Finger Jello – A Wiggly, Jiggly Nutrient Dense Food

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Finger Jello - A Wiggly, Jiggly Nutrient Dense Food - Holistic Squid 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!

Recently I discovered that finger jello doesn’t have to be a junk food; 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!

Finger Jello - Holistic Squid

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, and benefits the skin, digestive tract, immune system, heart and muscles. The digestive benefits almost justify jello 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 made 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.

How to Make 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.

Finger Jello - Holistic Squid

For the batch pictured here, I used 4 cups fresh pomegranate juice and 4 Tbsp. Great Lakes gelatin.

  1. Divide juice approximately in half.
  2. Add gelatin to cold juice and stir; set aside.
  3. Bring other half of juice to a boil, then add to the gelatin/juice mixture.
  4. Stir to dissolve the gelatin and pour into a shallow pan.
  5. Place in the fridge to cool. When completely gelled, cut in cubes (or use 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!

I LOVE finger jello, but what’s even more exciting is that this and other gelatin-rich foods can dramatically improve your health. Sylvie McCracken of Hollywood Homestead and her husband Eric both lost over 65 pounds and healed a myriad of  health issues using gelatin and other real food solutions.

The Gelatin Secret by Sylvie McCracken of Hollywood Homestead

Here are just a few of the things that gelatin can help to resolve:

  • Allergies & food sensitivities
  • Joint and mobility pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Acne other skin conditions
  • Dull and fragile hair, wrinkles, and even stretch
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Tooth decay
  • Weight issues
  • Anxiety and fatigue

The Gelatin Secret is a beautiful, meticulously researched ebook, packed with everything you MUST know about gelatin and its powerful ability to transform your health and beauty —naturally. Plus you get all the recipes you could ever need to start consuming gelatin with ease.

Click here to get The Gelatin Secret now

Finger Jello - A Wiggly, Jiggly Nutrient Dense Food - Holistic Squid


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  1. Chantal says

    Where can u get the gelatin from? Rainbow acres? Wholefoods?

    Sounds great for my picky eater! Any other flavor suggestions that yr lil one liked?

    • admin says

      Hi Chantal – I bought mine on Amazon. The options are limitless for flavors, but personally I like the ones that most mimic the red flavors of my youth like cherry made with pure cherry juice! Watermelon might be really good too. :)

  2. says

    I’m curious how you feel about the taste of the geletin. I looked up the brand you suggest and several people talked about how horrible it smells while being cooked and a weird taste (although none of them mentioned it being an issue in homemade jello, though no one even mentioned making homemade jello!) Does this smell go away afterwards or is it something you get use to? I would love to make this for my kids! I think they’d love it as long as it didn’t taste/smell like some reviewers said!

  3. says

    Then dehydrate it! I was looking for a chewy fruit roll up with little success. One day I took my sheet of homemade Jello and cut it into strips and dehydrated them. Worked perfectly!

  4. says

    You just inspired me…I think I am going to try making vanilla latte jello! Coffee, vanilla extract, stevia, and cream.

    Making it with hibiscus tea right now, hope it sets before bed tonight

  5. LEah G says

    We love jello around here and make it with fresh fruit juice during the summer. These days we are doing Kombucha, water kefir, fermented lemonade jello….2cups liquid mixed with 5Tbsp gelatin mixed well and lightly heated added to 2 cups of same liquid. pour in pan and cool. YUM. and yes its still probiotic because the jar always has pressure when we open it.

  6. Amanda Howell says

    Can this work if I only have an ipad right now and I can’t download anything onto my ipad? Can this go on kindle? I have no computer at this time. Thanks!

  7. Christy says

    That gelatin is ridiculously expensive. Any other suggestions that are more cost effective for someone just trying it? I don’t want to commit $15 to one before I know my kids will eat it. Why don’t you recommend Knox? Is it lacking the nutritional value?

  8. Kay says

    Love this article thanks! Would the recipe for the finger jello be the same regardless of the brand used? Not sure if I’ll get the Bernard Jensen or Great Lakes yet. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Kay – Thanks for your question. Another brand of gelatin will work, but I would rather use a more nutrient dense version myself. Hope that helps!

  9. Carly says

    I accidentally bought the hydrolysate instead of the beef gelatine in the link. I don’t really understand the difference between the two, does the great lakes hydrolysate still has the same health benefits?
    My kids are so excited to finally be allowed to have Jelly, I can’t wait to make it with them!

    • says

      Hi Carly – Thanks for your question. They both have the same great health benefits, but the hydrolysate won’t gel, therefore it won’t work well in a jello recipe. It does however work great in these popsicles. Hope that helps!

      • Carly says

        Thanks Emily, thats really helpful, and thank you for replying so quickly you saved my kids from the disappointment of soggy jelly, ha!

  10. Hannah says

    Hello Emily,

    I really enjoy reading your blog and regularly use your recipes. However I have noticed recently that certain recipes are missing when I look for them. Am I doing something wrong or do you only put recipes up for a short while?



  11. AmyM says

    I love how simple and flexible this recipe is. I was asked to bring a firm Jell-O dessert with fruit in it to an event, but wanted to find a real-food version. This is perfect. I’ll fold in some raspberries and call it done. How much liquid would you recommend for a 9×13 pan? Have you ever made that much?

    • says

      Hi Amy – That sounds delicious. I would imagine you could double or even triple the recipe, depending on how thick you want the jello to be. Hope that helps!

  12. Valentyna Zilinskiy says

    I grow up with chicken broth my mom uses whole chicken with their feet and makes really really good soups. I grow up in ukraine and we used to eat salty jellatin with chicken meat in it is super tasty,it a very traditional food in Russia it’s an anusual food for people that never eat before

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