Monday, July 6, 2009

A New Experience Canning with Clear Jel

I promised to move on to vegetables, but some how jam keeps coming up.

Anyway, blogging has led me to decide that I am too much of a creature of habit. After I wrote the post about Clear Jel, I started thinking about the options available to me. On the one hand, I like the fact jam recipes that rely on the natural pectin in the fruit usually use less sugar then recipes that call for added pectin. On the other hand I definitely like the shorter cooking time of recipes with added pectin. In fact, I like the shorter cooking time so much, that I almost exclusively use those recipes.

I wrote that I had read that you can use clear jel in jam but that I had never tried it. It occurred to me that clear jel could represent the best of both worlds. Since it doesn't depend on sugar to set, you could have the low sugar recipe with short cooking time.

I got my favorite cherry jam recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I cut the amount of sugar in half, stirred 7 tablespoons of clear jel in with the sugar, and ignored the pectin. I combined all of the ingredients, brought it to a boil, and started canning.

I had to try some to see how it turned out. I admit that I would have liked it to be thicker, but I can still work on figuring out the right amount of clear jel to get it thick. It did have the taste of fresh fruit (not fruit that had been cooked to death) and it wasn't over sweetened. My first attempt at canning jam with clear jel, has lead me to decide to try it some more.


  1. Excellent experimenting, Charlotte! Keep up the great work!


  2. Charlotte, I admire your courage at trying new things. Because of your efforts we shall all benefit and learn. thank you!

  3. I read about something called waxy maize about the same time I started seeing people blogging about using something new and easier to make jelly.

    Also about the same time, I began noticing more and more commercial foods became sticky/gummy on plates and in pots more quickly, and if not rinsed immediately, then often needed more elbow grease to remove the gummy sauce.

    Now I'm thinking waxy maize, modified corn starch is probably what's causing commercial sauces to become gummy so quickly.

    I certainly don't want that in my body when it's recently been proven that excess blood sugar turns into bad cholesterol (LDL). I'm guessing the LDLs might mix with modified cornstarch into a super-plaque.

    Considering that pectin is healthy, I'll stick with old fashioned jelly, rather than mixing all that sugar with something that might be almost as unhealthy as man-made transfats. It was decades before the truth was known about hydrogenated veg oil.

    The above is one of the main reasons I'm learning to can, along with unreliable electricity on the Gulf coast.

    Thanks for teaching! Hopefully I'm wrong about modified cornstarch ^_^

  4. If you really want to cut down on sugar, look into Pomona's Pectin.

    As I read somewhere else, using pomona's you can thicken water!


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