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Homemade Paleo Jello, Golden Version

Updated: Jan 20

This monster-pleasing treat is so simple to prepare, you could make it everyday. And with no-added sweeteners, you won't feel bad about doing so!

Homemade paleo jello

For the printable recipe click here .

J-E-L-L-Oh my goodness! Homemade paleo jello!

When my 7-year-old found out he needed tonsil surgery, he was super pumped. Forget about the pain--he was ready for a nonstop stream of popsicles and ice cream! We stocked the freezer accordingly.

However, a few days into recovery he announced he was tired of all the frozen novelties and asked me if I'd gotten any Jello.

I had made my peace with the added sugar in the ice cream, but when it came to Jello, a treat typically loaded with not just loads of processed sugar, but also artificial colors and artificial flavors as well, I had held back.

I'd had a giant tub of grass-fed gelatin powder in the pantry for ages, so I knew I could whip up some homemade jello if needed, and it looked like the time had come.

It had been a long time since I'd made homemade jello, but it was every bit as easy as I remembered.

The funny thing is, out of all the sweet treats Monster 3 has had an all-access pass to since his surgery, THIS one--the one without all the added sugar--is the one he keeps begging for!

Natural ingredients

Homemade jello contains just two necessary ingredients, with plenty of room to play and tinker.

1. Powdered gelatin: I use Vital Proteins organic powdered gelatin derived from grass-fed cows. If "derived from cows" sounds like a weird statement, yes, that is where gelatin comes from. It can actually come from all kinds of animals--even fish--but cows are one traditional source. This means, of course, products containing gelatin are not vegan. There are plant-based gelling substances, such as agar agar, that do not come from the bones of animals and can be used to make vegan treats, but I have not experimented with those yet.

Gelatin is the result of the connective tissue collagen breaking down during cooking. If you've ever made a really good stock or bone broth and let it chill in the fridge, you've witnessed this magic. If you make bone broth/stock and haven't yet experienced the thrill of the jiggle, you may not be using bones with enough collagen, or you may not be simmering long enough.

Do not substitute collagen peptides. Even though gelatin comes from collagen, they are not interchangeable in this recipe.

2. Fruit juice: This post contains the base recipe for homemade jello, as well as my variation for Golden Jello, which uses apple juice and white grape juice. Part of my motivation for using this particular combination is that we were instructed to only give Monster 3 light-colored, non-red things to eat during recovery, so those were the juices we had on hand. Another motivator is that both of these juices are relatively sweet on their own--especially apple. This means no added sweeteners were necessary. My golden jello recipe adds a little almond extract as well, which enhances the sweetness and lends a little depth of flavor.

So many options!

Homemade jello is such a great recipe for those who like to get a little creative with simple ingredients. You could use almost any juice--fresh juice, pasteurized juice, it doesn't matter much. Still, even in this easy recipe, there are some things to consider:

1. Don't use pineapple juice. Pineapple contains an enzyme that breaks down gelatin, and you could end up with a soupy mess.

2. Thicker, cloudier juices lead to cloudier jello. Unfiltered apple juice, orange juice, etc. may make a delicious gelatin treat, but it won't be as crystal-clear as those made with thinner, less cloudy juices. Not necessarily a bad thing, just something to keep in mind.

3. Sweetness matters. A homemade jello concoction of lemon juice, lime juice, and pomegranate juice may be a bit too tart without added sweeteners. You might want to add a little maple syrup or other natural sweetener in this case, or throw some apple juice in for extra sweetness. This is, of course, a matter of personal preference.

white cranberry peach homemade jello

Health benefits

Unlike traditional jello, paleo homemade jello is actaully a great healthy snack. Per the ingredient list on the back of the box, the first ingredient in strawberry-flavored store-bought Jello mix is sugar. It also contains gelatin (of course), artificial flavor, red 40, and a smattering of other ingredients, all of which are either to increase tartness or to control acidity (insert GIF of me shaking my head here).

On the other hand, this homemade paleo jello recipe contains no added sugar and nothing artificial.

Of course there is naturally-occurring sugar in fruit juice, so it's not necessarily a great keto treat, but these natural sugars are bound up with nutritional, fruity goodness--especially if you use organic fresh-pressed juice! I typically use pasteurized, store-bought juices. But I dream in freshly-squeezed. The specific nutritional profile of your jello will depend on the juices you choose.

And then there's the gelatin.

While on the surface gelatin seems like just some strange powder we use to thicken things or make them gel, it is actually a great source of protein, including 8 amino acids. The amino acid glycine, which makes up 21% of gelatin's amino-acid profile, is important for brain health, joint-mobility, and good sleep. Gelatin is also considered to be beneficial for gut health and is often marketed as a beauty supplement for its reported effects on skin and hair.

According to Dr. Axe, an organic, grass-fed beef gelatin is considered to be one of the purest sources of gelatin because cows that are grass fed tend to be healthier in general, and there would be less risk of exposure to toxic pesticides, antibiotics, or artificial hormones.

The process

Homemade jello does not take a long time to prepare at all, but it does require several hours in the fridge to set. I like to take a few minutes to make it in the evening, knowing it'll be ready in the morning, but if you made it in the morning, it could be ready by late afternoon. Keep this in mind when planning.

There are basically 4 steps:

1. Bloom: Powdered gelatin is sprinkled over a small portion of the liquid, allowing the gelatin to hydrate and plump up, or "bloom."

2. Boil: The remaining liquid is brought to a boil. Sweeteners could be added at this point if desired. If using raw honey, wait till the next step--some of its healthful nuances can be destroyed in high heat.

3. Mix: Pour the hot liquid over the bloomed gelatin to melt it completely, and stir in any remaining additions, such as extracts, raw honey, or even fresh fruit if you want to get all fancy.

4. Chill: The gelatin mixture needs to cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, or preferably till the bowl is no longer warm to the touch. This prevents unsightly condensation from puddling on the surface and also prevents thermal shock from shattering your whole situation if you happen to be using a glass bowl, which I like to do. Then it will need to set, or firm up, in the fridge for about 4-6 hours. I like to keep things extra simple by chilling the jello right in my mixing bowl, but you could speed up the setting time by spreading the gelatin mixture out into a thinner layer in something like a 9x13" baking dish.

Homemade jello, peach and white grape flavor

Here's what you'll need:

Base Recipe:

  • 4 cups of fruit juice

  • 2 T grass-fed unflavored gelatin

Five Monsters Golden Version:

  • 2 cups apple juice

  • 2 cups grape juice

  • ½ tsp almond extract

Here's what you'll do:

  1. In a medium-large bowl, place ½ cup of juice. Sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let sit at least 5 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, bring the remaining juice just to a boil in a saucepan.

  3. Pour the hot juice over the bloomed gelatin and stir briefly just to combine, stirring in any extracts if using. At this point you could transfer the mixture to a rectangular baking dish if you wish to be able to cut the jello into squares. I like to leave it in the bowl and just scoop it out to serve.

  4. Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or till completely cool. Cover and transfer to the fridge to set for 4-6 hours. Store covered in fridge. Enjoy within a week.

Homemade paleo jello

For the printable recipe click here.

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Hey Y'all!

I'm the Monster Momma.

I'm a Christ-follower, wife, mother to five sweet paleo monsters, writer, and

paleo food fiend.

Join me and my family on our paleo journey!

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