clear jel as a thickener

bluejean(z6 OH)March 6, 2007

I make my own taco seasoning mix (much like the stuff you buy in packets at the supermarket) It calls for cornstarch to be added. I have been instead making it with clear jel. I was curious about then using this seasoning mix in canning. The other ingredients are basic seasonings: garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper etc. I have seen many receipes for sauces that say to leave the cornstarch out until you are ready to use, but I am wondering if since I am using clear jel, if it can be added before canning. I specifically want to use this seasoning mix to make enchilada sauce.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!

bluejean in ohio

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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Sorry, it is not safe to thicken any tomato products prior to canning, not even with Clear Jel.
This is what it says:
Never add a thickening product such as flour, cornstarch, rice or pasta to tomatoes before canning. These products will also change the acidity level of your tomatoes. You may thicken tomato products before serving. If you do thicken your tomato soup mixture, it can be frozen successfully but never canned.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wisconsin food safety on thickening tomato products.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 4:46PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

There are tomato ketchup mixes from Ball and Mrs. Wages that use a small amount of modified food starch to thicken ever so slightly. Its used to help prevent some water seperation in ketchup once the jars are stored. Clear jel is much more stable than most any other starch or thickener, and has been used for many years in commercial canning of many thickend products. The only other modified food starch that reains stable under freezing is the Thermo Jel or Freezer Flo product, as Clear Jel will break down, seperate, and get watery again. I have used both in thickening gravies for making frozen meat pies. Clear Jel is also the primary thickener used by places like Barry Farms in all of the canned pie fillings. The acidity of tomatoes alone will not be safe, so added acid like cider vinegar in a Salsa, or Lime Juice, or citric acid in tomatoes will suffice. Another option to thicken is to add some dried tomato powder, dried onion, dried garlic, and dried peppers. This tomato powder product can absorb quite a lot of water and give more thickness to a salsa.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 9:25AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Yes, but the key is commercial products, not homecanned ones. That is the difference.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 6:12PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Ball ketchup mix and Mrs. Wages are commercially made packaged dry mixes, and are the seasoning ingredient used in making home made ketchup. Barry Farms makes their pie fillings using the traditional home canning method.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 9:02AM
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