Homemade Jello Recipe- Chemical Free, with Sugar Free Option

In school growing up, we used to get jello often. Little stryrofoam cups filled with bright red wobbly yumminess. We'd have such fun playing with our jello, using straws to make little jello snakes, etc... I think most kids like jello. There's just something about it that makes you want to eat it.
In retrospect though, that jello is kind of gross to think about, so many chemicals in it to make it be the way it was, artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, and who knows which other preservatives and stabilizers and other chemicals I don't even want to know about...

Lately, its been really, really hot where I live. Like "I feel I'm about to start melting" hot. As in well over 100 every day for at least a week. Oh, and we have no air conditioning. (Though my husband purchased an extra powerful fan that works well enough that I don't miss air conditioning. Too much anyhow.)
So I've been craving those chilled treats, little jello cups, those oh so refreshing wobbly bits in a bowl.

Here's how you can make your own jello. You can either make it completely refined sugar free, or, if you don't mind the sugar, here's how you can make it cheaper, but still without the chemicals:

Homemade Jello Recipe- Chemical Free, with Sugar Free Option 

Sugar Free Jello Recipe
4 tablespoons powdered gelatin (I used fish gelatin, but beef gelatin is also fine)
3/4 cup water
8 cups juice, extra sweet

1. Mix the gelatin with the water.

2. Let sit for 30 minutes to soften.

3. I use apple juice made from concentrate, so I just add a little extra concentrate to make it sweeter. You can use honey or any other healthy sweetener if you want to make yours extra sweet. If you don't add the extra sweet, once the jello is chilled, you won't really be able to taste the sweetness.

4. Heat up one cup of the fruit juice on the stove top until boiling.

5. Add the hot fruit juice to the jello, and whisk. Add the rest of the cooler fruit juice and whisk.

6. Chill in the refrigerator a few hours until solidified.

Homemade Lemonade Jello 
3 tablespoons gelatin powder
6 tablespoons water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice
2.5 cups cold water
1 cup hot water
1/8 tsp turmeric

1. Mix gelatin with the 6 tablespoons of water and let sit 30 minutes.

2. Mix the sugar, lemon, and 2.5 cups water together. Add 1/8 teaspoon turmeric for a natural yellow food coloring. You won't taste the turmeric.

3. Bring one cup of water to a boil. Add to the gelatin. Whisk.

4. Add the lemon/sugar/water mixture. Whisk.

5. Chill until set.

Do you like jello? What is your favorite flavor? Have you ever made your own with gelatin, or do you always buy the instant stuff?
Did your school also serve you jello for lunch?
Does this seem like a recipe you'd make?

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Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Dear Penny, I hate being the one to break the bad news to you but the extra sweet juice in your recipe is not a good idea. When the juice is extracted from the fruit without the fiber, it's like drinking sugar water!
    It turns to FAT! I suggest, instead, that you just use water and stevia powder. For flavor blend up some fruit with a portion of the water. But, thanks for the proportions of pectin to water. I am going to try it out.


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