You might be wondering why I’ve specified ‘natural’ jelly here. Well, that’s because the average store bought jelly is rather toxic, packed with petroleum derived chemical colouring, harmful stabilisers, factory farmed animal gelatin and carcinogenic fake sugars. It’s crazy what’s going on, and I’ve profiled the best selling jelly brand and flavour here, to show you what’s really in it!
To make a natural jelly you have 2 options for setting it.
Option 1: Agar agar powder / flakes.
A vegetarian option, seaweed derived and very high fiber. 2 cups of liquid will need 2 teaspoons of powder or 2 tablespoons of flakes, to set the liquid. Dissolve the agar agar into a little water first before heating and then add liquids and heat to a simmer, and then pour into moulds. Agar agar is available here on line in Australia, or extensively through health food shops and whole food stores. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, simply substitute the quantities below, based on the amount of liquid. Agar agar sets more firmly than gelatin. Think Asian jelly dessert texture. Still, lovely things can be achieved, so no one’s missing out!
Option 2: Gelatin powder, often beef derived. Totally flavourless, otherwise that would be a little odd, wouldn’t it?
The one I trust the best is the awesome Great Lakes Gelatin Powder, as it comes from grass fed cows and is 100% single ingredient. Nothing added. This is a protein power house, packed with nourishment from a vast variety of amino acids and awesome to take into your daily smoothie or soup, or even a glass of water, if you have joint aches and pains.
1 level tablespoons sets 2 cups thin liquid to a very wobbly jelly and 2 sets it firm – great for making jelly square bites for example.
1 tablespoons sets a purée consistency like a berry purée or coconut banana purée as below.
What to do for basic jelly?
All you do is heat 1/2 a cup of your purée or liquid to a simmer. Switch off the heat. Whisk in the gelatin quickly into it. Add rest of your liquid. Once well mixed, pour into moulds and refrigerate to set for an hour for small ramekins, up to 3 hours for larger, deeper containers. There you have it. Endless flavour possibilities.
The big secret on jelly / jello making is out – IT’S EASY! If you’re in the US / Canada, click the above link to go through to their site. If you’re in Australia, you can grab some Great Lakes Gelatin here. Don’t panic at the price tag, either. I’ve made 10 batches of jelly so far, used in the odd smoothie on a busy day, and hubby been taking it daily for 2 weeks to get ready for a marathon this weekend – the jar is only half finished! Besides, worry more about the price one pays later for the freaky crystals from the supermarket.
So, while I’ve given you the basic 2 setting ratios and methods for jelly above, I’ve created 3 more, delicious jellies today to inspire you to push the limits on your own creations. So easy. So delicious. So definitely, without a doubt, additive free!
Banana Smoothie Pudding Jelly
Say no more, right? Show me a baby that wouldn’t devour this pudding-like jelly, packed with nourishment. Show me the kids that wouldn’t down this at breakfast? Show me the ME who couldn’t stop dipping into the stash, to the point of practically having none left to photograph today. Who me?
Calming Chamomile and Apple Jelly
As this jelly is a boring colour (to kids), you could add 15ml liquid chlorophyll to get a more vibrant green colour, or do what I did, and get creative on the garnish top, alternating little wedges of fresh green and red skinned apples.
Either way, with all that lovely camomile and blood sugar levelling cinnamon, it’s a great companion to the apple’s fructose component and a really refreshing, cleansing jelly. My husband says it would do well with gin, but that’s perhaps not suited to this post so I’ll leave that there.
Pear and Beetroot Jelly
No, there’s no typo. Pear jelly is the most boring colour – it’s kind of brown. Seeing as a few of you might be trying to compete with the petroleum derived, brightly coloured carcinogens for your family’s approval of wholefoods, I reached for the beetroot powder from Herbie’s for this one, to give a gorgeous purply pink colour. You could of course just juice a half beetroot in the mix of making your fresh pear juice, for the same result. Up to you!So there you have it. Basic jelly procedure for gelatin and agar agar and 3 exciting flavours to try. It’s such a wonderful way to get great nutrition and a real treat at the same time. Especially if you have a fussy eater. These are gorgeous natural puddings for all and, thanks to being inspired to create a few for you guys, we now have a stash to last the whole week in our fridge!
Please try and use fresh squeezed, unpasteurised juices, or puréed smoothies of fresh fruit and nut milk or coconut. Bottled juices for jelly sadly have little nutrition and a whole lot of fructose, and while it’s still miles better than a fake sweetener in a supermarket jelly, fresh squeezed either yourself, or brought home from a juice bar will be the best treat of all.
Don’t forget to ask any questions or leave comments about your own jelly / jello efforts. Look forward to hearing about your jelly making successes, too!
(my little guy wanted to be in one of the pics. Subsequently, this pear and beetroot jelly mysteriously disappeared.)
Real Food. Happy Bodies.