Every kid loves jello. I remember Jigglers being a big deal when I was a kid.
Back then, jello was a special dessert treat, and rightly so, because I remember the sugar that we had to add, and that vivid shade of blue definitely didn’t come from anything natural. That was great when I was a kid, but now that I have kids of my own, I certainly don’t want to load them up with garbage. If you want to treat your kids and still feel good about what they’re eating, try this homemade jello instead.
Next time you’re in the grocery store, take a look at the ingredients on a box of Jell-O: sugar is number one (if it’s the sugar-free variety, then you’ll be getting a chemical substitute – even better!), along with a couple additives “for tartness” and a variety of artificial flavors and colors (you knew that blue was too good to be true).
I know in the grand scheme of things, an occasional Jell-O treat is probably not the end of the world, but if you can make homemade jello that’s just as easy as the boxed stuff (only two ingredients!), probably cheaper, and doesn’t contain any of the nastiness, then why sacrifice?
How To Make A Better Homemade Jello
Back in the fall, we picked a bunch of Concord grapes and I turned them into juice. We still have plenty of grape jelly left, so we needed to come up with a way to use up the juice (drinking it is perfectly acceptable). Homemade jello seemed like a perfect use. I’d just add gelatin to the juice, and if you’re a regular, we’ve talked about the benefits of gelatin before. Good source of protein, good for joints, skin, nails, and hair, and especially good for gut health. Of course, make sure you’re using a high-quality gelatin (grass-fed, no antibiotics).
If you’ve never used gelatin, there are a couple rules for getting it to cooperate. Add it to cool/cold liquids to soften up, then heat the liquid to fully dissolve. When I first started using it, I added a spoonful to hot liquid… fail.
So to make this homemade jello, add a couple cups of 100% juice (not cocktails) to a medium saucepan and sprinkle a tablespoon of gelatin over the top. We’ve used grape, cranberry, and cherry recently. Let it sit for a minute, then bring the juice to a simmer, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Pour the juice into a pan (I use a loaf pan so it’s a little thicker; an 8 x 8 would work too). Refrigerate for at least a couple hours until the jello has fully set. Cut into squares, scoop out with a spoon, or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes!
While homemade jello probably isn’t a daily constant, I feel much better about letting the kids have some. It’s not quite a health food, but there’s no sugar added and gelatin really does have some nice benefits. So enjoy – even though you won’t get that vivid blue color, it’s still well worth it!
- 2 cups fresh-squeezed juice (or bottled, as long as it's 100% juice)
- 1 Tbsp gelatin
- In a medium saucepan, add the juice, then sprinkle the gelatin over the juice to soften.
- Heat the juice to a simmer, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Pour the hot juice into a small pan (loaf pan, 8 x 8, or similar).
- Refrigerate for at least a couple hours, or until the jello is fully set.
- Cut and serve.
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