Is Clear Jel the same as Corn Starch? Someone mentioned Clear Jel is just *Modified* Corn Starch. So could I just use corn starch instead? and would I use the same amount...Thanks for any Help.....
Clear Jel is modified corn starch. I don't know if you could use regular corn starch and modify it yourself, but it would be an interesting experiment.
If you have used corn starch to thicken sauces or pudding, you have seen the change as the mixture cooks. The raw corn starch mixes easily with cold water (unlike wheat flour) and gives the mixture a cloudy appearance. When it reaches boiling, the corn starch changes (is modified) and the mixture becomes clear (as in *Clear* Jel) and thickens.
Clear Jel is pre-cooked, or pre-gelatinized, corn starch. The wheat flour analog is Wondra, which is pre-cooked and can be added to hot gravies and sauces without lumping.
Why not do a small scale experiment to see if you can get a result similar to Clear Jel by cooking some raw corn starch? Do you have some time on your hands? :-)
Here is a link that might be useful: Modified Corn Starch
Clear Jel also remains stable in most canning. Cornstarch tends to seperate and become watery after a while. Clear Jel, being as it is, is far safer for use in home canning than corn starch. Its density is designed into it, so will allow heat penetration without any changes to the foods processing time. If commerical canning and food prep were to use regular cornstarch for everything, there would be some problems with texture and stability, mouthfeel, density, stability and a host of other issues. Recently I posted info from National Starch, the maker of Clear Jel and many other variants that use all kinds of starches to not only thicken, but to help hold together frozen sauces and other unusual applications, including making ice cream, and high acid foods. Because Clear Jel, is the original modified food starch, its been around for many years. Several other starches have been produced that offer many different properties used in commercial food prep. Heck, even a box of Jello pudding has the modified food starch. Starch isn't just for thickening something...
Here is a link that might be useful: National Starch
Regular corn starch and Clear Jel are not the same. Cornstarch will break down during the canning process. Clear jel will not. It is the only thickner recommended for canning pie fillings.
Usually you need to order Clear Jel online. Not many places sell it in stores.
I hope my suggestion to try a small scale experiment with corn starch was not taken to be a simple substitution of raw corn starch for modified corn starch (Clear Jel). And by 'small scale', I certainly did not mean a canner load.
What I had in mind was to modify the corn starch by cooking it, which may (or may not) produce a product equivalent to Clear Jel, which is pre-cooked corn starch.
Let me emphasize that this is strictly experimental, nothing that I have tried or that is recommended. It is a matter of curiosity, not a time saver (far from it) or a great cost savings. Most members of this forum will want to follow conventional methods.
Clear Jel and other modified food starches are made by removing specific components and increasing other specific components. Most of the processes used in making the various types of modified food starches are not just made from corn either. Thats the main reason they don't call it 'modified corn starch', but instead, modified food starch. There is a precooked version of Clear Jel, that is dried and ground and is used to make things like instant puddings. Thick 'n Quick is one of them. Freezer Flow is also a name for a starch that holds up better to freeze thaw cycles. You can experiment all you like, but without knowing the 'secret formulas' used by the major starch producer, National Starch, you will not be able to achieve the same results without some serious food chemistry knowledge, and analytical equipment.