FRUIT PIE FILLING: THICKENERS

What is ClearJel and Thermflo?
ClearJel and Thermflo are chemically modified cornstarch that are safe thickeners for use in home canning. There are two types of ClearJel available: Regular ClearJel and Instant ClearJel. You need to use regular ClearJel for home canning - it may also be labelled as cook-type ClearJel. Instant ClearJel is suitable for puddings, cream fillings and custard. Instant ClearJel is not safe for canning. Do not substitute ClearJel or Thermflo. Do not use cornstarch (cornflour), flour, tapioca or other thickeners in your canned goods. Thermflo is a modified cornstarch safe for preserving and is available from our community classes.
   
What do you use canned fruit pie filling for?
Pour jars of fruit pie filling into pie shell, cover with top and bake. Quart (950ml) jars are great for family-sized pies; half pint (1-cup) jars of canned pie filling make approx 4 x snack pies. Pie filling is also delicious stirred through homemade yoghurt or used as a topping on cheesecake, pastries, pancakes, ice-cream or other desserts.
      
How do ClearJel  and Thermflo work?
Modified cornstarch were developed for use in commercial bakeries as a thickener for commercial food products. They do not leave a starch or flour flavour in the pie filling, which is clear (not cloudy) in the jars. Measured carefully with the other ingredients in the recipe, you will have beautiful jars of home canned fruit pie fillings with a smooth and silky consistency that will retain during the application of heat in canning and also in baking. Home canned pie fillings with ClearJel are thick - yet still permit heat to penetrate throughout the jar contents to kill bacteria and other contaminants during the boiling water canning process. Your jars of pie filling will keep the same consistency after processing (won't break down) and will remain stable during shelf storage of up to 12 months (unlike flours and other thickeners that will break down and/or clump during this period). To make a fruit pie you simply open a jar, pour  the fruit pie filling into a pie shell, cover with the crust and bake! Once baked, you can freeze mini fruit pies or pieces/whole pies for several months.
    
Where can I buy ClearJel and Thermflo?
We previously ordered ClearJel into Australia in bulk amounts, however it was very expensive! After discussions with the ClearJel manufacturer, we were recommended Thermflo and we ran trials (all successful) and now distribute Thermflo Australia-wide in at our community classes. If you are in the USA, ClearJel is available from Amazon, Amish supply stores, Barry Farm, Kitchen Krafts and My Spice Sage, plus many more outlets. 450g (1 pound) bags of Thermflo (and ClearJel) contain around 3 1/2 cups, which makes approximately 12-14 x 1L (quart) jars of fruit pie filling. 
 
NOTES
  • Use a safe canning recipe for fruit pie fillings;
  • Do not increase the amount of each ingredient in the pie filling recipe;
  • Make a small batch of pie filling first, so you can adjust future batches with extra sugar, spices or other flavouring/s to what you and your family likes best;
  • Can pie filling without spices then add flavour/s into the pie before baking if you like;
  • A quart (4 cup capacity) jar of pie filling will make an 8-9 inch family sized pie;
  • A half-pint (1 cup capacity) jar of pie filling will make approx 4 x mini pies;
  • ALWAYS buy your ClearJel/Thermflo and jars BEFORE you buy your fresh fruit;
  • Order a few weeks ahead (or a month ) to allow time for postage delays;
  • Buy only enough ClearJel/Thermflo to use within the 12 months storage period;
  • There are approximately 3 1/2 cups in 1 pound (450g) bag of ClearJel/Thermflo;
  • You will need 1/4 cup ClearJel/Thermflo to make 1 quart of pie filling;
  • If fruit has been frozen with sugar, rinse well while the fruit is frozen, then allow fruit to thaw
  • Thaw frozen fruits overnight in the refrigerator, keeping the juice separate. Measure the juice and use the juice instead of the same amount of water in the recipe
  • If you do not have ClearJel or Thermflo, leave it out of the recipe and add flour or cornstarch when you open a jar;
  • Gluten: ClearJel and Thermflo does not contain wheat gluten, so it is gluten free - but there may be cross-contamination during manufacturing. Check the label before use if you are Celiac or have a strong gluten sensitivity;
  • GMO: Most brands of ClearJel are GMO-free (refer to the label to confirm) and Thermflo does not contain GMO.
          
Further information on thickeners and canning
What food and ingredients are not safe for canning
   

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