Clear Gel For Pie Filling

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Making and Canning Cherry Pie Filling with Clear Jel
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Ball / Bernardin Complete Book

Clearjel in canning meat

The Ball / Bernardin Complete Book has a Homestyle Corn Relish recipe calling for 2 tablespoons of Clearjel as a thickener. Other recipes calling for Clearjel include Golden Relish, Fennel Relish, Mustard Pickles, Marrow and Onion Mustard Pickles, Mustard Beans, and a small handful of pie fillings.

The Ball / Bernardin Complete Book allows the canning broth for cubes or strips of meat to be slightly thickened with Clearjel. If desired, ClearJel can be used to lightly thicken the broth in this recipe. Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Ball / Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto: Robert Rose. 2015. Page 397. They do not state what lightly means.

Notes About Clear Jel Or Ordinary Corn Starch In Makinghomemade Canned Pie Fillings

ClearJel is a corn starch that has been modified to give itspecial and unique characteristics when used in food products. Here is what theUSDA says about ClearJell compared with cornstarch, tapioca and other thickenersfor use in home canning, particularly homemade, home-canned pie fillings:

“It can be used for canned fruit pie fillings because itdoes not break down in the acid food mixtures and does not thicken enoughduring heat processing to interfere with the intended effect of the heat onkilling bacteria during canning. It is preferred for thickening canned piefillings as well as other foods over other corn starches because it has lessor no aftertaste, the thickened juices are smooth and clear, and foodsthickened with ClearJel may be frozen.”

Before assembling the other ingredients, including fresh fruits,to make the pie fillings canning recommendations, check to see if you willbe able to get ClearJel.

The USDA goes on to say:

“There is no substitution for ClearJel that can be madein these recipes.This means do not use other corn starch, flour, tapioca, or otherthickener in our recipes. You also must use ClearJel and not InstantClearJel, ClearJel A, any other form of ClearJel, or any other modifiedcorn starch.”

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A Juicy Fruit Pie Is The Perfect Way To End Any Meal Wondering Which Thickener To Use We’ll Help You Make Your Favorite Recipe Gluten

There are two steps to creating an heirloom-quality fruit pie recipe. First, youll need to learn to create the perfect flaky pie crust. Once youve mastered the dough , the next step is creating a filling thats firm enough to hold up on the end of your fork but not so thick that it turns into a pile of glue. The secret to the perfect pie filling is in the starch you choose, but how do you know which pie thickeners works best?

Starches have a beautiful ability to thicken sauces and give body your pie filling. While each thickener works in the same wayby bonding with water molecules and expandingthey all have unique characteristics. You can likely substitute one for another, but it all starts with understanding how each works and which will work best for your fruit pie.

Runny Pie Filling With Clear Jel

Canning Pie Filling

Question: I am having problems with my pie filling holding its jell after I have canned. I canned some blueberry pie filling last year, and it was great when I put it in the jars. But when I used it nine months later, it was runny when I opened it.

When I make a pie I use a gram cracker crust and heat it up at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. It stays runny. I have added Clear Jel to thicken it up when it comes out of the jar and it has helped. But I give away the pie filling to my kids and they dont use it because it is so runny. HELP!


Answer: Duane, the only thing I can think of is maybe you need to use a bit more. Ive not had any issues like this so possibly your personal taste is that you like it thicker. Be sure and measure carefully when you make your filling.

I have read reports of setting up issues if it is too old. Is yours out of date?

One last possibilitydid you use an instant? Or the regular? Remember, instant wont hold up as well. That may be the issue.

Only other thing I can suggest is change the label on the jar toblueberry syrup. Great over ice cream or pancakes.


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About The Clearjel Pie Fillings

Clearjel is a white, powdered, modified corn starch thickener that was approved for some applications in tested home canning recipes. For the most part, various home canning professionals have so far used it in pie fillings.

The research work on using Clearjel was done in the first half of the 1980s by Kuhn et al. at the Pennsylvania State Center of Excellence.

1985 news story about the Clearjel pie fillings. Garris, Eleanor L. Home-canned pie filling will carry summer to winter. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Gettysburg Times. 4 September 1985. Page 6. Click to enlarge.

At the time, there was apparently some anticipation by the researchers that the manufacturers of Clearjel would be making it broadly available commercially, so that it would be easy for consumers to get hold of. That hasnt happened. Thankfully, though, thanks to the Internet coming along, its now easily procured in bulk at relatively low cost from Amazon, etc. Many local bulk stores also carry it. You just need to plan ahead to have it on hand, if you have a recipe you plan to use it for.

Price Disclaimer

Heres what Washington State University Extension says about Clearjel,

Note: the Apple, Blueberry and Peach Clearjel Pie Fillings all call for 3 ½ cups of fruit per litre / quart jar. The Cherry Pie Clearjel Filling is the odd man out, calling for 3 cups of fruit, for some reason.

For more information on Clearjel® in general, see our page dedicated to Clearjel.

Fruit Pie Filling: Thickeners

What is ClearJel and Thermflo?Instant ClearJel is suitable for puddings, cream fillings and custard. Do not use any thickeners in your preserves EXCEPT FOR cook-type ClearJel or ThermfloIngredion.What do you use canned fruit pie filling for?How do ClearJel and Thermflo work?Where can I buy ClearJel and Thermflo?Ingredion AustraliaIngredion

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Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving

Canning strawberry pie filling without clearjel

This book from Ball brings us seven pie fillings.

These pie fillings are essentially jars of sweetened, spiced preserved fruit which you turn into a pie filling after opening by adding cornstarch to thicken: typically 3 tablespoons of cornstarch per litre jar.

  • Apple, Blueberries, Cherries, Peaches or Nectarines
  • Pear-and-Sour Cherry Pie Filling
  • Apple-Pear-Cranberry Pie Filling

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Say Goodbye To Runny Pies

Instantly thicken juicy pie fillings and add texture with this secret ingredient expert pie bakers always keep on hand. Simply combine with sugar before using. You can even use it in an unbaked pie and freeze, then bake it later without the possibility of the filling becoming runny.

  • 8 oz.
  • Enough for about 6 pies.
  • Store cool and dry

Clear Jel Vs Sure Jell In Canning

Clear Jel® and Sure Jell® are trade names of two products used in canning in two VERY different ways. But because their names are so similar, there is often some confusion between them.

Additionally, Clear Jel is not very easy to find and is unknown to many newbie and even intermediate canners.

So in post I cover

  • What these two products are
  • How they are used
  • Where the heck you can get this elusive Clear Jel that advanced canners talk about.

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Clearjel Really Only Thickens Upon Cooling

One of the concerns in home canning about most thickeners is that because the thickener thickens as soon as heat starts to hit the food product being canned, density issues may be encountered causing insufficient heat penetration for complete processing of the jar and therefore an unsafe product.

Clearjel differ from other thickeners in that they only thicken a small amount when heat first hits them the real thickening starts only as the food item starts to cool.

works well in preparing canned pie filling because the sauce remains thin during processing to allow heat to penetrate the jar completely and safely. The filling thickens in the jar after jars are removed from the canner. It is the only thickener recommended by the USDA for use in home canning Penn State Extension. Modified Food Starches. October 2012. Accessed January 2015 at

All these products show their maximum thickness upon cooling. Penn State Extension. Modified Food Starches. October 2012. Accessed January 2015 at

In home canning terms, this means possibly in theory that because Clearjel might hold the promise of not interfering with heat penetration during the heating phase, it may eventually find application in other home canned products such as syrups or soups. But there are no lab-tested, certified-safe recipes for such applications as of 2015.

Type Of Apples To Use

Clear Lemon Meringue Pie

Almost any type of firm apple will work fine for this canned apple pie filling. You do want an apple that is going to hold its shape when cooked. Some good options are Granny Smith, Braeburn, Honey Crisp, Macintosh and Gravenstein.

Many of our apples are old trees that were planted several decades ago. We don’t know the true variety, but when you bite into them, they have a great crispness to them.

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Freezing The Clearjel Pie Fillings

Oregon State University says that you can make the Clearjel pie filllings, and freeze them instead of canning if you wish. They give these guidelines:

Pie fillings made with Clear-Jel can be frozen. It is important to leave adequate head space because the thickened filling will expand when frozen.

To prevent runniness when thawed, cook filling for 2-3 minutes after the fruit is added to the thickened sauce. It is very important that the fillings be thoroughly cooled before freezing. There are two methods that can be used to freeze pie fillings:

Method I Freeze in jars or freezer cartons, leaving adequate head space. To use the frozen filling, thaw before putting into the unbaked pie shell.

Method II Put the cooled filling into an unbaked pie shell and freeze. This will give a product similar to the commercially frozen pies. To bake, place frozen pie in oven and bake at 425 F. for about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 F. and bake until filling is hot and bubbly and crust browned, about 30-40 minutes OR thaw pie and filling and bake at 425 F. for 20-25 minutes or until crust is brown and filling hot.

Remember that the lemon juice is necessary for both frozen and canned fillings. It helps to stabilize the starch. Food Safety & Preservation: Fruit Pie Fillings. OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY Extension Service. SP 50-616, Revised February 2013. Accessed March 2015.

Note as well that if you freeze in jars, it must be straight-sided jars: jars with shoulders may shatter.

Where To Buy Instant Clearjel

There seems to be an Instant Clearjel shortage lateley, but you can still find it at a few online stores, like those linked below. Just make sure you purchase the Instant variety, as the “original” and “cooktype” clearjel look very similar but work differently in baking.

Since it is typically a commercial ingredient, I have yet to find it locally in my hometown of Springfield, MO, but you might have better luck at a specialty food store. I did hear from a local reader that most Amish markets sell Instant Clearjel!

When choosing an Instant Clearjel, just make sure it is labeled as instant and that the only ingredient listed is modified cornstarch” or “food starch-modified. I also recommend purchasing one that comes in a resealable bag or container –this will ensure it stays fresh for a very long time.

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Where To Get Clearjel

ClearJel is not commonly available in local stores, but it is availableonline and it is inexpensive and lasts a long time. 1 pound of it will last mostpeople a long, long time. Here’s where to get it! Just click on the photosbelow for more information. You have a choice of two distributors, both areavailable online, which offer’s their speed and protection.:

Washington State Extension Service

Canning Peach Pie Filling

Washington State Extension Service suggests that the USDA recipes for Peach Pie Filling and Blueberry Pie Filling can be used as the basis for other fruit pie fillings Washington State University Chelan / Douglas / Okanogan County Extension. Lets Preserve Fruit Pie Fillings. September 2010. Page 5. :

Peach Pie Filling: instead of sliced, peeled peaches use the same volume quantity of Apricots, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, or Rhubarb

Blueberry Pie Filling: instead of washed, stemmed blueberries use the same volume quantity of Blackberry, Currant, Gooseberry, Huckleberry, Loganberry, Raspberry or Strawberry.

They write,

You can prepare and can other fruit pie fillings besides the four listed in the handout . Those fruits that you can also prepare into fillings include:

Apricots, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Rhubarb use directions for Peach Pie Filling.

Blackberry, Currant, Gooseberry, Huckleberry, Loganberry, Raspberry, Strawberry use directions for Blueberry Pie Filling. Ibid.. Page 5.

So with a few quick strokes, there are an additional 13 pie fillings from a reputable source right there.

Strawberry Pie. Michael Shivili / / 2014/ CC0 1.0

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