Clear Jel is a modified food starch (powdered form) that will not break down in high heat during processing. DON'T SUBSTITUTE!! Clear Jell is well worth the effort, it leaves a cleaner and thicker filling that is simply delicious. Kitchencraft (1-800-776-0575) in Waterville, IA sells it by the 1# ($3.25 + S&H) or 5# bags. Also sold by Bakers Catalog (King Arthur Flour) and also at http://www.homecanningsupply.com/. Oh, now that about does it, Amazon.com even sells the stuff!
- Wash peaches or nectarines, peel peaches and cut fruit into 1/2 inch slices.
- To prevent darkening, place fruit in ascorbic acid solution (this can be found right next to the canning supplies in your local stores, it's in a small green canister); drain well. Measure 24 cups fruit. Set aside.
- In a 8-quart dutch oven or pot heat about 6 cups water to boiling.
- Add 6 cups peach slices; return to boiling. Boil for 1 minute.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer peaches to a large bowl; cover.
- Repeat with remaining fruit, 6 cups at a time.
- Drain water from the pot.
- In same pot combine sugar, Clear Jell, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir in the 4 1/2 cups water.
- Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to boil.
- Add the lemon juice; boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Stir in the almond extract.
- Immediately add fruit, stirring gently to coat.
- Heat for three minutes.
- Spoon hot fruit mixture into hot, clean, sterile quart size canning jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
- Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rims, and adjust lids.
- Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 30 minutes.
- Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks.
- Makes 6 quarts (enough for 6 pies).
- To use pie filling: Spoon 1 quart filling into a pastry lined 9-inch pie pan. Dot with 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. Cut slits in top crust; adjust top crust. Seal and flute edges. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes; remove foil. Bake 25-30 minutes more or until pastry is golden.
I love this recipe. I always had extra juice for the filling after cannin. I now use an 8 cup Tupperware mix and store to measure the peaches. I fill it 3 times to the brim with peaches, and use the othe ingredients as listed. I end up with 7-8 quarts of pie filling with no loss of flavor. My favorite peach for this recipe is the red Haven, also a freestone peach
It took me more than 8 pounds of peaches to get 24 cups. I made two batches (separate, because I don't have huge enough pots!) and they both came out wonderful. I used Hale peaches, tree ripened and freestone so they were easy to prep. I will definitely use this recipe repeatedly. The Clear Jel was hard to find locally but totally worth it in my opinion.