Pectin was originally discovered in 1825, by a French chemist named Henri Braconnot.
It is a natural carbohydrate extracted from the inner peel of many fruits. The amount of pectin varies in different fruits, in varieties of fruit, from season to season, and in progressive stages of ripeness. More pectin is present in fruit before it is fully ripe.
Pectin functions to thicken and gel jams, jellies, relishes, butters, conserves and marmalades. Commercial pectin is used to enhance the level of naturally occurring pectin in fruit, enabling jams and jellies to "set" after shorter cooking time; it provides higher recipe yield and more true fruit flavor than the previous, long-boiled method.