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ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Posted by another_buffalo 6 (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 21:03

OK, so we started a canning club - within a couple of weeks, we had 45 members. Yikes! Our second meeting is coming up and we will be making red pepper jelly. It is easy, fast and water bath. Many of our members do not have pressure canners yet.

One of the benefits of a club is bulk buying. I ordered 25 pounds of ClearJel for making pie fillings. The product has great reviews in the USDA and Ball canning books. Its not available except by mail order and is terribly expensive buying by the pound on Amazon. This way, members can buy by the pound for around $4 and have a readily available source.

Buying liquid pectin is a major expense in making the jellies. Just wondering if the ClearJel can be used to make clear jellies like the pepper jellies. Pectin seems to be used only as a thickener and ClearJel could do that, couldn't it? I've found no source for bulk Pectin, certainly not the liquid kind.

We are in a low income rural area, and price is a major reason folks are interested in canning. Do you have any suggestions for us in terms of economy in canning?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Just for the record.....most recipes call for more Clear Jel than you need and it makes pie filling too thick and ugly. It has been discussed here on the forum in the past so you might want to find the thread.


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Thanks sooner. I'm looking for thick, but not ugly. ;)

So just thinking maybe I need to make some and see how 'ugly' it becomes. Do you think that the pie filling level of clearjel would be enough to consider as jam? What happens if you add even more to make a jam?


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

I'd sure experiment with it first. Personally I don't like Clear Jel for anything so sure wouldn't use it for jelly or jam.

But you don't have to use liquid pectin either. Bulk dry pectin is available and you could divy it up just like the clear jel. Even the individual boxes of dry are cheaper than the liquid. Why use liquid?

Dave


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Thanks, Dave
I saw something called Pomona on another thread.
Do you like that product??


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

I use Pomona for low sugar jams, but you won't get the "jewel" tones that you get from regular pectin. I don't make a lot of jelly where you'd really want it to be perfectly clear. I like very chunky jam (fruit on toast)!
Some think it has a chalky texture, but I don't have a problem with it. I like the fact that I can use little to no sugar (cost AND dietary savings) and my jam tastes more like fresh fruit than sugar.

I also like the fact that you can make your batch any size you want, rather than having to stick with specific measurements for regular pectin.

Clear jel is just a modified corn starch that doesn't break down in the canning (or freezing process). Yes, you could safely make "jam" with it, but the consistency is going to be like canned pie filling. The juices are thickened like a cornstarch gravy, for lack of a better description. I don't like that texture, even for pies!

I use clearjel in place of cornstarch for gravies though and love it! You can refrigerate or freeze them and they keep the consistency. No "congealing" in the fridge, no separation in the freezer. Great for making meals to freeze for later.

Everything has its uses, you just have to try it and see what you like.

Deanna


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Deanna - Thank you so much for sharing your experiance/expertise on this subject! It is just the kind of information that is needed.

I've been on the Pomona website this morning, getting better informed on the product. What an excellent program this topic could be for a canning club meeting..... We could at the same meeting, whip up batches prepared three ways, reg pectin, clearjel, and low caloried Pomona. We could compare results and costs at the following meeting, giving the products plenty of time to 'gel'. Cool. I'm excited! Thanks again.
Carol


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Well, I get carried away with an idea and sometimes forget the most important parts. NUTRITION. We'll definately compare that as well.
arol


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

We could at the same meeting, whip up batches prepared three ways, reg pectin, clearjel, and low caloried Pomona.

Some possible misunderstandings here. Pomona is no more low-calorie than any other pectin is - pectin has no calories perse. Pomona is just a different type of pectin and can be used for any recipe where pectin is called for.

I may be wrong and if so just ignore this but I get the impression you aren't clear on exactly what pectin is, how it works, the different forms it comes in, and how those forms can and canNOT be substituted for each other.

No pectin affects the nutrition either.

Clear Jel is not pectin. There is liquid pectin, powdered pectin (by far the most common available and most commonly used and available in both sugared and low/no sugar forms), and Pomona pectin.

They all work differently, are measured differently, affect flavor and consistency differently, and are usually not interchangeable in recipes. Any form of pectin can be used to make low-sugar recipes although some work better than others since low-sugar recipes normally have a much softer set.

Most jelly/jam recipes will stipulate the specific type of pectin to be used for that particular recipe.

Dave


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

I once used clear-jel in some jelly (might have been jam, I don't remember now) that didn't set. It thickened it up some, but it really didn't improve the set. The taste was mostly unaffected, but the texture was different than what you'd want in jelly or a jam. Someone mentioned that it would make it more like the texture of pie filling. That is what I experienced, maybe to a lesser degree because I didn't use much of it, but it was a negative in the overall taste, texture, appearance of the jelly/jam.


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

You are right, Dave, I do have lots to learn yet. But that is the beauty of it - I love to learn about stuff that catches my attention.

I think that folks have convinced me that clearjel is not going to make a satisfactory jelly or jam. I am learning about the pectin though...... I grew up in the middle of a Florida orange grove and never knew that the oranges we grew would end up making pectin from the peels.

Its been 45 years since I was in college, but my major was Health Education and it remains ingrained in my thinking. So by nutrition, I am looking at the calorie content ratios of the recipes and how they affect weight and blood sugars. I see now that there is a low sugar pectin that I need to look at in addition to Pamona. I do understand that pectin is pectin and has not calories. How they are used in the recipes is where the calorie part comes in.

If anyone has links to recipes or products that will help me learn about pectin and its uses, I would greatly appreciate the support.


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Wife is the jam/jelly expert in the family and she swears by Ball Low/No Sugar pectin. It is powdered and lets you adjust the amount of sugar to personal taste.

Personally we don't care for liquid pectin. It is sometimes difficult to get just the right amount of it so the set varies a great deal from batch to batch. We only use it when the particular recipe we want to make requires it.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Pectin - What it is and how it works


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

  • Posted by malna NJ 5/6 (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 28, 13 at 19:05

I'm not sure if you are aware of the website for the National Center for Home Food Preservation (you'll see the abbreviation NCHFP here a lot). They are the best resource on the Internet for information about what and what cannot be canned safely as well as a ton of recipes.

I've linked their "Making Jams and Jellies" section below. There is a good list there of fruits that are high, medium and low in natural pectin that I refer to often.

They also offer a free self-study course that is very good, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Thanks, Malna. I have that book, and it is disappointing in the jams and jellies. It does not tell much about pectin, and the only low sugar recipes are made with gelatin and must be frozen rather than canned.

I Love, love, love the Ball preserving book, but none of its 400 recipes use the low calorie pectin. Between these two sources, I was unaware the product was even available. On the sure jell website, the recipe page was down on the low calorie product. I've not seen a recipe yet. I'll keep looking.....

Ball is forgiven - they have a recipe for chocolate raspberry sunday topper. My heart is won.
Carol


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

More info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ball Pectins


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Yeah, Dave, I checked out that link and also the Kraft link (that makes surejel). They describe the low sugar version, but do not even bother to tell you that you apparently can't cook it. The recipes are for freezer jam. Am I wrong?

Pomona will not work with sugar, you have to jell first and then add the sugar. Calcium water is used in jelling the Pomona.

i'm looking for actual recipes to cook jams with low sugar sure jel. Has anyone done this or know a source? I'm really believing that it cannot be done at this point.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kraft website


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Pectin has been a real perplexing issue to study. Now I just found a website that adds a complication and a potential solution to low sugar jams. Let me share a quote from this site with a link below:

A sad fact of my jam- and jelly-making life is that not all pectin brands are equal. They have very different processing requirements. You can’t substitute one brand for another and use the same instructions. I found out the hard way.

Remember that! You can’t substitute one brand for another and use the same instructions.

I now use Ball Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin instead of Sure-Jell. I made the switch so that I didn’t have to use so much sugar in my jelly."

She has a beautiful rose petal jam picture and recipe. It won't be long before the wild multiflora rose is blooming like crazy in the pastures and edges of the woods. I see a new jelly coming on.........

Here is a link that might be useful: Ball low sugar pectin


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

but do not even bother to tell you that you apparently can't cook it

Yes sorry but you have it wrong. The websites are clear about the differences but perhaps more understanding is needed.

Both Kraft and Ball offer regular powdered pectin, low/no sugar powdered pectin, liquid pectin, and an instant powdered pectin for freezer jam.

At Ball website not there is Low Sugar pectin and then there is Low Sugar Instant pectin which is for freezer jams. They are 2 different products.

Any of the low/no sugar, non-instant can and are often used for cooked jams.

And you don't need specific recipes to make low-sugar jams when using low/no-sugar pectin. You can use any jelly jam recipe with the low/no sugar pectin. With them it amount of sugar you add is your choice from none to all the recipe calls for.

Pomona will not work with sugar,

Pomona works fine with sugar, sugar just isn't required for it to work.

Dave


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?


A sad fact of my jam- and jelly-making life is that not all pectin brands are equal. They have very different processing requirements. You can’t substitute one brand for another and use the same instructions. I found out the hard way.

That is a very misleading statement. And yes, you can find all sorts of information on the web but that doesn't mean all of it is accurate information.

It should read:

...not all pectin types (not brands) are equal...the cooking (not processing) instructions for different brands may vary somewhat but the processing instructions for all jams is the same - sterilized jars get 5 mins. processing, unsterilized jars get 10 mins. processing. You can’t substitute one type (not brand) for another and use the same instructions.

Dave


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

This is the information I am missing, apparently: "Any of the low/no sugar, non-instant can and are often used for cooked jams.

And you don't need specific recipes to make low-sugar jams when using low/no-sugar pectin. You can use any jelly jam recipe with the low/no sugar pectin. With them it amount of sugar you add is your choice from none to all the recipe calls for. "

I did not find that information on their website or in the ball books on preserving. Is it some kind of secret? Where would I find confirmation of this regarding the low sugar pectins?


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

  • Posted by malna NJ 5/6 (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 29, 13 at 17:53

Let's say you have a quart of crushed strawberries and are going to make a cooked jam.

If you use regular powdered pectin (Sure-Jell or Ball) or a pouch of liquid pectin, their recipe that comes in the package calls for about 7 cups of sugar. I find these waaayyy too sweet, so I haven't used regular pectin in years. I will use liquid if the recipe specifically calls for it.

If you use no or low sugar needed powdered pectin, they recommend using from 1 to 3 cups of sugar or less sugar in combination with an alternative sweetener like Splenda (which doesn't break down when heated). For instance, 1-1/2 cups of sugar and 1-1/2 cups of Splenda to equal the 3 cups. It's nice to be able to adjust the sugar based on the sweetness of the fruit. Some batches need more, some need less.

If you use Pomona Pectin, you can add as much or as little sugar as you wish (a little real sugar, say 3/4 cup, does help the color of the jam and sugar is a natural preservative). One reason I use Pomona is I can use other sweeteners like honey or agave syrup. There are times when honey really complements certain fruit jams.


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Boy there seems to be a real communication problem here. No, it is no secret nor something i just made up. It is common knowledge, discussed in many jelly making discussions here, printed right on the boxes. discussed on page 9 and page 28 of the Ball Blue Book (latest edition) and yes, all that info is also right on their website.

From freshpreserving.com: (linked above)

Ball® RealFruit® Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin makes delicious and heahtly, lower- calorie jam. It has been reformulated for improved flavor and performance. Recipe options include:
--no sugar
--low sugar
--no-calorie sugar substitutes
--honey

There is no mention that you can't cook it. That is your assumption.

And right below it is the Pectin specifically for freezer jams:

RealFruit® Instant Pectin

Homemade, no-cook jam has never tasted better. Ball® RealFruit® Instant Pectin is the perfect way to make delicious, homemade jam in under 30 minutes. Enjoy it now or freeze it for use within one year.

Please don't make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Surejell product details


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Thank you both. I think I get the picture. Yeah, Dave, I can be hard headed at times. thanks for putting up with me and straightening this out for me.

OK, so Kraft and Ball both make pectin, and there is little difference for me to worry about at this point, just which ever is available and most affordable?

In a comparison test for strawberry jam, for instance, the options are: liquid pectin and powdered pectin for the highest sugar recipes, and low sugar and Pomona for the lower caloried options. And we should be able to use the same basic recipe - except for sugar - as long as the procedure used for the pectin is correct? One last question, if powdered pectin is used in a recipe that calls for liquid pectin, what is the amount of powder that equals the liquid (understanding that they are added to the recipe at different times)?

I set out strawberry, raspberry and blueberry plants in the garden today, along with some broccoli. Spring at last...... for a few days at least.


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Yes, there is little or no difference between Kraft's and Ball's pectin.

Using the same basic recipe - sort of. There might be a slightly different ratio of fruit to sugar to acid. The easiest thing is to follow the guidelines in the package insert (or a trusted canning cookbook) .

No, liquid pectin and powdered pectin are NOT interchangeable in recipes. If a recipe specifically calls for liquid pectin, do not substitute powdered pectin. Exactly why do they react differently - I'm not sure of the science. But here's what Bernardin (the Canadian equivalent of Ball) says:

"Don't deviate from the recipe as pectins are not interchangeable." They have recipes for using both types and they are slightly different. I've linked their website below in case you don't have a link to it. They have recipes in the Light Recipes section using the no sugar/low sugar pectin. You can follow their recipes using the appropriate Ball or Kraft pectins.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bernardin


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

One last question, if powdered pectin is used in a recipe that calls for liquid pectin, what is the amount of powder that equals the liquid (understanding that they are added to the recipe at different times)?

As we keep saying the forms, the types, of pectin are not interchangeable. So you cannot switch to liquid if powdered is called for and you cannot switch to powdered if liquid is called for.

Dave


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

That is a great website, Malna, better than Balls, user friendly and interesting recipes. Never heard of horseradish jelly before, for example.

Both of you had warnings about the liquid and powder recipes not being interchangable. I reviewed a couple of recipes and see the difference. Its a good thing you made that clear for me or I would have been a mess trying to arrange the comparisons. :)

Maybe its old age, probably just mindset, but I will have to watch tainting testing with my own personal preferences. Because the low sugar seems both healthier and more natural, I find myself biased toward a jam that I have not even made. It looks like I need to have the 'blind taste tests' done in a way that I do not know which is which. :)


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

  • Posted by malna NJ 5/6 (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 31, 13 at 15:13

I'm glad the website was useful. They do have some interesting recipes (the roasted tomato chipotle salsa listed under the Tomato section is a lot of work but is really good). It's one of my favorite canning recipe sites. A lot of them are now in the Ball Complete book, which I think you mentioned you have.


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

The Clear Jell can be used.
For every box of dry pectin called for in a cooked jam you use 7 T.
For a freezer jam you use 3 T.

This is the same handout we use.
It is true, the texture will be different, but some people use Clear jel only for their jams/jellies.

Here is a link that might be useful: Using Clear Jel.


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RE: ClearJel for making jams and jellies?

Wow, Linda Lou. That is an interesting article and I'll have to try a recipe using clear jel for jelly. Thanks for the update.


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