INSTANT ClearJel® (Plus) Info

Update: I've just checked with the manufacture, Ingredion and learned that Instant ClearJel, Ultra Gel (aka: Ultra Sperse) and Regular ClearJel are all non-GMO. 
                    
About Instant ClearJel®

INSTANT CLEARJEL is a modified corn starch, manufactured (pre-cooked) and used to thicken recipes. It is a wonderful thickener modified food starch, particularly best known for thickening commercially thickened pies, frozen during the peak season, and then baked months later, (which I've done for decades).


 

ICJ offers smooth, clumpless results and is best when first combined with dry ingredients (before adding liquid or wet ingredients), i.e.: sliced fruit or crushed fruit, thickening pies or jam.

It begins to swell or thicken, just as soon as it's added to any wet ingredients and imparts a smooth, short texture, once it's fully hydrated; reaching its full thickness within 5–10 minutes. It does not require any cooking, but Instant ClearJel may be used within cooking as well. The viscosity increases slightly upon heating. It has excellent heat and acid resistance, so it can be used in high acid containing foods and in those applications where heating is required. It has very good cold temperature storage stability, making it particularly well suited for refrigerated and frozen foods. It does not break down and weep, such a cornstarch and flour-based foods will.

Called "Instant" ClearJel®

ICJ provides great to excellent, economical, clear and thick results within many types of recipes when prepared either cold or heated. It's called "Instant", only because it swells and gels instantly when it comes in contact with any wet ingredients. Therefore, when added improperly, it will gel and clump. Be SURE whisk it with within another dry ingredient FIRST within the recipe.

A) 1-Tbsp Instant ClearJel per 1-cup liquid.
ALWAYS whisk ICJ first with another dry ingredient.
(i.e.: sugar, flour, powdered milk, or spices).

B) Or blend with a blender, immersion blender or food processor, to thicken up liquids, sauces, fruit juices or purees (with or without cooking).
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Recipes w/ Instant ClearJel®:

"Amazing" Apple Pie Filling
Apricot & Pineapple Jam (Freezer Jam)
"Beautiful Old Glory" Patriotic Pie
BB BUTTERMILK: "Better Baking" Buttermilk
Buttermilk Wheat Bread (Bosch: 2 recipe sizes)
Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
Cream Of Whatever aka: COW SOUP MIX
Italian Seasoning Mix (Homemade)
Ranch Seasoning Mix (Homemade)
Razzleberry Pie, Made w/ Instant ClearJel©
Strawberry Jam made w/ Instant ClearJel®



Using Instant ClearJel®
(Depends on the recipe, particularly different kinds of pies, but here are some basic guidelines)

Substitutions:
3 Tbsp Instant ClearJel = 3 Tbsp cornstarch
or 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or 1/4 cup tapioca flour

ICJ has several advantages over other common thickeners (i.e. cornstarch, flour or potato starch and much less expensive than arrowroot). It has a more neutral flavor, so it's a good thickener for delicately flavored liquids. It truly adds little to NO starchy flavor. Instead, you only taste just the main ingredient of your recipe.

It also thickens without cooking and tolerates acidic ingredients. While sauces thickened with the other thickeners turn into a spongy mess if they're frozen, whereas sauces made with Instant ClearJel can be frozen and then thawed.

Freezer Jam: Combine 3-Tbsp Instant ClearJel with 2-cups sugar, before adding to 5 cups crushed fruit and add 1 Tbsp corn syrup and then 1 Tbsp lemon juice. (For a great jam, that's lower in sugar; less sugar, reduces calories!)

Bread(s): Add 2 tsp Instant ClearJel (per 3 cups flour) for bread. Adding ICJ retains the natural moisture in baked goods, extending the shelf-life of the end product. Here's a GREAT hint, when adding Instant ClearJel, you can actually REDUCE up to half the fat in most bread recipes, and still have a very tender loaf. (Reducing the fat content also reduces calories!)

Soft, Chewy Cookies: Substitute (all or part) of the shortening with real butter. Use 1 tsp ICJ (per 1-cup flour) for cookies that can rival bakery-shop cookies. Homemade cookies many with butter usually spread out flat, but when ICJ is added to flour, dropped cookies maintain a nice shape and cut-out cookies roll out beautifully (pre-chilling is NOT necessary)!

More Info: ICJ offers an excellent, long-term, chilled stability and texture. Good long-term stability when boiled, but I don't use it for gravies and tomato sauces. Plus you can't PROCESS cooked JAM with it. For that you need either Ultra Sperse, aka: Ultra Gel or ClearJel Cook-type (see below post). I do use ICJ for make cream soups, or lots of recipes calling for canned cream soup.

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Commercial Product: Instant ClearJel manufactured by Ingredion in 25-lb bags to distributors ONLY and the manufacturer does not sell it to the public. Since it's a commercial ingredient, grocery stores most don't stock it either. Believe me, their bakeries are using it in their pies and baked-goods though; that's why they don't want you knowing about it.

Buying Instant ClearJel®

Getting ICJ online is the easiest. You might find it locally in "specialty" kitchen shops and restaurant food supply stores, but it won't be stocked in grocery stores. Check the yellow pages for such stores.

You could try calling your local state university extension service, and see if they are familiar with it, i.e.: Oregon State University Extension Services, Washington State University Skaget County Extension Services and Utah State University Extension Services.

Instant ClearJel® Nutrition

Any "refined food" definitely lacks adequate nutritional value, think of Instant ClearJel as having the same nutritional value as basic cornstarch. However, adding Instant ClearJel is healthier though the REDUCTION of [extra sugar and/or fat] - otherwise required for thickening - and/or absorption - within your recipes - through traditional thickening methods. So do consider those nutritional benefits, by using Instant ClearJel [instead] as your thickening agent!


Note: The manufacturer says the sealed {25-lb original bags} of Instant ClearJel are indeed Gluten Free. I need to get back with them to verify whether the facility has been certified or not now.
Cross-contamination [may] often occur during re-packaging from wholesalers and retail outlets.


If you really need a (Gluten Free Instant ClearJel source), let me know, I can still maybe help. For everyone else, the Amazon links are great sources.


Storage: The manufacturer recommends storing Instant ClearJel for up to 2 years, yet when kept dry, it will store virtually indefinitely.

Ultra Gel, Gluten Free


                    
Ultra Gel 1 lb w/ Ultra Gel COOKBOOK!  INSTANT ClearJel    REG Cook-Type ClearJel

The bags have been labeled Gluten Free. Whether their facility is certified, I've not checked this out, to date, yet either.

I quite like recommend this hot/cold instant thickener, because it disperses more easily within many recipes than Instant ClearJel. Yet understand, it's only half as POTENT as Instant Clear... and you need TWICE of it as "ICJ" to thicken recipe. At least, this has always been my experience.

With Ultra Gel, you can simply whisk it in, without first add a dry ingredient or sprinkling it in and using a fork.

BIG HOWEVER, you don't want to just dump Ultra Gel in either! Often, for best results, sprinkle and stir until it thickens; wait 5 minutes until it reaches its full potency, and then decide if it needs any more or not. You'll be glad you did.

It also thickens with or without cooking too, but it's more expensive, so I buy about 1/3 less than how much I go though of Instant ClearJel.
I keep on hand: 1-2 lb Ultra Gel on hand, 3-5 lbs Instant ClearJel®

*IMPORTANT: Never use ICJ for canning - it swells on contact and then gets too thick (for the heat to penetrate) to the center of the jar, which could eventually lead to botulism. This is why Instant ClearJel is NOT safe for canning, and not any theories circulating around online that it breaks down DURING boiling; rather it's quite the opposite! Instead use Ultra Gel or ClearJel Cook-type for processing foods.

For first time buyers of Ultra Gel, be sure to Ultra Gel Starter Kit, it includes their cookbook, which is an excellent reference guide for using modified food starch thickeners in recipes. You actually CAN substitute Instant ClearJel for Ultra Gel and visa versa. Although the authors caution you NOT to, but I always have (hahaha) and successfully*, but it CAN be tricky! 

As A Rule Of Thumb:

Simply remember to use 50% less ICJ, because Instant Clear Jel is TWICE as potent. Plus ALWAYS remember to mix ICJ with any DRY INGREDIENTS FIRST for easier disbursement, so it does NOT clump. Then add the mixture to the wet ingredients.

Whereas, if you forget and simply stir ICJ in (like you can Ultra  

Gel) whoa... ICJ clumps just awful!



          
Ultra Gel 1 lb w/ Ultra Gel COOKBOOK!
 Regular ClearJel Cook-Type (1.5 Lbs)

Storage: The manufacturer recommends storing Ultra Gel for up to 2 years, yet when kept dry, it will store virtually indefinitely.

Note: Again Instant ClearJel is NOT recommended for canning, whereas ClearJel Cook-Type is considered safe for canning.


ClearJel Cook-Type (1.5 Lbs)

This ClearJel Cooked-Type powder is best known and was specifically developed for thickening "canned" jams and COOKED processed fruit pie fillings. 


Apricot & Pineapple Jam (Processed, canned)

It's also a great "year-round-thickener" for making jams and pie fillings (from previously frozen fruit).

Albeit... jams & pie filling products should not be frozen thereafter - whereas ICJ jams and pie fillings are great for freezing.

Storage: The manufacturer recommends storing ClearJel Cooked-Type lasts up to 2 years, yet when kept dry, it will store virtually indefinitely.


There You GO: Now go have some fun!

27 comments:

  1. Miss Sharon Anne
    have you ever seen any numbers on the clear jel's,,
    I really would like the carb counts.. I use both of them but really need to know.. help me if you can on that ok...
    huggs dear lady
    sheila in GA

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a very good question, and I do know the answer. The nutrutive values are the same as cornstarch, which are:

    Per Serving (1-tsp):
    10 Calories
    Trace Fat (0.1% calories from fat)
    Trace Protein
    2g Carbohydrate
    Trace Dietary Fiber
    0mg Cholesterol
    Trace Sodium
    Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch).

    Thanks for asking!

    Sharon Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just in case someone is wondering... why not just use CORNSTARCH... for less money then? I still use cornstarch for cream pies, but Instant ClearJel hands down is the WINNER for my fruit pies!

      With cornstarch - the fruit within pies often spreads when cut and served.

      With INSTANT CLEARJEL - my fruit pies serve up beautifully, and there are NO starchy flavors!

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    2. Strawberries are plentiful in the grocery stores these days, so you will love this recipe.

      It's one of our favorite pies. Truly Beautiful!

      http://sharealikecooking.blogspot.com/2011/07/beautiful-old-glory-patriotic-pie.html

      Enjoy. -- Sharon Anne

      Delete
  3. Thank you so much..... this is a huge help..
    have a blessed day

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just canned my first peach pie filling but I am not sure if it will be okay. I use "instant clearjel". I would hate to loose all those beautiful peaches and all that hard work. Please comment. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Instant ClearJel is NOT RECOMMENDED for canning. Whereas Regular ClearJel IS! The heat can't penetrate to the center of the jar when using ICJ. Yet all is not be lost, you can freeze the jars as is, and your FILLING will thaw beautifully. However better yet, what I use to do, (before I found out I was Gluten-Intolerant) I pre-rolled all my pie pastries and filled my pies with filling and FROZEN them, wrapped in plastic Zip-loc bags. Then I baked the pies at 375°F for an extra 30 to 45 minutes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. May I ask this: Is clear jell in essence a combination of cornstarch and unflavored gelatin?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nope, there's no unflavored gelatin in Instant ClearJel, it's a "modified" food starch, but looks exactly like cornstarch, yet it's formulated to thicken when liquid is added to it, I mean literally "instantly". No kidding, that is why it clumps, when added incorrectly to recipes.

    The manufacture refers to it as a (cold-swelling) product, which means it will thicken without cooking, if desired. However, Instant ClearJel thickens thickens very well in recipes on the stove top and also bakes exceptionally well within recipes in the oven too.

    To avoid clumps, always distribute first in with some other dry ingredient already called for in the recipe: i.e.: sugar, flour or powdered milk.

    Hope that helps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me update me reply, yes it thickens instantly, however it will reaches it greatest thickening potential within 5 minutes; so patience is a virtue. :-)

      Delete
  8. You said ultra gel was certified gluten free yet I see no certification label on any images of the bag. How do you know they've been tested? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you so MUCH for pointing this out, it's important to me too. I was simply taking it on face value. My mistake was to believe Cornaby's was going off any (possible) GF certification from the manufacture's original bulk packaging.

    I have emailed Cornaby's inquiring about new images and/or GF certification. Until I hear back I have erased it. Thank you again very much.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sharon--do you know whether these products (ClearJel, UltrJel) are non-GMO? Who is the manufacturer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've just checked with the manufacture and yes the Instant ClearJel, Ultra Gel (aka: Ultra Sperse) and Regular ClearJel are all non-GMO. Plus, they are Gluten Free straight from the manufacture; Ingredion is who manufactures them all. Companies then in turn buy 50 lb bags and re-distribute them in smaller packages, if there's cross-contamination within those facilities, the product is longer be called gluten free.

      Delete
  11. Hi Sharon, some of my older recipes for vegetarian cheese call for Emes gelatin powder as a thickener. Can I use instant clear gel instead of Emes? If so ,would it be the same measurements? Thanks !

    ReplyDelete
  12. Actually no, it was a good question however, but all the clearjel types will only yield a "soft-set" end-product, even if you use a generous amount. To replace something such as Rennet, you'd be better off going with a recipe using agar. The Japanese have used it in place of gelatin for who knows how long and I have a package of it in my pantry, but I honestly haven't tried it myself yet, let alone - making my own vegan cheese. If you figure it out, let follow up with me for fun. Here's a link I found as a reference, maybe to convert your old recipes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFcp41bcfxU

    ReplyDelete
  13. Each summer I can blackberry syrup for use on pancakes and desserts. It's a mixture of whole and strained blackberries and sugar. The syrup is quite thin and I would like to thicken it just a little, so that it has a bit more body. Do you think I can use ICJ for that? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well.. Yes and No. Instant ClearJel is not the recommend thickener to use for processing your canned syrup; you want to use regular cook type ClearJel A for that. I've only made jam with it, not syrup, though. If I were to attempt it, I would think about 3-3 1/2 TABLESPOONS per pint.

      To thicken it with Instant ClearJel: before serving, you can pour a jar of syrup into a blender, and through the lid, add TEASPOONS (at a time) of Instant ClearJel to thicken it. Don't add too much, let it sit 5 minutes to set up. Hey, if you have a stick blender, just blend the ICJ right in a wide-mouth Mason jar, and allow it to sit and thicken. Also, if you reheat the syrup, it thickens up even more. Refrigerate leftovers.

      Note: Instant ClearJel is a more potent thickener than regular ClearJel A, thus you need to add less ICJ.

      Hope this helps? Please don't hesitate to ask any more questions.

      Regards,

      Sharon Anne

      Delete
  14. Can I use regular Clear Jel instead of xanthan gum when making wheat-free breads?

    ReplyDelete
  15. May I substitute regular Clear Jel for xanthan gum when making wheat-free breads?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry, I've not tried switching out any of the clear jels for xanthan gum.

      Delete
  16. What a wonderfully informative site! Thank you! Am wondering if C.J. or I.C.J. may be used to enhance quick breads as well as yeast breads. If so, how much would I use per cup of flour? Would appreciate your insights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great question Judy! I haven't tried either regular clearjel or Instant Clearjel in a quick bread recipe. If you want to, start with try maybe 1/2 tsp ICJ (per cup) of flour first, to see if it improves the crumb quality or helps retains moistness (reduces staling).

      Honestly, my talents were making great yeast breads using ICJ with buttermilk, I didn't used ICJ in my quick breads. They were eaten so quickly at our house. I

      On the other hand, I have unsuccessfully tried ICJ in my homemade cakes before. So, I never cared for those results, because the ICJ produced more of a bread-like texture than a cake texture in the cakes. So, you may want to keep that in mind for your quick bread recipe(s). Many are meant to be more cake-like than bread-like.

      That's why I suggest testing with only 1/2 tsp (per cup), whereas I remember I tried adding 1 tsp (per cup) in my cakes. Let me know how it works out. I'm very interested.

      Note: King Arthur Flour has a cake enhancer, specialized to improve the crumb to keep it nice and fresh for days longer. Since I went Gluten-Free, I've not tried it yet. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/cake-enhancer-10-oz.

      It might even be the BETTER CHOICE to go for your quick breads recipe. Again let me know.

      Delete
    2. Judy, after that long reply, I took a peek at my own banana recipe... It does include ICJ after all. Not much in the batter, but it's also in the pecan topping too! I add only in 1/4 cup of my homemade buttermilk, which has just 1/4 tsp ICJ in it, so it's not too much to the batter. You could substitute sour cream or yogurt and add the 1/4 tsp ICJ too! If you've subscribed to my blog, I post the recipe soon for ya!

      Delete
  17. I thank you for your response. I plan to make a cranberry/nut quick bread tomorrow. I will take your suggestion and use 1/2 tsp. per cup of flour. However, since you felt that ICJ produced a more bread-like texture in your cakes, I'll replace some of the A.P. flour with cake flour to reduce the gluten. May also fiddle with the amount of B.P. The effort tomorrow will be purely experimental. If the result is not what i'd like, I'll simply break it up and it will become cranberry/nut bread pudding. All will not be lost. In any case, I will let you know how it goes! I do use a bread dough enhancer (homemade) for my yeast breads and it works beautifully. I have not found a recipe for a cake enhancer, but feel certain that K.A's cake enhancer would work well too. I just prefer homemade if it is possible. Anyway! I'll be back tomorrow! Again....Love your site! Judy

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for your added thoughts. I did experiment yesterday. I used ICJ in my old lemon bread recipe - 1/2 tsp. per cup of flour. Also, replaced some of the A.P. flour with cake flour to reduce the gluten, since you had stated that using ICJ in your cakes produced a bread-like texture. Not too sure why, but I increased the B.P. by 1/2 tsp. - it just felt right. The result was very nice. Good rise, a fine & tender crumb. I am especially interested in the keeping qualities using ICJ, since there are just the two of us. Btw, we love banana bread & I am always looking for variations, so will subscribe right now.
    Thank you for your insights. I have just started using ICJ and really appreciate all the information in your blog. .....just wondering ..what is the purpose of using ICJ when you make buttermilk?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loved hearing the 1/2 tsp worked well for your lemon bread and the cake flour produced a tender crumb. That's terrific! I'd love for you to share your recipes (privately, if you wish).

      Fresh buttermilk has some form of modified food starch in it similar to Instant ClearJel. Take a look the next time you read the ingredients on the back of a label.

      Q. What is the purpose of using ICJ when you make buttermilk?

      A. I combine Instant Clearjel and dry milk to thicken my homemade "Better Baking" Buttermilk.

      You can add either 4-5 tsp ICJ to thicken it and it will still pour like regular buttermilk. Or, you can up to 2 Tbsp ICJ, so it thickens into a concentrated pudding-like consistency. This way 1-qt concentrate (compares) to 5 cups thinned, but take less space, and still bakes 5 loaves.

      Measure 3/4 cup BBB concentrate + 1/4 water = 1 cup fresh buttermilk in a recipe.

      Anyone interested in the recipe, type the recipe name in the search feature on my blog. It's also listed at the top of this page and under the menu title ALL RECIPES .

      ICJ also helps to condition the crumb texture of the dough and extend the shelf-life, as we've discussed (particularly yeast bread). It does a fabulous job with BBB and my enhanced yeast mix recipe, but there's a lot more ICJ added into recipes using those items.

      Q. My turn: With just 1/2 tsp (per cup) cake flour, did ICJ affect the freshness of YOUR quick bread days later? I'm interested to know if there's improvement (or not) with the small amount for others.

      Warmly,
      Sharon Anne

      Delete

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