Q: What is Certo made of?
A: Certo is made from the residue of pressed apples and citrus fruits, which are rich sources of pectin.
Q: Is Certo a natural product?
A: The pectin used in Certo is extracted from apples or citrus fruits and is extensively filtered so that only the pectin and water used in the process remain. In this natural state Certo then requires a minor adjustment in acidity to assist setting performance and the addition of a small amount of preservative. Therefore, under UK guidelines, Certo cannot be described as completely ‘natural’.
Q: Does Certo contain any genetically modified ingredients?
How to use Certo
Q: Why do I need to add Certo when making jam?
A: There are two main reasons;
1) Fruit that is very ripe loses its natural pectin and hence the ability to set.
2) Certain varieties of fruit contain little natural pectin, e.g. strawberry.
Q: I have added Certo, but my jam has not set properly?
A: There are three main reasons:
1) Occasionally, fruit has to be boiled longer than stated in the recipe due to natural variations in water content or an excess of water left on the fruit after washing.
2) Fruit that is very ripe or of a particular variety can be lacking in pectin and natural fruit acids. A minor correction in the amount of Certo and the addition of lemon juice (see below) will ensure setting.
3) It is also important not to disturb the jam once it is put into the jars until it is quite cold and has set properly – this will take some hours, and the jars are best left overnight if possible before moving them.
Q: Does ‘fresh` lemon juice need to be used when making jam with Certo?
A: Fresh squeezed lemon juice is preferable, but bottled lemon juice works as well. If natural acid is lacking then lemon juice is needed to increase the acidity to help the set.
Q: How does Certo affect the quality of jam?
A: Certo recipes are constructed to require an absolute minimum boiling time for the fruit, which preserves both colour and flavour and hence results in a better quality jam.
Q: What are the benefits of making jam using Certo compared with using other brands of pectin pre-mixed with sugar?
A: Because the pectin is added at the end of the cook, no destruction of the pectin by heat can occur. When the pectin is combined with the sugar, it is in the pan right through the boiling process, and this can damage the pectin.
Q: Can I increase the fruit content of my jam? Do I have to adjust the amount of Certo used?
A: The main problem with increasing the fruit content in a jam is that fruit contains a great deal of water. Increasing the fruit content means that more boiling will be required, which will impair the colour of the jam, and in many cases the flavour also. For this reason, we do not recommend that you change the Certo recipe by adding more fruit.
Q: Hi. I made 10 lbs of grapefruit and lemon marmalade and put one bottle of certo – I felt this was sufficient as marmalade usually sets. I’m recooking it now. How much more Certo should I use? Will the Certo already in there work if it is boiled again?
A: Don’t add any more Certo, as this will then need more boiling as Certo is almost 90% water. The Certo already there will work well after a short re-boil. Just put the marmalade back into a really large pan without adding any water, heat to the boil stirring to prevent burning, then boil as fast as possible for a few (perhaps 3-4) minutes. Check a small sample for a set, and if OK, pot up again. If not setting, you can boil for a few more minutes.
Q: Who do I contact with a “how to use” enquiry?
A: Dr Colin May is a leading world authority on pectin and an enthusiastic home jam maker. He would be happy to help with any “how to use” enquiries. (See CONTACT US page.)
Q: Why does Certo need to be refrigerated after opening and used within 14 days?
A: Certo is a dilute solution of pectin and sugars from apples or citrus fruits. It is an ideal medium for yeasts and moulds that could destroy the pectin and turn the sugar into alcohol. There is enough preservative to stop this happening immediately, but only if the Certo is kept refrigerated, and used in a limited time.
Q: I have noticed sediment in the bottle; what is it and does it affect the quality of the Certo?
A: This may either be very fine particles of the apple pulp used to make Certo, or sometimes very small amounts of undisolved pectin powder. In either case, it is quite harmless, and has no effect on the quality or effectiveness of the Certo. In all instances you should shake the bottle well before use.
Q: My Certo has passed its “Best before date”. Is it still safe to use?
A: It will not do you any harm, but it is likely to give a poorer set to your jam. It is best to get fresh supplies of Certo.
Q: Where can I buy Certo?
A: Certo is available from all major supermarkets. (See WHERE TO BUY page.)