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Confectionery and chocolate engineering

11.10.6 Technology of manufacturing pectin jellies Preparation of high-ester pectin gels The conditions necessary for gelation are fairly low pH and high soluble-solids concentration. A critical temperature exists above which gelation will not take place, even though all other conditions for gelation are fulfilled. If the temperature is reduced below this limit, gelation commences after some time. The gelation temperature depends on the combination of pectin type and the composition of the batch; it can, to a great extent, be varied t will by selecting an appropriate type. It is not usually possible to melt a high-ester gel once it has solidified. If a gel batch is stirred or poured while gelation is in progress (it may still look liquid!), structures that have already formed may be broken. They will not reform, and the corresponding part of the pectin will not be utilized in the final gel structure. This phenomenon is known as per-gelation. Pre-gelation is very similar to the situation of poor dissolution or distribution of the pectin. The results are similar: the gel is weaker than expected, and gelation may, in severe cases, appear to be absent. The cause of failure is also basically the same in the two cases: only part of pectin is utilized. Two important differences between the gelation of low-ester pectin and high-ester pectin must be mentionated. The difference between the setting and melting temperatures of low-ester pectin gels is modest, and it is possible in many cases to remelt a low-ester gel pectin gel. This is in contrast to the situation for the high-ester pectin gels. A low-ester pectin gel solidifies almost immediately when the gelling conditions are reached; a high-ester pectin gel system shows a time lag.

The pectin jellies used in confectionery are produced from high-methoxy, slow-set pectins with a typical degree of esterification of 60-64%. Since pectin gels are so-called chemo-gels, i.e. gelation is induced by a decrease in pH, an aqueous sugar solution containing pectin is boiled to about 106C in slightly alkaline medium (pH= 7.5-8) containing the sequestrant (buffer) di/trisodium citrate

Figure 11.2 shows a schematics layout for pectin jelly technology. The technology is sensitive to the hardness of the water used; therefore, the amount and pH of the buffer are fitted to the circumstances of manufacture. The duration of gelation is relatively short, 2-3h, with makes the technology very productive. The water content of the end product is about 21-23%, which, depending on the condition of storage, may decrease slowly to about 15% because of the effect of synerisis in about months. Pectin jellies are favoured because, perhaps, they are mostly similar to the natural fruits, wich also contain pectin; moreover, their texture is such that they are easily split, and the split jelly are translucent and glassy. These proprieties of the splitting texture and translucency are the very quality requirements of confectionery jellies.