gummy business owners and gummy chiefs. Are you confused about choosing the suitable gelling agents? Which one is better, pectin vs gelatin?

These two thickening agents can leave even experienced bakers scratching their heads. Both create delightful gels and set delicious desserts but they have fundamental differences. Need help determining when to use pectin or gelatin? This guide will help you pick the perfect thickener for your next culinary masterpiece! Moreover, we will explain how to use the proper silicone molds for an ideal presentation. So, ready to begin? Let's jump in:

Basics of Thickening Agents and Their Origin

Have you ever poured your heart and countless delicious ingredients into your gummy recipe only to end up with a spoiled final result? The problem isn't in your recipe or ingredients but in choosing the right gelling agent. In other words, understanding the basics is critical to making delicious and presentable gummies.

There are two main gelling agents available on the market.

  • Gelatin (Animal-Based)
  • Pectin ( Vegan)

Both have multiple differences that make them suitable for different gummy flavors and textures. Let's delve into details about their origin, functionalities, usage, and texture effects in your recipes.

What are they Made from?

Is pectin the same as gelatin? The quick answer is "NO." Both are totally different and made from different resources. 

  • Pectin: Pectin is made from plant-based resources, including berries, apples, and other citrus fruits. It creates firm gels with acid (like citrus juice) and sugar. For vegetarians, pectins vegan is bliss.
Pectin in a bowl
  • Gelatin: Produced from animal collagen (typically from cows or pigs), gelatin creates elastic and bouncy textures.  It sets when cooled, making it ideal for molded candies like marshmallows and gummy variations.Gelatin Powder

However, both sit well in silicone molds and baking trays. If you are a beginner at making gummies, it is suggested that you go with quality molds. You can count on PJ Bold's gummy molds, specifically made for easy release and perfect textures.

Fundamental Properties and Why it's Popular for Gummies

Regarding gelatin vs pectin in terms of properties, both have distinctive profiles. Talking about the gummy transparency, color, and flavor that these agents add to your gummies, here are some differences:

  • Texture: Candy made with gelatin has a chewy texture, but candy made with pectin is softer than that of gelatin. Gummies containing pectin are less chewy and have a softer bite.
  • Transparency: When it comes to transparency, gelatin always rocks. On the other hand, gellies made with pectin tend to be cloudier due to their highly reactive properties.
  • Color: Both agents don't add any hue to gummies, making them suitable for various recipes. 
  • Taste Profile: Same as color property, both agents are flavorless.

Gelatin vs Pectin in Gummy Making (The Real Showdown)

At the end of the day, we are going to use one thickening agent for the recipe. Both can't be mixed, and the end results will depend on your chosen agent. 

Let's keep it simple! If you are making something spreadable, pectin is the best option. On the other hand, if you need something firmer and chewable, go for gelatin. See how these items perform in terms of heat resistance, dietary considerations, and ease of use:

Pouring gummy mixture into mold

Heat Sensitivity:

  • Pectin: More heat resistant, making it suitable for recipes that involve some cooking, like incorporating melted chocolate or fruit purees.
  • Gelatin: Melts at high temperatures.  For gelatin recipes, ensure liquids are cooled before incorporating the bloomed gelatin to avoid compromising the setting ability.

Dietary Considerations:

  • Pectin:  Vegan and vegetarian friendly. Consumers with allergies to specific fruit fibers should avoid pectin-based products.
  • Gelatin:  Typically not vegan or vegetarian. Consumers with protein allergies, specifically from animal collagen, should exercise caution.

Ease of Use in Kitchen:

Ease matters! Especially when working on an exciting yet tiring task like gummy making. Nobody wants to wrestle with stubborn gummies! When selecting between pectin and gelatin for your silicone mold masterpieces, consider these factors, mainly how they affect the release process:

  • Desired Texture: Do you want a firm, chewy gummy or a softer, bouncy one?
  • Mold Complexity: For intricate designs, pectin's firmer set is ideal.
  • Color Vibrancy: Pectin allows for more precise, more vibrant gummies.
  • Dietary Needs: Pectin is the clear choice for vegan and vegetarian gummies.

Beyond Pectin Vs Gelatin: Exploring Other Gelling Options

Are gelatin and pectin the only gelling options available? Think again! There are other options available around the world that work fine. Let's talk about them and the features that make them worthy:

  • Agar-Agar
  • Carrageenan
  • Konjac

Agar-Agar: 

Agar-agar, a red algae extract, boasts powerful gelling strength and is perfect for firm, heat-resistant candies.  It might need extra TLC (think double boiling) to activate its setting powers. It's suitable for complex-designed silicone molds.

Carrageenan

Another algae-based gelling agent, carrageenan, offers a variety of textures depending on the type used.  

Konjac: 

Derived from the konjac root, this gelling agent is known for its high strength and ability to create a firm texture.

Recipes and Techniques to Become an Excellent Gummy Maker

It's time to put on your chef cap! We will make some sweet and sour gummies to see the actual battle, "pectin vs gelatin."

Recipe 1: Perfectly Pectinated Gummies

Imagine delightful chewing and vibrantly colored pestin gummies. Mouth-watered? Let's make it with the magic of pectin.

Bowl of pectin-based gummies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fruit juice (such as orange, grape, or a combination)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Three tablespoons liquid pectin
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid (optional, for extra tang)

Instructions:

  • Mix sugar, fruit juice, and citric acid in a saucepan. Heat it up and stir constantly.
  • Remove from heat and add liquid pectin. Continue stirring vigorously for a minute.
  • Pour the hot mixture into a greased silicone mold. For best results, let it cool completely at room temperature for several hours or overnight.
  • Once set, gently pop the gummies out of the mold and enjoy! 

Remember: Use quality molds for excellent results. Try PJ Bold's gummy mold if you are a perfectionist.

Recipe 2: Gelatin Gummies with a Bouncy Bliss

This recipe showcases the delightful bounce and slight elasticity that gelatin brings to gummies.

Transparent colored gummies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • One package (1 tablespoon) of flavored gelatin (any flavor)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid (optional)

Instructions:

  • Add cold water and gelatin to a bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes, allowing the gelatin to soften.
  • Now heat the mixture over low heat until the gelatin dissolves completely 
  • In a separate saucepan, combine sugar and citric acid. Heat over medium heat and carefully pour the hot sugar mixture into the dissolved gelatin, whisking gently
  • Pour the hot mixture into a greased silicone mold. Let it cool completely at room temperature for several hours or overnight for best results.
  • Once set, gently de-mold the gummies, and it's ready to serve.

Wrap Up:

Who won the pectin vs gelatin battle? Well, no one! It's a tie. The use of pectin or gelatin depends on recipes and is subject to personal preferences. Both have unique profiles and saying one is better than the other is not a good idea. However, high-quality molds matter whether you use gelatin, pectin, or another gelling agent. Use easy-release molds that don't break the gummy design, and that's all.

FAQs

Is gelatin different from pectin?

Gelatin is totally different from pectin. Both have differing setting properties, texture, and taste profiles.

I'm vegetarian. Can I still make gummies?

Absolutely! You can use pectin as it originates from plant-based substances.

My gummies came out cloudy. Is that a problem?

A slightly cloudy appearance is typical for pectin-based gummies. However, if you suspect it is due to poor-quality mold or expired products.

Which molds are suitable for pectin gummies?

Any heat-resistant silicon mold will work fine. However, aiming for an excellent quality mold with a high temperature-resistant feature is a good idea.

What are substitutes for pectin and gelatin?

If you are unable to find pectin or gelatin in the market. There are multiple other options available on the market. You can count on agar-agar, carrageenan, and konjac.