I grew up in the 70s, a time where plaid sofas were en vogue (we had one), Dorothy Hamil haircuts were the rage (I had one), and jello molds were the cutting edge, culinary trend (almost everyone had one).
Out of curiosity, I did a quick search on Pinterest for odd gelatine recipes. The results were enough to turn my stomach. How about “Jell-o Meatloaf with Olives and Pimentos?” Or there was “Lime Cottage Cheese Jello Mold with Seafood Salad.” My favorite? A “Real Cool Tuna Fish Mold” complete with A-1 sauce, tomato soup, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and tuna. Oh, my! Check it out for yourself (but please don’t make it!). The craziest thing my mom popped into a jello mold was a can of fruit cocktail. I thank you mom!
Growing up, jello was often a food for sickies. When one of us came down with a cold or stomach bug, mom would mix up some jello before bed, and voila, in the morning, it was ready. I remember my sick times fondly, strange, I know, but my mom took good care of me. Whether it was jello, peanut butter and jelly saltine sandwiches, or paper doll cut-outs, she always had a way of making me feel good inside. In my home today, jello is regularly requested among my boys when they’re sick; I suppose it’s a family tradition of sorts.
Back in the day, those little square boxes of flavored jello mix were the go to jello product. Today, I choose to make my own. The reason why? A quick look at the ingredient list of those jello boxes should set off alarms: sugar, gelatin, adipic acid, disodium phosphate, sodium citrate, fumaric acid, and Red 40. No thank you!
Making your own homemade jello is super simple. If you can warm up some juice, sprinkle on some gelatine, and stir…you can do this. The base for the jello is fruit juice, preferably 100% fruit juice. Any flavor will work; our favorite is cranberry grape. Using fruit juice will yield subtly sweet jello, not sickening sweet. You will also need unflavored gelatine. Knox is a commonly found brand of gelatine found right alongside of those little square jello boxes.
No need to wait for sick kiddos to make this. Jello is a delicious treat when topped with fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt Enjoy!
makes 2 servings
1/2 cup cold fruit juice
2 envelopes unflavored gelatine
2 cups hot juice (brought up to a simmer)
Pour the cold fruit juice into a bowl. Sprinkle the gelatine into the bowl. Stir, then set aside.
Bring the remaining 2 cups of juice to a simmer. Pour the hot juice in the bowl with the gelatine and cold juice. Stir continuously until all of the gelatine is dissolved. Be sure to thoroughly scrape the bottom of the bowl to gather any straggling gelatine. A silicone spatula is perfect for the job.
At this point you can choose to pour the liquid into single serve cups or into a shallow glass container (minimum 4 cup capacity). Cover. Cool in the refrigerator overnight or for 2-3 hours to allow to set.
If you choose to double or triple the recipe, the chill times will be longer depending on the container size you use.