One of my favorite things about real, nutrient dense food is that I find myself eating amazingly delicious things that I previously deemed to be guilty pleasures – bacon, butter, cream, egg yolks, and other delectables are now my top health foods. I love it!
Lately lots of my favorite foodies (like CheeseSlave) have been taking about a jello, and I am just thrilled for a wiggly jiggly revival, especially when I can pass it off as part of my nutritious diet.
I remember J-E-L-L-O from my junk food days – from shapely molds with suspended fruit cocktail to a bowlful topped with Cool Whip. Sometimes we skipped the prep, and just dipped our stained red fingers in to the sugary powder – admittedly a bit disgusting – but all fun nonetheless. Who knew one of the most iconic American desserts could easily morph into a nutrient dense health food!
When it’s from healthy, grass fed animals, gelatin is a wonderfully nutritious and versatile ingredient. Gelatin is made when the collagen from skin and bones of animals is melted down making the proteins soluble in hot water.
The presence of gelatin is why a good bone broth or homemade soup will gel when chilled. According to the Weston Price Foundation, gelatin helps to strengthen cartilage, bones, teeth, and hair as well as benefit skin, digestive tract, immune system, heart and muscles. The digestive benefits almost justify jello in being such a popular hospital food – now if only we could get the medical cafeterias to make it from scratch with healthy ingredients!
Even Kraft Jell-O is a relatively simple food containing “Sugar, gelatin, adipic acid (for tartness), contains less than 2% of artificial flavor, disodium phosphate and sodium citrate (control acidity), fumaric acid (for tartness), red 40, blue 1.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not really down with the the processed sugar and artificial stuff, and I don’t personally trust that Kraft or Knox use anything but gelatin from factory raised animals full of stress hormones, antibiotics, and disease.
My version of jello is made with Great Lakes Gelatin.
from grass-fed cows and fresh juice or a sweetened tea like hibiscus. (I don’t recommend using Knox or other main stream brands of gelatin.
The WAP foundation suggests Bernard Jensen or Great Lakes which are both make from pasture-raised animals.) With a one year old that insists on feeding herself, I opted for the hand-holdable version: finger jello. So super easy to make, this is sure to become one of our family’s new favorites.
Nutrient Dense Finger Jello
To make jello of this consistency, the proportion is 1 cup liquid to 1 Tablespoon gelatin. If you prefer a more spoonable, jelly-like jello (especially good topped with raw whipped cream or creme fraiche), use less gelatin.
For the batch pictured here, I used 4 cups fresh pomegranate juice and 4 Tbsp. Great Lakes gelatin.
- Divide juice approximately in half.
- Add gelatin to cold juice and stir, set aside.
- Bring other half of juice to a boil, then add to the gelatin/juice mixture.
- Stir to dissolve the gelatin and pour into a shallow pan.
- Place in the fridge to cool. When completely gelled cut in cubes (or used a fun shaped cookie cutter), and enjoy!
The jello will taste less sweet than your original juice, so if you prefer a sweeter jello, stir in a touch of raw honey before cooling to set.
Experiment with stirring in some fresh berries or a swirl of raw cream before chilling.
Super easy, fun, yummy, and good for you too!
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