Looking for ClearJel in Seattle area -- can anyone help?

brumbjornJune 9, 2009

Hi all!

One of my friends pointed me your way (she said it is the only active food preservation board she has seen) and suggested I post this here.

Does anyone know where in the greater Seattle area I can buy ClearJel at? I can't find it anywhere! I managed to get an entire carton of pie cherries at the Farmers Market today (woot!) and I want to put up some jars of filing (after I make a fresh pie of course!)

Thank you in advance for any help you can give!

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readinglady(z8 OR)

Unfortunately, ClearJel can be difficult to locate. Most of us order it online, though sometimes a local Extension agency can suggest suppliers. One of our members is a Washington Master Food Preserver and may have some suggestions, if she sees your post.

I first found ClearJel at a cake decorating shop. If you look the nearest ones up and give a call, you may find they stock it or can suggest other local suppliers.

Carol

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 10:08PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I assume you tried Walmart? Ours here carries it. Target does too.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 10:28PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Wow, you are lucky, Dave. I wish. I've never seen it here in Walmart or Target, not even Bimart, which has an excellent selection of canning supplies.

Carol

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 2:27AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Do you have Wilco up there ? Our Wilco sells it.
A few cake decor stores. Also, if you wanted a 25 lb bag, Cash n Carry/ United Grocers here has it for a bit over $30 last I checked. Other than that, we order it. We don't have it at our extension office for sale. A few do, though, as mentioned. Try calling yours and asking.
That is so interesting. A Walmart and Target having Clear Jel ? Our Target doesn't even have any canning supplies.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 4:36AM
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calliope(6)

I found it at a local Mennonite bulk food store, and it plucked my attention because of people mentioning it here.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 6:21AM
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robin_d(8b Tacoma WA)

How's the shelf life on Clear Jel? I may just grab a bag next time I'm at Cash and Carry, assuming it won't all spoil before I can use it.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 10:13AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Indefinite. It's just like cornstarch. Not much can go wrong with it as long as you keep the bugs out.

Just for clarification for those new to ClearJel, be sure you buy regular ClearJel, not Instant ClearJel or ClearJel A. Only the regular is used in canning.

For more information, check the document below.

Carol

Here is a link that might be useful: Purchasing and Using ClearJel

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 12:02PM
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robin_d(8b Tacoma WA)

Can it be used instead of cornstarch for regular cooking as well? That would increase my odds of using it all.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 12:27PM
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calliope(6)

I imagine you'd find cornstarch a lot cheaper than clear jel. I was thrilled to just find it, and it was cheap enough, considering what I'd pay for it not in bulk, but much more expensive than a thickener like corn starch.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:58PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

You can fid it on many web sites includin Barry Farms, Kitchen Krafts, Bulk Foods , etc. Some oraganic all natural stores also have it. You can always de-pit the cherries and the refrigerate until you find/get some.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 3:16PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Yes, you can use it in lieu of cornstarch; if you buy in bulk you may find it preferable just to store and use one thickener and not too much higher in price.

I tend to use instant ClearJel more frequently. There are only a few canning recipes that call for the regular ClearJel, so I don't keep that much around.

For pie fillings, you might want to reduce the recommended amount by as much as half. Several of us on the Forum have observed the filling as presented is far too thick and tends to expand in the jar during processing, leading to leakage. Besides, if you can reduce the amount you use, that reduces the cost. There are no safety issues in using less of this thickener when canning.

As far as pie cherries are concerned, my family owned commercial orchards. We found frozen cherries far more appealing in texture, color and flavor, so if you have the space that's what I'd recommend. As a second option, cherries can be canned plain in water or light syrup (which is better for color retention and flavor) then thickened for pies or used with other recipes as you would any other canned fruit.

Carol

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 6:46PM
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brumbjorn

Hi all! OP here...

Just a follow up for everyone. I managed to find it at a place in Puyallup today via a google search that pulled up a 20 year old article on the PI (local paper) archives. I took a chance and the place was still in business. Woot! I was able to get 4 pounds of it which should get me through the carton of cherries I got yesterday. We're pitting like crazy here (I broke down and got a second pitter. The paring knife was NOT cutting it, so to speak...) and the pie is about to go in the over.

FWIW, I called the Pierce County extension office (I took my Master Canner certification through them several years back since King County got rid of the program) and they had no idea who to go to. They suggested two places (McLendons and another local hardware store) as well as ordering it online.

I tried calling Target and Walmart as well. No luck there. I'm goingto check out cash-n-carry next time I am over there to see if they have it. I think I'll want to stock up so this does not happen in the future if all goes well with the Great Cherry Experiment Of 2009 =D

Honestly, when it comes to canning, I'm usually MUCH more prepared than this. I was caught by surprise at actually finding sour pie cherries at the farmers market (I went there for sweet ones for jam) and when I saw them I had to snap them all up! (being only .50 a pound helped too!)

I swear, one of these days I 'm going to bite the bullet and open a canners co-op where we can all buy in bulk from manufacturers for stuff like this and jar, lids, pectin...

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 9:49PM
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brumbjorn

@Carol:

I much prefer frozen pie cherries as well for making pies. In fact, frozen is all I can usually find around here. Tacoma Boys sells an 8# box that I would usually split into pre measured quantities in baggies and put in the freezer so I had the cherries already measured out, ready to go. Sadly, my chest freezer died a few years back and we decided not to replace it since we used it infrequently and it was never full to begin with (we're just a family of two, hubby and I)

Thanks for the tip on the clearjel for canning. I was going to use the recipe in So Easy to Preserve. I"ll let you know how things go!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 10:00PM
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robin_d(8b Tacoma WA)

Brum, where in Puyallup did you find the ClearJel?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 1:23AM
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brumbjorn

Robin,

I got it from Dottie's Kitchen Center. She now runs her business out of her home, so you'll need to call to pick it up. I can tell you she is out of stock right now (I got the last 4 pounds she had). She is pretty pricey compared to the internet - I paid $3 a pound for it, but it was an emergency - but she was super nice.

BTW, if you ever get up this way (I'm in Renton) and need jars, WinCo in Kent has them CHEAP! Quarts are about $8 a dozen. (remember that includes lids!)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 5:02AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Sour cherries tend to offer more flavor to jellies and fillings. When using Clear Jel, be sure to reduce the amount of it, compared to corn starch. I use it in place of corn starch for everything. Most store packaged puddings use it, under the gerneral term 'modified food starch'. It can also be added to gravies and sauces. If you find its not thickend enough, simpy mix a couple of tablespoons of it with a little water to make a slurry and poure it it while stirring the pot. It thickens up much faster than regular corn starch too. I also use a similar product called Freezer Flo, which retains its texture after a cooking, freeze, and thaw. $3 a pound is a decent price.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 9:44AM
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seattlesuze

Brum, I'm in Renton, too, and I'd have sworn I bought ClearJel at Winco last year. They have the best prices for canning supplies. And I was just up at Top of the Hill to check on sour cherries - he told me to go to the Market. I guess I'll have to wait a day or so for more to be harvested since you got them already. Hope you enjoyed your pie!

Sue

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 7:58PM
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robin_d(8b Tacoma WA)

Well, normally the idea of driving from Tacoma to Renton sounds like a trip to the ends of the earth, but it just may be worth it! ;-)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 1:19AM
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