Why Peach Pie Recipes Using Clear Jel Need Lemon Juice

Homemade Warm Peach Pie

Have you come across a peach pie recipe that calls for an excessive amount of lemon juice and thought to yourself… why do peach pie filling recipes using clear jel need so much lemon juice? After all, we’re making a pie that’s supposed to be sweet and fruity! Well, the answer may surprise you.

The use of lemon juice in peach pie recipes that contain clear jel as a thickener is a common but often misunderstood practice. In this article, we’ll dive into the reasons why so much lemon juice is needed and how it plays an essential role in ensuring a perfectly thickened and flavorful peach pie filling.

The Science Behind Clear Jel and Lemon Juice

Clear Jel is a modified cornstarch that is used as a thickener in pie fillings, sauces, gravies, and loads more recipes. When combined with water and heat, Clear Jel swells and thickens, creating a stable gel that doesn’t break down when frozen or baked. One of the unique properties of Clear Jel is that it needs an acidic ingredient to activate its thickening power. Lemon juice, being a common kitchen staple with a low pH, serves this purpose.

Fun fact, the reason lemon juice tastes sour is that it contains 5% to 6% citric acid and has a pH of 2.2 (high acidity). This explains why you see people pull a face when they bight into a lemon wedge. Tequila anyone?

The Importance of Lemon Juice in Peach Pie Filling

Lemon juice does more than just activate the Clear Jel. It also balances the sweetness of the peach filling and prevents it from becoming too cloying. Furthermore, lemon juice helps to preserve the bright color of the peaches and prevent them from turning brown. In addition, the acid in the lemon juice helps to enhance the flavor of the peaches, making the filling taste even more delicious.

How Much Lemon Juice Do I Need?

The amount of lemon juice needed in peach pie filling recipes that use Clear Jel as a thickener will vary based on the recipe and the type of peaches being used. However, as a general rule, most recipes will call for between 2-4 tablespoons of lemon juice per pie.

Can I Reduce the Amount of Lemon Juice?

While reducing the amount of lemon juice in a peach pie filling recipe may seem like a good idea to make the pie less tart, it’s not recommended. The lemon juice is an essential component in activating the Clear Jel and ensuring a stable, thick filling. If too little lemon juice is used, the filling may not set properly and could result in a runny, soupy mess.

Final Thoughts

Lemon juice in peach pie filling recipes that use Clear Jel as a thickener is not a mistake. It’s an essential ingredient that plays several important roles in ensuring a perfectly thickened and flavorful pie filling. So next time you come across a recipe that calls for an excessive amount of lemon juice, don’t be intimidated. Embrace it and enjoy a delicious, perfectly thickened peach pie.

Top FAQs

What is the best thickener for peach pie?

ClearJel or cornstarch are the most commonly used thickeners for peach pie filling. However, arrowroot, tapioca and potato starch can be used to create the desired consistency.

How do you keep a peach pie from being runny?

Using a thickener like ClearJel or cornstarch and cooking the pie filling to the correct consistency can help prevent a runny peach pie.

What can I substitute ClearJel with?

Cornstarch or flour can be used as a substitute for ClearJel in pie-filling recipes. The amount used may vary, so it is best to consult a trusted recipe or cooking resource. See our guide on how to substitute cornstarch for flour.

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