Kids love Jello, at least that is what Bill Cosby and the folks at Jello tell you. But, Jello has lots of nasty artificial flavorings and food dyes in it. Well, why not make your own “Jello” out of fruit juice and unflavored gelatin? There is even a recipe on the Knox box for it. I cut the recipe in half and leave out the honey since juice is already sweet. If you want to make a more traditional, less firm gelatin using juice, then just use one packet of gelatin to 2 cups juice, but your kids won’t be able to pick it up with their hands. 🙂 I put these in my girls’ lunches about once or twice a month.
- 2 cups of 100% fruit juice (I used Welch’s grape juice)
- 2 envelopes of unflavored Knox gelatin, each envelope holds 1 Tbls gelatin
Place 1 cup of juice in a microwavable measuring cup. Microwave juice for 60 seconds. Pour hot juice into a 3-cup container (I used a Rubbermaid plastic container with a lid). Sprinkle gelatin powder into hot juice and use a fork or small whisk to mix it in until it dissolves and there are no clumps. Pour in the other 1 cup of juice and mix well. Put the lid on your container and refrigerate for 4+ hours. Cut into desired shape or cubes. You can use assorted cookie cutters to create fun shapes.
This is ridiculously simple and almost doesn’t even qualify as a recipe. Actually, since most parents already have some kind of juice on-hand, it is probably easier and faster than making the traditional Jello. So, I always wondered why Knox didn’t partner with one of the juice companies to pitch this as a healthier alternative to Jello. I think the answer is on the back of the Knox box. Knox is owned by Kraft Foods and so is Jello.
General note about the ingredients: Since I am trying to create healthier versions of foods but still use ingredients that you can get at your local grocery store, I used Welch’s grape juice and Knox gelatin. If you want to make these even better, please feel free to use organic juice and gelatin made from happy, pastured animals. They should both be available at a natural food or health food store in your area.
Updated 9/29/11 to add: Here is a link to more information about higher quality gelatin from Food Renegade.
Note to vegetarians & vegans: Gelatin (including Jello brand) is not vegetarian as is made from animals. Gelatin is derived from collagen, which is mainly involved with connective tissues and bones. I understand the many vegetarians substitute agar-agar for gelatin and online I found this recommendation for a fruit juice jello, but I have not tried it: “Boil up 1/4 cup agar-agar with 1 quart of fruit juice for five minutes, then pour into dishes and cool. That’ll make 4 servings of a substance that doesn’t wobble like Jell-O, but because it’s made with fruit juice rather than artificial flavors it’ll actually taste considerably better.”