Jello is such a fun treat, especially in the summertime, and it’s been delighting kids of all ages for generations. But lots of kids today miss out because their (wise) parents steer clear of artificial colors, flavors, and other unpronounceable ingredients that come along with the stuff in the box. I like to take back the classic dessert by making a Healthy Homemade ‘Jello’ Recipe from scratch in my own kitchen. I make mine with fruit juice, and I don’t even need to add sugar. It’s cool, jiggly, and totally healthy!
Basically, gelatin transforms simple fruit juice into a fabulous dessert – and you can’t beat that. It takes all of 5 minutes to throw a batch together, and I encourage you to give it a try. This is a perfect project for the little ones to get involved with, too — let them choose their favorite juice, sprinkle on the gelatin, and help slice the finished product into wiggly cubes. Gelatin has a unique silky texture that will fascinate them. This recipe sets up firm enough to be a great (and not too messy) finger food for toddlers, too. Cut it into shapes with a cookie cutter if you like.
You’ll need 4 packets of Knox gelatin for each flavor you want to make. Then you’ll need 4 cups of fruit juice. This is where the fun comes in. There are so many new and healthier juices out on the market these days, on my last trip to the supermarket I noticed all the major brands are offering some sort of natural variety. Some of them are even sold fresh in the refrigerated section. For my ‘jello’ I used Tropicana Farmstand juices. I love the saturated colors and the fun fresh flavors. I chose Pomegranate Blueberry and Peach Mango. There are endless juices to choose from, but be sure to find one labeled “100% juice” for this project. Apple, grape, pomegranate, cranberry…they’ll all work, but the only one to avoid is pineapple. Pineapple juice contains an enzyme that prevents it from gelling.
Homemade ‘Jello’ is the perfect refreshing dessert for the summer months. You can put them into a cake pan and slice it in cubes. Then pile them in small glasses, topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Or you can pour the liquid directly into individual serving sized cups and let it set up in the fridge that way. I like to use small mason jars…you can cap them and they’ll keep nicely for quick snacks. These are best served chilled, because gelatin will soften as it comes to room temperature.
- For stripes, make several different flavors and layer each on top of the other, letting each layer chill firm before adding the next.
- Add in mini marshmallows, grapes, or other fresh fruit before chilling.
- Cut the ‘Jello’ into shapes using a cookie cutter.
- Serve in parfait glasses, layered with sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping.
- Use your grandmother’s old Jello mold for a pretty vintage presentation.
NOTE: Gelatin is an animal derived product. If you are vegetarian or vegan and would like a substitute, try AGAR, a plant based substitute.