I’m always looking for new ideas for easy, healthy snacks for my daughter. She’s not yet 2 years old, and would prefer that
what I give her be “fun” to eat. Jello fits the bill perfectly. It comes in red, green, yellow, purple and even blue. I’m all
for eating the rainbow (when it comes to vegetables), but when it comes to desserts, I’m a little leery. Those colorful gems
are loaded with food dyes and artificial flavors, not to mention a ton of sugar. That’s why I’m psyched about these
homemade jello recipes
just out in the new issue of EatingWell
Magazine. Yes, you can make jello without
the box, and it can be a colorful, delectable experience, without the use of food dye, fake flavors or tons of sugar. Here
are the keys to making healthier, better jello.
1. Start with this one essential ingredient. You can’t make jello without gelatin. In the
boxed version, it comes mixed up with the sugar, color and flavorings, but you can buy gelatin, an odorless, tasteless animal
protein, in powder form, in packets on its own. It needs to “bloom” in water, then needs to be “melted” by hot liquid before
its thickening action takes place in the fridge. The more gelatin you add, the thicker your jello will end up. Adding just an
additional envelope of gelatin to your mix can give you jigglers, a hand-held version of jello that’s stiff enough to eat
with your fingers or pack into a lunch.
2. Use fruit juice in place of some sugar. Jello should be sweet, but it doesn’t have to be
cloying. So in our recipes we use minimal sugar blended with fruit juices. Other advantages of using juice: it adds flavor
3. Fill it with fruit. Another way to flavor your jello is by adding fruit. Fruit adds fiber
and other nutrients and also makes it beautiful. If you are using a jello mold and want to make it look impressive, try
adding the fruit when the jello is a little fluid (not completely set) so the fruit is suspended evenly in the mixture and
doesn’t sink to the bottom or rise to the top of the mold.
4. Make cool colors with natural ingredients. The colorful part can be tricky to achieve
without food dye, but there are ways to get a nice array of colors naturally. Try mixing juices, such as white grape juice
with purple grape juice to get a pretty light purple hue. We even add spirulina, a dark green edible plankton, which you can
find at most natural-foods stores, to one of our jello recipes to get a vibrant green color. (Don’t worry, we only use a
little, so its flavor is undetectable.)
5. Make it for adults too. Who knew that the jello shots I made in college would take on a new
life in my thirties? If you want to make jello as a dessert for just adults, try adding booze to the mix (just not as much as
you might have added in your younger years). Sweet red wine mixed with grapes makes a beautiful sangria-inspired jello, while
adding Champagne to cran-raspberry juice gives it a lovely bubbly look.