With their fresh ingredients, a dedication to not cooking them down in high temperatures, this brand’s forming tomatillo salsa recipe made for a flavor-packed packaged food – but their recipe was hitting a snag. Their tomatillo salsa was gelling up from the natural pectin in the ingredients.
Taking on that pectin directly seems like the obvious choice – and Pectinex is a powerhouse for the task.
The enzymes in Pectinex can combat the ‘salsa jam’ when added to the existing recipe. This would break the naturally occurring pectin down – but the enzymes can go too far if the preparation doesn’t pump it’s breaks.
Pectinex deactivates at a high heat – a heat high enough to start robbing the salsa of its volatile flavor compounds. Pectinex is a fantastic ingredient, but you’ll want to ensure you control the stopping point before shipping for many uses.
Without the application of heat, the fresh packed salsa with Pectinex could be more of a sauce than the traditional chunky. With the application of enough heat, the flavor would dull.
Two smaller steps, combined, may save the recipe without much rework.
The problematic pectic is using the recipe’s natural and added sugars to bind with the plentiful acids. The sugar serves a purpose, and the low pH, but taking a small bite out of each of these can help reduce the gel without high heat or huge flavor changes.
Reducing the acidity by raising the pH to a range under 4.6 but above 3 will keep the recipe safe for typical canning, while reducing the added sugar will take away even more of the pectin’s required building blocks.
As always, some more experimentation in your kitchen is required to find the best solution for your preparation. Try starting with Sodium Citrate if you have a very low pH, or Potasium Sorbate to bump up a little while improving shelf life.
Thanks for your question!
Chef Scott Guerin
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