So far I’ve been pretty impressed with my almost 2 year old’s palate. She loves beans and legumes of any sort, doesn’t mind spicy food, prefers fruit over pretty much any dessert and has been doing a pretty good job with meat as of late. The only things I haven’t been thrilled about is her apparent aversion to anything green, or vegetables of any color really, and her love of Jello. We recently took her out for lunch, and she polished off an entire (rather large) bowl herself, after having a hefty lunch!
The fact that Jello is basically sugar and artificial colors and flavors mixed with gelatin and water is what doesn’t thrill me. It’s not that I’m one of those people that shuns absolutely ALL artificial ingredients, I just try to minimize my family’s exposure. Everything in moderation, right? Plus, there is some pretty convincing evidence around risks associated with some artificial colors that are used in our food supply.
Basically the only difference in the ingredients is that instead of mixing flavored gelatin powder with water, you’re mixing unflavored gelatin powder with juice. The juice you choose is totally up to you. I used apple-cherry juice with no added sugar. I also chose to use the frozen concentrated kind so that the juice I used would be slightly concentrated for more flavor. (Mixing the juice as per directions would have made 6 cups of juice, I mixed it to make 4 cups).
The first step is to sprinkle the gelatin over the cold juice and wait. I waited long enough to heat up the rest of my juice (around 5 minutes). Then you stir the hot juice into the cold juice/gelatin mixture until all the gelatin is dissolved.
When it’s done, this gelatin is quite firm – the kind you would cut into squares and eat with your fingers rather than eat with a spoon from a bowl.
It would also be cute to cut them out into shapes with cookie cutters.
Now that I know how easy this is, I can’t wait to experiment with flavors. I really want to try a lime-mint one. I’d also like to experiment with using pureed fruit mixed with juice. And of course, if I find any winning recipes, I’ll keep you posted.
Homemade Juice Jello
- 4 Envelopes unflavored gelatin powder
- 1 cup cold fruit juice
- 3 cups fruit juice heated to boiling
- Sprinkle gelatin over cold juice and let sit for a few minutes. The mixture will thicken. Add hot juice and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Pour into your choice of pan (a 9x13" makes about a 1" layer with this recipe) or individual containers. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
- When set, this gelatin will be quite firm. You can use cookie cutters to cut it into shapes, or just cut it into cubes.
Don't try to use fresh pineapple in this recipe. It contains an enzyme that will not allow the gelatin to set.