psittacine

Pomona's, ClearJel, Instant Clear Jel

psittacine
11 years ago

I'm about out of Pomona's and was thinking I need to order more before my neck gave out again ...and I may not be able to assume the 'computer position' again for a while. So I decided to insure Pomona's company was the best place for me to order from again, but as usual got side-tracked and ended up here, as I've done so many times before.

Naturally I've seen the posts on Pomona's and ClearJel in the past. But this memory is not sharp, so please forgive if I'm asking questions that have been answered before.

Has anyone used all three: Pomona's, ClearJel, Instant Clear Jel ...and have any thoughts they would like to share on usability? Do all three have the same jelling capabilities? Storing capabilities? Consistency and texture in jams and pies? Price comparable? Preferences and why?

I remember that some notice a 'grit' with Pomona's calcium, but I haven't. The only 'pain' I have with using Pomona's is MY MATH in figuring the correct amount of calcium/pectin to not produce weird sponge-glue, when using Splenda. I'm still trying to perfect the texture problem in my version of carmel apple pie jam (yes, I do understand that the texture will never be the same as it is with using sugar, but want to get to perfect spread-ability without the gum or running). I am getting a bit frustrated writing it all down so "when I get it perfect I can do it again next batch".. which hasn't happened yet. Today I'll try a batch mixing up 3/4 the amount of pectin I used the last time and see how well that works. I'll only add 3/4 the amount of Splenda I have tried in the past. If I need more pectin, it'll be easy to add with the remaining Splenda I'll put in anyway.

Just wonder if I would have better luck using the Instant/Clear Jel, if cost is not outlandish.

Thanks.

Crystal

Comments (9)

  • ksrogers

    I have used all three. The instant Clear Jel is great to thicken puddings a bit more, or to make no bake cheese cakes, thats about it. The cooking type Clear Jel is used in place of corn starch (in all home canning) and is used as a thickener for things like pie fillings, mustard, and any home canned items that need to be a light or thick syrup without using tons of sugar. You can also use it as the first flour dredge to make a breading for fried chicken. Its resistant to high acids and will not break down. Its a modified food starch and has been around at least 30 years. For jelly, Pomona is a no sugar needed pectin and is used to make james, jellies and marmalades so they are firm, but spreadable. The Pomona will not create a crystal clear jelly, so be advised it will be a little cloudy in most jellies and jams. The use of Clear Jel for jelly making will give a somewhat gummy texture, so its not advised for making jellies, unless your looking for gummy bears, or some kind of fruit slice candy thats rolled in sugar. Use less of Clear Jel in recipes that use corn starch as a thickener. Right now, I have beef meat pies to make and freeze, and already have the gravy and mushrooms to add to the leftover tenderloin roast.
    There is no 'grit' with Pomona, but some people are very sensitive to even slightest amounts of calcium. The amount used is very tiny in any case. I have bought Lactaid skim milk and bought a jug that seemed a bit thick and almost syrupy. It turned out to have added calcium, which in that case, was VERY noticable, but only in texture/mouth feel. Still no grit however. The instructions for Pomona are fairly easy to understand and they do give you amounts for smaller batches. In another thread, I told people that its best to premix and dissolve the granules of the Pomona in water or juice using a blender, then pour the mixture into the boiling liquid thats been sweetended already, then add the calcium water at the last moment, and will start to notice the jelly coating the spoon within a minute. This is when jars get filled. I use the whole packet of calcium (they give you extra anyway) when I use a full box of Pomona. I also add a little honey to the Splenda, to give the jelly a slight 'sticky' texture, which comes from no sugar added. Splenda is ONLY a sweetener and has no effect on the pectin as to whether it would set firm, loose or not at all. Sweeten the jelly mixture prior to adding the Pomona. I also tend to not use up a whole jar of jelly, so I add extra acid blend (Malic, Tarteric, and Citric), so the juice gets more tart flavor and MUCH more 'character". The added acid helps to prevent spoilage once the jelly is opened. Mine last longer than 6 months, and never show signs of mold. Acid blend is found at wine making supply stores. Its natural fruit acids and goes very well wioth almost any jelly, and even cold fruit juice based drinks. I like adding it to a Crystal Light mix if the flavor is too sweet or bland. I have even used Crystal Light raspberry drink when I made seedless red raspberry jam. It was fantastic! Sometimes, I can get Pomona for about $2.75 a box, when its on sale through a bulk foods web site. Also, Clear Jel can be bought from Barry Farms, as opposed to Kitchen Krafts, which sell it at a slightly higher price. A whole box of Pomona pectin can make up to 30 cups of jelly. The cost for the Pomona pectin, compared to a low/no sugar type like SureJel is quite cheap. You pay about the same price per box of no/low that only does 5-6 cups per box.

  • dogear6

    Ken - thanks for that great explanation! That helps a lot.

  • psittacine

    Once again Ken, thank you for sharing the information you have gained on using these products. It is much appreciated. Guess I wont need to hunt down any Clear Jel after all, unless I decide to can peach pie filling, etc. in the future.

    I donÂt care for the thickness of the PomonaÂs product when used as instructed, on the recipes IÂve tried so far using only Splenda as the sweetener. I too am a diabetic but I "carb-count" and made jams in the past using a bit of sugar along with the Splenda, which made a Âhybrid texture that I thought was rather good. But I decided to try for an even lower A1c number and cut down more carbs this year. Thus my experiments with the PomonaÂs using only Splenda.

    I have read some of the posts that state you (and others) add PomonaÂs pectin to water/juice and add it to the fruit before adding the calcium water. I believe this is the way that my ÂSTOCKING UP IIÂ book instructs, so it surely works as well as PomonaÂs method.

    Tonight I experimented and made peach jam (from frozen peaches) for my sister-in-law. I used Splenda and only 2/3 of the recommended amount of pectin. If it didnÂt thicken more during the processing, itÂll be pretty good.

    The PomonaÂs I bought directly from the company was a ½ lb, bulk amount. I have to drag all the canning equipment up from the basement so make as big batches at a time, as I can manage. ItÂs just too tiring to do those stairs more than necessary. I do like that Pomona is good for larger batches. IÂll just have to keep working on the best texture that it can produce for me.

    IÂll probably eventually buy some of the acid blend you mention often as I prefer a tarter jam. One year (pre-diabetic times) I made some currant jam but was a bit short on the measurements of fruit. So I used a can of pink lemonade concentrate that I had in the freezer to add to the currants. It was the best jam I ever had. IÂm reminded of it every time I see you mention your addition of the Crystal Light raspberry drink mix to your raspberry jam. I might have to see if Crystal Light makes a pink lemonade flavor in a few weeks, when I drag the currants out of the freezer to make more jam!

    Crystal

  • ksrogers

    Yes, CRystal Light has pink lemonade. I have also use some Crystal Light drink mixes for making Jello. I use a single cup (packaged that way) of CL and make only a quart of Jello, as opposed to a half gallon. I also add canned fruit cocktail or other fruits. Where else can you find strawberry orange banana Jello or a fruit punch Jello! CL lemonade is sold in boxes at BJ's and Costco. If the bulk Pomona didn't come with instructions, it might be a good idea to check their web site for the proper amounts to use for making batches. I don't make a lot of jams/jellies, but when I do, its usually a big single batch. The gel set usually happens as soon as the calcium water is added. At that time, I usually notice soft globs hanging off the big spoon, when its ready to fill jars. Usually I like filling 1 pint jars as I like the amount to be more than a tiny 8 ounces. If you don't have an accurate scale, it may be a good idea to get one. They are cheap and can weigh grams or ounces. Much more accurate compared to measuring cups and spoons.

  • kiddo_1

    Ken,

    That's an interesting point you made about adding honey to Pomona jellies. The couple batches I've made with Pomona don't have the same consistency as 'high-sugar' jellies in that they aren't 'gooey' or 'sticky' and tend to slide right off the spoon. (Makes for a messy PBJ! ;-) )
    Kris

  • psittacine

    "they aren't 'gooey' or 'sticky' and tend to slide right off the spoon". Thanks for commenting on it Kris! The texture reminds me of cold gravy/sauce sitting in a lump. The taste is always excellent, though.

    I had to re-read your first post Ken.. I missed the addition of honey to add some stickiness to jams. I'll definitely try that with the next batch. Maybe that will make the difference I've been looking for.

    I do have a good gram scale. I use my digital mostly, but also have a triple beam scale, as in my former life I raised parrots. Some of the chicks hatched out weighing a mere 3 grams. A slight drop in weight was a sign that something was not quite right, so a good scale was an absolute necessity. Now, I use the scale for measuring water, sourdough starter, flour etc., (the weight difference between types of flours can be amazing). I have a chart that I keep on my fridge which lists the weight of water, flour and several other items. I'd be a bit lost without the use of it and the scale, when working with some recipes.

    I did get the instructions for use from Pomona's along with the products, and follow recipes closely. Pomona's site does have the instructions/recipes on line to read or print. Iâve even compared instructions the I have with the online pages because their site says "newly revised directions and recipes", but they are the same as what I have. Maybe it would have helped me if they stated what they consider the correct gram weight of pectin to use to equal two teaspoons. It would be a cinch to figure from there and I just might have got it right the first time. .... maybe not, too.

    Crystal

  • ksrogers

    Yes, its more like a Jello texture, so the jellies tend to slide off of things. I also use the Splenda in tiny packets as its not fluffed up like the cup for cup product is. It does take a while to open and pour out the tiny packets, and there is no easy way to measure it. I always go by taste prior to adding pectin. Adding the cup for cup Splenda tends to create a LOT of bubbles and foam in the jelly/jam. Not good if your wanting no foam in the jars. You could also use some sorbitol sugar or maltinol. These have larger molicules and are not as easy to absorb. I even tried using granulated fructose, but it scorches very easily.

  • kiddo_1

    Ken, how much honey would you suggest for, say, a 4C batch of jam/jelly to boost the consistency toward 'sticky' ? Is the flavor of the honey very noticeable in the finished product? Do you recommend a particular flavor ( or neutral) honey?
    Thanks, Kris

  • ksrogers

    Doesn't matter what kind of honey, unless your wanting to make orange maramalade and there you would use orange blossom honey. I buy a big heavy jar from BJ's and its quite cheap. I would use maybe two tablespoons for that batch size. Keep in mind it is a sugar and can affect your blood, as can fruit sugars. Honey is more complex, however and takes longer to be absorbed. I didn't find any difference in taste. I have tried several honey types from different bee colonies that are nurtured around big groves of fruit trees or bushes. The honey's in most cases have mild flavor, and many are blends that are done to help enhance the smell. I had a friend who would ask me to buy him a big jar of honey from BJ's and he used it to sweeten his coffee.

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