Ball's 2008 Blue Book edition still calls for flour

seaglassgirlSeptember 20, 2008

Hi - I just received Ball's 2008 Blue Book and the Mustard Pickle recipe still uses flour so I guess it must be safe to use it. Does anyone use the "Company's Coming" canning book? The author is Canadian but it must be available in the US. Any comments on the safety of this book?


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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Insisting on using flour as a thickener in home caning is still not fully safe. Even if the Ball publish date is 2008, I doubt if they really intended to mention that. Flour had been used for many years due to the fact that it was the ONLY option compared to regular corn starch or tapioka. It tends to change density, and breaks down quickly in a home canned food. This breakdown of flour simply adds an unnecessary result, and is seriously affected by the acids in the liquid as to how long it can remain as a cooked in thickener. Flour is not as well refined as a modified food starch. Clear Jel is the current preference and has been used in home canning and commercially for many years now. I would expect that Ball had not made the change to switch to a starch, as it is NOT measured the same as flour. Simply changing the flour amount to a corn starch will affect home canning density, if its overused. If flour is over used, its going to add to a higher risk to density questions. A tiny detail like this may have been overlooked by Ball, or a just plain irresponsible answer in their latest book. I doubt that Ball would even bother with actally testing the products. Barry Foods, a commercial company offers many thickened pie fillings, all of which use Clear Jel as a thickener I wonder if that same Ball book has a mention of the use of butter, oils, dairy, cheese, and other unsafe ingredients. Sure, you can ignore this, and use flour if you want, but keep in mind that flour is not used as a thickener anymore, even in any commercially canned product. If it were used, it would have been changed long ago. Clear Jel is a very old, and original modified food starch, and now comes in several grades and specific properties for many commercial needs. Even the latest canning recipe books can have errors or insufficient changes. Thats the main reason most get into later revised versions of these books. The safety issues are the same as it is in the US and Canada.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 8:33AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I guess it must be safe to use it

FAIK that is the only recipe that still includes flour and I doubt it will survive the upcoming revisions even tho it is a pickled high-acid product.

Long as you understand that its inclusion in that particular recipe doesn't mean it can be used otherwise. And, since it isn't really needed in even that recipe, it is better to use the accepted alternative.

Ball doesn't revise the book each year, they just review it for any major issue changes.

Not familiar with the other book you mention but it seems to be quite old (1991) which means it predates the 1994 revised guidelines if that publication date is correct and its recipes should be carefully evaluated.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 9:28AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I've mentioned before that the new Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving replaces the flour with ClearJel. That definitely is the new standard.

Personally I wouldn't be concerned about using flour in that mustard pickle. The mustard and the vinegar offer a very high level of safety, even allowing for the presence of flour. But I wouldn't extrapolate from that and conclude that flour in other recipes is OK. It's one instance and was tested using flour.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 12:42PM
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Hi again - When I ordered the "Blue Book" I thought that was the "main" Ball canning book. So the new "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving" is the mother book so to speak? If that is the case and it has ClearJel for the mustard pickles then I will accept that. I looked in my Bernardin book and it also used ClearJel so that is 2 out of 3. Now I have to order the "complete ball book" because even though Bernardin and Ball are from the same parent company? I would imagine they have some different recipes.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 1:36PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

As Carol said in your other thread on canning books, the Bernardin books are likely less expensive for you to get because of the shipping costs to Canada. You should be able to find the Bernadin equivalent of the Complete Book locally.

The Ball Complete Book isn't so much the "mother book" as it is an expanded version of the BBB. BBB has all the basics you would need as a beginner. And when the new guidelines finally come out, both will likely be revised again.

Just trying to save you a few dollars. ;)


    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 1:46PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

The Ball (or Bernardin) Book is the "mother" book. But recently Ball/Bernardin issued a new expanded book called the Ball/Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving (name varies by country) which is a compilation of Ball, Bernardin and even Kerr recipes.

There are slight differences in some of the recipes but I consider both titles equally reliable. As I said, that kind of mustard pickle is inherently low-risk.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 2:13PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

To be safe, I would stay with todays ingredients as opposed to something like flour, which was used for years, but if there is a safer and more reliable thickener for canning, it might be wise to move up to todays tested ingredients. Because flour can change density and affect other things, and even with vinegar, its still not going to remain thckened for very long. Modified food starch has many years of home and commercial use behind it. My mustard pickles were thickened with Clear Jel. They were my moms favorite. Just make sure you do not ad dteh same amount of Clear jel as it an thicken a lot more compared to flour, and the thickening happes much faster. Flour+lumps+stock=lumpy gravy with liquid seperation after refrigeration. Clear Jel+nothing+stock=a smooth gravy...

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 6:07PM
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Tinkerbel(7b/8a B.C)

Hello everyone

I have been doing a lot of canning this fall and have come realize that I really need Clearjel for many recipes that I want to make. I however can not find Clearjel anywhere in Canada. Would someone be willing to ship some up to me if I sent money ahead.

Thanks everyone

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 8:01PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Barry Farm carries it, and they will ship to Canada at the cheapest available rate. Bernardin marketed ClearJel under their name then turned sales over to Golda's Kitchen, which no longer offers it. I don't know what Bernardin is thinking, not to offer something so basic to canning. But then Pickle Crisp was discontinued and that didn't make sense either.

Check the link.


Here is a link that might be useful: Barry Farm ClearJel

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 8:46PM
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Ya, go figure. I got a couple of pouches of ClearJel from Golda's earlier this year and now they are sold out?

Maybe Bernardin is taking a page out of OPECs book and tightening up supply up north here just when the cold weatherand need for hot pies is kicking into full swing!
Let them Canucks suffer for a while and then stick it to em like strawberry pie filling to a white table cloth LOL.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 9:02PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Kitchen Krafts carries it as well as an instant version. They ship nearly world wide, and have listed most all Canadian provinces. I find their product line very extensive and have been doing business with them for many years now.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Krafts

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 1:43PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Barry Farm is $2.99 per pound (addt'l 5% off for 5 pound item) while Kitchen Krafts is $5.25. Unless their shipping is significantly less, the higher price isn't justified.

I like Kitchen Krafts and have ordered from them, but in many cases their prices are inflated compared to other vendors.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 3:21PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I agree, but when a person needs a US source that ships to Canada or even another country, they must deal with higher costs. Barry Farms is a good place to get it. Linka Lou used to buy some of their unusual pie fillings I believe. Thats when she was made aware of Clear Jel. Its been a few years now..

I have also used the instant Clear Jel to make no bake cheese cake. It works great and gives me a nice firm cheese cake with no sugar and lower fat.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 10:57AM
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