About Instant Clearjel®Edit
INSTANT CLEARJEL is a modified corn starch, manufactured (precooked) used to thicken recipes.
For clumpless-smooth results, it is best when first combined with dry ingredients, before adding liquid. It will begin to swell or thicken as soon as it is added to water, milk or juices; it will impart a smooth, short texture when fully hy-drated, reaching its full thickness within 5–10 minutes (without requiring any cooking). Instant clearjel can be used in cooking as well. The viscosity will increase slightly upon heating. It has excellent heat and acid resistance and can be used in acid containing foods and in those applications where heating is required. It has good cold temperature storage stability, making it particularly well suited for refrigerated and frozen foods.
Production of Instant Clearjel® Edit
Instant Clearjel is a product manufactured by a company originally known by the name of National Starch Company, now known as Ingredion for commercial use ONLY. See http://www.foodinnovation.com. This product line and others is not normally sold directly the public. Instead it is sold by the manufacture to distributors and wholesalers. However, often the savvy public is able to find it ONLINE, and even locally in kitchen specialty shops.
Buying Instant Clearjel® Edit
Instant Clearjel is often available (to the public) for purchase from Restaurant Food Supply shops. Check the yellow pages for such stores or try calling your local state extension service for help locating a shop near you. It is also readily available online, with shipping charges added.
Instant Clearjel® Variations Edit
INSTANT ClearJel: ICJ, the "grand-daddy" modified food starch has been on the market since about the 1940s.
Note "instant" refers to how fast it thickens, NOT how easily it disperses.
Always combine with dry ingredients for clumpless-smooth results.
REGULAR ClearJel: (sometimes) sold as ClearJel A, is variety of starch that always require cooking to thicken, and recommended for canning pie filling. Combine first, with dry ingredients, for clumpless-smooth results.
ULTRA-Sperse: is the generic term quicker dispersing variety of modified food starch, which is sold under the following brand names... UltraGel, UltraSet or MaxiGel (IMHO) they're all the SAME. Each thicken with or without cooking, and take about 5 minutes to reach their full thickening power, so give them that much time!
Each have about 50% the thickening power of Instant ClearJel, thus you'd need twice as much for similar results as ICJ in recipe, plus they're more expensive than ICJ.
The convenience of ULTRA-Sperse, it can be simply sprinkled into the dish, and then whisked in to thicken with the other ingredients with a fork (for little to no clumping). Remember though... convenience always has it's price; still I ALWAYS have Ultra-Sperse (UltraSet - in my area) on hand - to give a to give a little professional thickening boost to my spaghetti sauce or minestrone soup, as necessary.
Cooking Instant Clearjel® Edit
Instant ClearJel (ICJ) is a wonderful thickener modified food starch, particularly best known for thickening commercially baked pies.
ICJ provides great to excellent, economical, clear and thick results in many types of recipes, prepared cold or heated. It's called "Instant" because is swells and gels instantly, when it comes in contact with any liquid. When added improperly, it will gel in clumps, so it is very BEST when added with other dry ingredients (i.e. sugar or powdered milk) before stirring in any liquids. It can also be blended in nicely with an immersion blender or food processor, when not using dry ingredients, as in a fruit sauce.
How to use Instant ClearJel: One-Tbsp Instant ClearJel thickens one-cup of liquid. Simply add ICJ to the dry ingredients (such as powdered milk, sugar or flour, even spices) or blend as specified above, with an immersion blender (or food processor) for purees.
Substitutions in recipes: 3 tablespoons Instant ClearJel = 3 tablespoons cornstarch OR 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour OR 1/4 cup tapioca flour
ICJ offers an excellent, long-term, chilled stability and texture. Good long-term stability when boiled, but can break down (if heated to boiling for a long time and then stored, such as in processed jams). Not preferred for gravies and tomato sauces. Adds little to no flavor, you taste just the main ingredient.
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 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.
Storing Instant Clearjel® Edit
The manufacture recommends storing Instant Clearjel for up to 2 years, yet when kept dry, it will store virtually indefinitely.
Instant Clearjel® Nutrition Edit
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 heathier 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!
Instant Clearjel® Recipes Edit
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!)
Breads: Add 2 tsp Instant Clearjel (per 3 cups flour) for breads. 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 Recipes & Instant ClearJel Tips by Sharon Anne, go to http://sharealikecooking.blogspot.com