Clear Jel users?? Hi am making hot pepper mustard! It contains flour...

I want to can it, and flour isn't considered safe for longer shelf life items. I have heard substituting clear jel is an alternate. Does anyone know how to sub? Specifically, the quantity used instead of flour? Any thoughts are so appreciated.



Lori T. October 16, 2020
Well, I'm a long time canner and preserver who uses Clear-Jel. It's a great product to use when canning, since flour isn't a recommended option and regular cornstarch will not hold up in processing. There are two different formulations, one made to be cooked, and one used in cold preps. If you plan to can your mustard, then you need to be sure you have the cook type. As far as the amounts to use- 1/4 cup thickens 1 quart of liquid to a gravy like consistency. You mix it with cool liquid, and add to hot liquid - much as you would regular cornstarch. If you will not be canning the finished mustard, though, you could use the non-cook version. You can buy both sorts online, I get mine through Amazon, but there are other sources, as well as brand names. You are looking for a modified cornstarch formulated for canning, which the description should include. I use both sorts, since the non-cook version is wonderful to stabilize whipping cream, and various fillings if needed. Also love the cook type to make my own pie fillings.
Smalltowngirl October 16, 2020
Thank you very much Lori T that was a real help. I went and found it without knowing that there were two kinds, so of course I bought the instant. Ah well, as you said it will work in a lot of other applications. I just can't seem to find the regular anywhere (sold out on Amazon here in Canada) - the instant though is readily available. The only spot so far was a baking supply store but it was a small fortune. Hmm, what would you think about tapioca starch? Seriously, thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. It was even better than clear jels help chat line!
Lori T. October 16, 2020
The problem with other thickeners, including tapioca starch, is that it breaks down with the heat used in preserving. Either it fails, or it can leave lumps and clumps- not a good thing no matter which. I gave this some more thought though. Instant clear-jel can be heated ONE time - so you can use it for a fresh fruit pie filling, and it will be fine. So you "could" use the instant version, and perhaps water bath can your mustard to seal it for sale. I'd recommend doing a trial jar first, to check how it actually goes though. One other suggestion, for what it's worth, is to add dry mustard powder to absorb extra liquid. Of course that could change your formulation a bit, but at least it would not be a foreign flavor profile. Mustard heat tends to mute if exposed to heat, too, so keep that in mind. One of the ways to tame a too hot mustard is actually to heat it.
Smalltowngirl October 16, 2020
Okay, awesome advice again. Thanks Lori. Didn't know that about tapioca, have never used it before. Funny, I was thinking the same - as I will only really be heating in the water bath once instant may be okay. If my ducks are in a row then the mixture will go into the jars hot from the pot and straight into its bath which only requires 10/12 minutes or so. BUT, the MUSTARD powder - you are a genius! I think that really may be the ticket as it emulsifies so well and wouldn't change the profile much at all! Will let you know which test wins. :)
Nancy October 16, 2020
Smalltowngirl - Some answers for your questions, from an experienced canner and preserver (but not a user of Clear-Jel).
You're right about not using the flour in a mixture you want to preserve by canning. Apparently, the heat doesn't penetrate the flour, leaving the individual jars subject to bacteria, contamination and needing to discard all.
If you cannot find Clear-Jel, and need to go ahead, there is another way to thicken the mustard - and that is by just cooking it down before you put it into the jars and subject them to hot water bath.
On Clear-Jel procedures and/or quantities for substitution, I would ask
* state or county extension service;
* customers service at Clear-Jel manufacturer.
Smalltowngirl October 16, 2020
Thank you, Nancy! Yes, corn starch doesn't survive being cooked more than once, and apparently, as well as forming bacteria the flour may clump, and end up very cloudy. I may just take your advice and just keep cooking, but as this is going to end up being sold I don't want to reduce too too much as I would like to yield a good amount. Any thoughts on Tapioca starch? Thanks again!
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