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A Webpage about cook-type Clearjel, the one used in the USDA recipe for canned pie fillings.

--and that's the truth!

I wish to make cherry pie fillings to can, and have purchased the cook-type Clearjel (aka: ClearJel, Clear Jel, CLEARJEL).  Clearjel in the NCHFP pie filling recipes  makes an extremely thick pie filling; some would call it gloppy, over thickened. It is all right for me, but it is a definite change in texture from what I usually get making fresh pies. I think a thickened but not quite so stand-up pie filling would be nice.

So to accomplish the thinner pie filling "thang," the hunt was on.  After several searches varying words and phrases, the page "Clearjel Starch Thickener" was found on Healthy Canning.

What a great page. It is written by a Randal Oulton, from Canada. Mr. Oulton relies on approved information and recipes from the NCHFP, various USA State Universities for recipes/instructions. "Clearjel Starch Thickener" has nice depth; he cites sources extensively. It appears that he periodically reviews and makes revisions to his article as there were several dates in 2017 for accessing articles and the last date I found was November of 2017. I cannot speak for the rest of his site, but a nice job was done on this page and it answered my questions.

Very interesting. This is a great continuing education article for us all. And one last thing: always rely on and teach from approved sources, of course!

--And I hope to encourage you to make pie filling, can pie filling, make pies and eat PIES!

My first sour Cherry pie: raw and cooked! In my opinion the filling could have been better, but even so, we made great sacrifices and choked it down. :-)




Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 at 6:00 AM
Tags: canning (10), cherry (2), Clearjel (1), filling (1), pie (3), pie filling (3)

Some Tips on Winter Pollinators

pine white butterfly on milkweed by Cathleen Carter

Winter months are an important time in the garden. The shorter days bring a regeneration period for plants and the pollinators that will also emerge in spring. As we tend winter gardens or wait for the spring thaw, there are things we can do now to...

Posted on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 3:54 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment Yard & Garden

Roses and Eating Them

Do you love roses? I do. Old style roses that look like cabbages, 5-petal wild-style roses, exhibition tea roses, a-bunch-on-a-stem floribundas, I like them all. They make my yard beautiful, grow easily, and roses look great in the house.

But, other than looking at them and growing them, I don't do much with them. Take a look for an interesting article along with some really great ideas about roses in cooking at Saveur Magazine, “Why—And How—You Should Incorporate Roses In Your Diet” :

How about some Rose Butter? Or maybe some fragrant rose honey—what a treat that would be in some hot tea on a cold winter's morning!


---And use your most fragrant petals to try some Rose Vinegar:


Posted on Friday, January 18, 2019 at 10:34 AM
Tags: eat (1), master food preservers (5), preserve (5), roses (1)

Hands on Bread Class November 15: Rise your bread with BACTERIA, not yeast: Salt Rising Bread


Will you attend the Hands On Bread class tomorrow??  I hope you will be able to be there.  Everyone, even if you will not be able to enjoy the class in person, please take a look at the links below about a different sort of bread . . . bread can be made in many ways . . .!


I love reading and looking through bread recipes and cookbooks. I hit on salt-rising bread (again) and it  sounded interesting to me. Never made it, but have heard and read about it on and off for years. I hit on this article which I found very enjoyable. I thought I would share it with you for your general interest and little bit of educational and fascinating history.

Have you ever heard of Salt Rising Bread?  Much like a sourdough, you cultivate a starter to make your bread rise. Unlike a sourdough, which is a yeast and lacto-bacilli culture, a salt rising bread relies on a culture of Clostridium Perfringens and other bacteria to make  bread rise. Salt is not used to leaven the dough and the bread is not salty tasting. Cooked bread is perfectly safe to eat.

The culture can be persnickety to start, very particular to keep alive and requires a higher incubation temperature than sourdough. It is supposed to be "smelly", likened to some ripe cheeses. I guess some would call it fragrant, others say it is stinky.

 Salt-rising bread is said be different tasting than sourdough, with its own certain flavor, but delicious. Have you ever made any or tasted any?  If you have, please let me know what you think of it.

Any way, fermentation this is and not your usual sourdough fermentation! Read about salt-rising bread's history in a good article at Garden and Gun Magazine:  "A Vanishing Appalachian Bread Tradition  The story of salt-rising bread." 

And for your further information here is another article Salt Rising Bread that points out exactly what Clostridium Perfringens can cause when it has the opportunity!     


Additional information for your elucidation and your education (I like that beat!):





Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 6:00 AM
Tags: applachian (1), bread (2), cheese (1), fermentation (4), salt-rising (1), stinky (1)

Seed-Sharing Time in the San Bernardino Mountains

Wild Sunflowers on Highway 18 near Skyforest, California    photo by Michele Martinez

Seeds are ripe when they shake in the pod, are easily removed from the plant, and/or are turning dark in color. -- from Seed Collection Guidelines for California Native Plant Species, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, by Michael Wall, Seed...

Posted on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 9:00 AM
Focus Area Tags: Environment

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