Monday, May 25, 2009


In honor of the unofficial start of the summer season, we cooked a BBQ feast for lunch today. Tony was in charge of the meat and we divided up the side dish preparation. I made a salad with lettuce from the garden and sliced tomatoes and onions for the burgers. For dessert, I made "Jell-O" using fruit juice and gelatin.

My inspiration was an article for homemade gelatin desserts that I cut out of the newspaper a while back. The few gelatin recipes I make start with a box of Jell-O. However, Jell-O has a lot of sugar and artificial flavors; I figured I could make something that would taste better and be healthier.

The basic recipe I used:
1 packet gelatin
2 cups juice, divided
sugar to taste
chopped fruit, if desired

Add the gelatin to 1/2 cup room temperature juice and soak 1 minute until softened. Heat the remaining juice till boiling, then pour it over the gelatin. Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved (about 5 minutes). Add sugar to taste. Add chopped fruit when gelatin is partially set. Chill until jelled.
Looking around the kitchen for inspiration, I discovered a box of Knox gelatin in the pantry. I don't know how long it had been there, but I don't think it ever goes bad. The one packet it contained would be just enough for my experiment.

The next requirement was some type of juice. I opened the refrigerator to see what we had. There was a bit of orange juice, but not enough for my recipe. However, on the shelf above the juice there was a bowl of cut-up watermelon. Since the fruit is primarily water, I figured I could easily extract liquid from it. I pressed watermelon pieces through a sieve. The vast majority passed right through the holes, leaving just a little pulp. I chopped the pulp finely and threw it in too, for extra substance.

I poured some of the juice into a small bowl, stirred the gelatin in, and set it aside while I heated the rest on the stove. I carefully mixed the two liquids together and stirred for what seemed like a very long time. I decided not to add any extra sugar, so when all the gelatin was dissolved, I poured the mixture into a bowl and placed the bowl in the freezer so it would chill quickly (it was getting close to meal time). When the gelatin was partially set I stirred in a large handful of grapes from the fruit drawer.

I was apprehensive about the gelatin being done on time, but it was ready just as we finished the meal. I brought my masterpiece to the table, along with bowls, spoons, and a can of whipped cream. The gelatin wasn't sparkling clear because of the watermelon pulp it contained, but it tasted very good, and the grapes added an extra pop of sweetness. Tony and I managed to finish off the entire thing.

1 comment:

  1. Somehow, I see Bill Cosby sitting there with you, eating the yummy Jello!