Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pear Jam using Instant Clearjel

Processed a few of the pears from those that Paul had picked up off the ground.  They were sitting on the picnic table for three (or was it four??) days and half of them were already starting to rot.  The goats and chickens were appreciative of my procrastination.

What I did get peeled & cut up really wasn't enough to do a canner full of seven quart jars, so I figured I'd experiment a bit and make some pear jam.

Pear jam always sounded weird to me.  Or pear sauce (because you know, apple sauce doesn't sound weird....go figure).  But I also had another item I wanted to experiment with; Instant Clearjel.

Instant Clearjel is a modified starch thickener. I bought some a while back when I was trying to thicken up my runny goat milk yogurt and then just recently realized that I could use it to make jams & jellies.

I got two and a half pounds of pear chunks.  I measured out 3 3/4 cups of sugar and mixed in 4 tablespoons of the Instant Clearjel and a heaping teaspoonful of cinnamon.  Put the pears in my jelly-making pot (i.e. old, thick bottomed pot) then poured the sugar / Instant Clearjel mixture on top & turned on the heat. When the pears started to heat up, I took the potato masher to it and smooshed it up a bit & stirred the sugar around.  It didn't take long for it to jam up.  You don't have to boil jam when you use Instant Clearjel so as soon as everything is mixed up evenly, you can turn off the heat.

I put the hot jam into jars clean/sterilized jars and processed them in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.  I just now heard the first "ping" of my jars!  Oooo!  There goes the other one!!


I'm not exactly sure how the processed jam turned out if the extra heat degraded the jelling of the Instant Clearjel or not.  When I open one up I'll let you all know.  The leftovers that didn't fit into the jars was slathered on a piece of toast and immediately consumed by Rhiannon and I and the rest was crammed into Hillbilly Tupperware (i.e., used yogurt cup with lid) for later, or not-so-later use.

So why would one want to use Instant Clearjel instead of Pectin?  Honestly, I'm not sure.  For one, the Instant Clearjel is a bit more expensive per pound ($4.49 per lb. vs. $3.99 per lb. for pectin) and I used about as much of the Instant Clearjel as I would have used pectin so there's no cost savings there.

And according to the website where I buy some of my bulk foods (, Instant Clearjel has a shelf life of six months whereas pectin has a year long shelf life.  So not so good on the storage aspect either.

The Instant Clearjel also cannot just be "dumped" into a recipe; it has to be mixed in with other dry ingredients so it doesn't clump up as soon as it hits the liquid portion of your recipe.

But you can use Instant Clearjel for other things like gravies and cold items whereas a cornstarch or tapioca needs to be heated to thicken up.  Can't so much do that with your box of pectin, so Instant Clearjel gets a gold star for being a multi-purpose product.

And if you're a really impatient kind'a person, the jam or jelly cooking time is decreased as you don't have to get it to a boiling point before it starts to jel up.  And if you're not going to can your jams/jellies, you can just spread that gooey goodness right on your toast and shove the rest in the fridge.  Or in your maw.


  1. I have had pear butter which is made similarly to apple butter, now that is good on toast for sure!

  2. Sounds like the versatility of the Clearjel is worth the extra price and shorter storage. And that pear jam looks WONDERFUL!!!

  3. Those pears look yummy. I'd never heard of this Clearjel until just now. Interesting.
    Oh I made some pear honey last year that was to die for. The neighbors pear tree didn't put out any fruit this year (stupid weather) so it looks like I'll have to wait till next year to put some more up. We've got a sort of take all you want thing going on with them. They don't eat pears at all.

  4. Thanks for the Clearjel lesson! I'm not familiar with it at all so now have kind of an overview . . . and know who to call at 2 a.m. some morning when I have a question in the middle of a canning session with same. (I can call you then, can't I? Helloooo? Anybody there? Carolyn???)

  5. Or for those adventurous times maybe some people have a reaction to pectin on their skin and clearjel would be less aggravating :)

    We are just brainstorming here right?

  6. Have you every made pear honey? Very simple:

    I got the recipe from my sweet 80-year old neighbor way back when we first moved out to the country:

    l can crushed pineapple
    3-4 lbs sugar
    3-4 lbs pears chopped fine

    Cook down to thicknesss you like and seal in hot, sterilized jars. (Note: I know it is supposed to be a no no but I don't process jams and jellies or this honey!)

  7. Ooohhh, what lovely pear jam you made my dear! I have never used Clearjel either, thanks for the info and review. The last time we got pears off our little tree (3 years ago), I did make pear butter and it was very, very good. :)

  8. I make my pear jam in my jam maker (I know, I am taking the easy route).

  9. I made a vanilla pear sauce a couple years ago. It was very tasty... thanks for the reminder..wil have to get some pears when I get home and get canning!