Pectin is a natural sugar gelling agent produced from the skin and cores of slightly under ripe fruit such as apples and other fruit. It is used a lot within jams and gels to aid in quick, stable thickening. When fruit is heated with pectin and sugar the mixture begins to thicken which, when cooled forms a jam. Jam can be made without the addition of pectin, however it will take double the time to cook out. This is because the small amount of natural pectin within the fruits will be released and reduced.
Pectin also can be found in soft drinks as a stabiliser for low/ sugar-free drinks to give them a better mouth-feel.
The difference of NH is that NH is thermally reversible which means that it can be set, re-melted and set again. This thickener is primarily used for preparing glazes for fruit tarts and pastries.
Pectin’s strength is determined on how ripe a fruit is when the pectin is extracted. The riper a fruit is, the less is found in the fruit. Very sour fruits such as under ripe citrus fruits have high levels of pectin. Thus creating a different pectin with enhanced properties. These properties include; constant gelling strength, heat resistance and the ability to rapidly dissolve. This kind has also been found to have anti-metastatic properties, therefore is included in a lot of health products.