Are you looking for a healthy alternative to the store-bought jello with all of the sugar and artificial additives? This recipe for homemade JELLO® is super simple and a great way to get extra protein into your diet, without all the extra “stuff.”
I love making homemade healthier versions of processed foods. Some of our favorites are vegetable broth powder, homemade ketchup, homemade gummy snacks, taco seasoning, natural blue food coloring, homemade chocolate chips and homemade white chocolate chips.
So when I found a way to make homemade “JELLO” – I was thrilled!
“Jello” is one of those things that has always perplexed me.
Why would someone pay over $5 per pound for a little box made up of mostly sugar, a teensy bit of gelatin, artificial color and flavor?
‘Cause you know- I’m the type of mom who never buys much of anything packaged and processed. So none of those itsy bitsy containers of sugar and artificial dye-laden boxes that cost about $1.10 or so for 1 batch of not-so-good-for-you stuff.
Well, a number of years ago, I bought brand name and generic brand gelatin for some reason or another. I’m sure it was probably an ingredient in a recipe that I wanted to try.
So I bought it and had the rest of the packets sitting in my pantry for a long time.
Don’t ask how long. Good thing gelatin doesn’t spoil :-).
Anyway, at some point, in my “making my own version of processed foods” trials and errors, I ended up making “Knox Blocks” (or generic “gelatin blocks”) for my kids whenever they’ve been sick and nothing else will calm their tummies, or as a treat when they’ve wanted something a little special.
I’ve made it following a few different recipes, but we recently tried it with lemon and lime juice and these versions were super refreshing (and candida friendly too!)
(For all you vegans out there, I encourage you to stick around. You can make this with agar agar as well. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet but I’m sure I will :-).)
This recipe turned out so beautifully that I just needed to get it out on my blog.
(This recipe was modified from this one on Cooks.com.)
Benefits of Homemade Jello
Of course, you save money over the store bought brand.
The gelatin is soothing to the stomach — and it’s a great healthy option for times when you are recovering from a tummy bug.
It’s a fabulous source of additional or complimentary protein.
Most obviously, you have total control over the ingredients and you can leave out those not so savory things like artificial colors and flavors – yikes!
I am no longer using regular store brand gelatin. It’s REALLY important to use quality gelatin with all of the factory farming that is going on.
Here are some good choices for quality grass-fed beef gelatin:
Great Lakes Gelatin – this is the first grass-fed gelatin that I ever used. Nice people. Good customer service. Pasture and grass-fed sources from Argentina and Brazil.
Vital Proteins – these seem to be good people too. Pastured, grass-fed bovine from Brazil.
Perfect Supplements – also pastured, grass-fed bovine from Brazil.
It is made from pastured cows in Argentina that have not been treated with antibiotics or hormones. I bought a HUGE amount (remember – gelatin doesn’t spoil :-)!)
Please don’t use those icky “Not ReaLemon” bottles that are sold everywhere. They are filled w/ nasty preservatives and don’t taste like the real thing.
Because they aren’t. Have you ever drunk that stuff straight? :-(.
If you do go and buy the pack at Costco, you can use your extra juice for my Homemade Lemonade with Sugar-Free Option.
Stevia extract is a little hard to measure. These stainless steel mini measuring spoons from Amazon are super handy.
The 2nd smallest is the size of 1/32 of a teaspoon so you can easily measure stevia extract with these!
Additional Flavor Options
There are loads of possibilities for making all kinds of flavors of this Homemade “Jello.” I prefer to make it lower carb but you can do either. Here are some great ideas:
- Juice: Use any flavor of juice you like and skip the sweetener
- Tea: Try a flavored tea gelatin dessert
- Premade Drink: Flavored drinks like Bai would be lovely for this purpose.
I haven’t tried these yet, but I think using above liquids instead of the amounts of the juice plus water should work. Of course you could dilute for a lighter flavor.
Substitutions for Special Diets
- Stevia: 1/32 tsp is about as sweet as 1-2 Tbsp sugar. So you can substitute another sweetener for the stevia, but you will need to use a lot. See this post for more measuring and usage info.
- Sweeteners: You can use any sweetener you like for this recipe. I personally use low carb sweetener so that this recipe is candida friendly. If you use a liquid sweetener, you may need to use a different amount if using a liquid–see this post on how to substitute sweeteners. I like using a combo of 2 sweeteners often when using low-carb sweeteners. It helps give a more authentic flavor to the final dish.
- Juice: You could also use lime juice instead of lemon juice, or you could even use both for a lemon-lime jello.
- Rind: Use lemon rind for lemon gelatin — lime for lime.
- Vegan Option: Substitute agar powder for gelatin for a vegan option.
- Molds: Instead of the baking pans, you could of course use anything as a mold. Like the little heart molds I bought for my Healthy “Reese’s” Candy (with allergy options).
- Gelatin: For Gelatin Squares, use twice as much gelatin.
- THM: This is a “fuel pull” for those on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.
- Color: The resulting color of this Homemade Jello will not be as intense as that of store-bought gelatin mixes. You can use natural food coloring or even add food stuffs such as spirulina to add intensity to your final product, as desired. Making this recipe without added coloring using lemon or lime juice will result in a faintly colored gelatin dessert.
Homemade "Jello" Gelatin (sugar-free option)
- Soften gelatin by soaking in 1 1/2 cups of the cold water (or juice) for a few minutes.
- Add boiling water (or juice) and stir until gelatin is dissolved.
- Add remaining ingredients (including the other 1 1/2 cups cold water), stirring until thoroughly blended.
- Pour into 2 8x8 baking pans.
- Refrigerate until set.
- Store covered in fridge.