Healthier jello or jelly made with real, fresh fruit makes for a much better and guilt-free dessert with only 3 ingredients. This gelatin dessert can be made as healthy or as sweet as you may prefer. Either way, this homemade jello recipe is miles better than store bought jello powder!
This is a jello that both adults and kids will like. It’s tart, yet sweet and you can dress it up or down with sauces, berries, chocolate and the like. Jello is always a huge success at children’s birthday parties, at American school lunches or hospital food trays. However, making your own truly can never be compared with these mass produces jellos.
I’m keeping this week’s recipe quick and easy. I’m choosing to share this homemade jello recipe with you today in honor of my grandfather. My family and I spent the entire last week on the hospital/nursing home before he passed away on Friday. It was very sad, but also good that he is no longer in pain.
My grandfather was equally a sugar butt (as we so graciously call it in Norway), loving all things sweet, as me. He once said ‘there can never be enough desserts, I had four yesterday’. And one of his favorite sweet treats is vanilla custard sauce, served with red currants and blueberries.
So I haven’t made a recipe for vanilla custard sauce yet, but I had this jello recipe. Homemade jello is a killer combination with vanilla custard sauce, hence why I share it today. And don’t worry, once I get the right vanilla custard sauce, I will make sure to share it asap. Update: I have now a recipe for vanilla custard sauce. Click this link to find the silky smooth crème anglaise!
Sorry if this was TMI and not necessary, but I needed to get it off my chest.
Back to this homemade jello recipe.
Surprise Health Benefit of Gelatin
One of the three ingredients in this jello, is gelatin, or gelatine in the UK. Gelatin is a pure natural protein. It is boiled animal bones and skin to extract its collagen. When collagen is processed, it becomes gelatin.
The real difference between gelatin and collagen is that gelatin is affected by temperature. Gelatin dissolves in hot water, making it a jelly like consistency. That is perfect when it comes to jello desserts, marshmallows, gummy bears, and even soups and sauces.
The health benefits are, on the other hand, the same. Gelatin (and collagen) contains several important amino acids. Amino acids are compounds that combine to make proteins, and they are essential to various organs.
The human body needs 20 amino acids, and 9 of them are considered essential. This means that the human body doesn’t make it, and must be obtained through our diet. And the best way to do that is by eating animal protein aka collagen or gelatin. I call this a bonus benefit of eating homemade jello!
Healthify this Jello Recipe
So, breaking down the ingredients in this jello recipe, and you’ll notice the sugar pretty quickly. Yes, that is not considered healthy although super yummy. Unfortunately. However, the beauty of using fresh fruit in this recipe is that you can just rely on the natural sweetness from the fruit or berries.
You can use a little sugar, more sugar or even no sugar and this jello would be pretty tasty. You may also use artificial sweeteners, although I try to keep that to a minimum. I’m sharing with you a jello recipe that is a happy medium. It is tart, fresh and a little sweet. This will also depend upon the choice of fruit or berries.
Using Fresh Fruit in Jello
So the third and last ingredient, but albeit the most important one, is the fruit. Or berries. Or both. I only make jello because I have the fresh berries at hand and it’s a beautiful way of consuming a lot of them.
You can use whatever fruit or berries you want really. The only difference will be in the amount of sugar you’d want to add to it. I would add less sugar to sweet fruit and berries such as mango, strawberries and blueberries. The amount of sugar in this recipe is because of tart berries, such as the red currants I’m using here, or raspberries, cranberries and green apples.
I honestly think that desserts such as jello are better with the tart fruits and berries. It balances the sweetness of the rest of the dessert pretty well. Because Norwegians always serve jello with a sweet vanilla custard sauce, a mango jello would most likely be too sweet.
How to Store Homemade Jello
Generally, it keeps well in the fridge for 7 to 10 days. It should be covered. Prepared jello will start to break down as it ages, with pools of liquid on the surface. Also it could get a more sour taste. At this point, it should not be eaten.
Jello should not be freezed because of the gelatin. Freezing will break the bonds that keep the gelatin together, which will cause the jello to separate when thawing.
Jello can easily be halved, doubled, tripled or even more, as long as you have a big enough pan to cook it in. I doubled this recipe because I was serving it at a larger gathering, and it went great.
How to Make this Homemade Jello Recipe with Fresh Fruit
Begin with cleaning your fruit or berries, running them under water. Add the berries, water and sugar to a large pan (2). Let it come up to a simmer on medium heat, but once it does, reduce the temperature to low and let it sit right under simmering point for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, find moulds for the jello. I use some small ramekins, but you may also pour it into larger bowls so people can take as much or as little as they want.
Once the berries have cooked for 30 minutes, take them off the heat. Pour the mixture through a sieve (3) and just let it drip. Do not help with a spoon or spatula, this will make a clearer jello (4).
Add gelatin sheets to a bowl of cold water for at least 5 minutes to soften up the leaves. If you’re using gelatin powder, you mix the powder with 3/4 cup water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes or until it gets thick.
For gelatin leaves, you take one leaf and gently press out the water from it (5-6), add it to the berries and stir (7-8). Continue with the rest of the gelatin sheets. For gelatin powder, once its thick you may stir it into the berries.
Add this jello mixture to your prepare moulds/ramekins/bowls. Let it cool to room temperature before covering and cooling completely in the fridge. It should set overnight, but often a few hours is enough.
Enjoyed this Homemade Jello Recipe? Here Are More Delicious Desserts
- The Best Summer Berry Pavlova Recipe
- White Chocolate Mousse with Rose and Pistachio
- Lemon Ricotta Cake with a Dreamy Creamy Pastry Cream
- Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows
- Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
- Salted Caramel Macarons with Homemade Caramel
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Homemade Jello Recipe with Fresh Fruit
- 1.1 lbs fruit or berries 500g. I used red currants, but raspberries would also work great.*
- 5 cups water 12 dl
- 1 cup sugar 190g. Optional**
- 18 leaves gelatin or 6 tbsp gelatin powder***
- Low simmer: Add the berries, water and sugar to a large pan. Let it come up to a simmer on medium heat, but once it does, reduce the temperature to low and let it sit right under simmering point for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Find containers: Meanwhile, find moulds or containers for the jello. I use some small ramekins, but you may also pour it into larger bowls so people can take as much or as little as they want.
- Run through a sieve: Once the berries have cooked for 30 minutes, take them off the heat. Pour the mixture through a sieve and just let it drip. Do not help with a spoon or spatula, this will make a clearer jello
- Plump up the gelatin: Add gelatin sheets to a bowl of cold water for at least 5 minutes to soften up the leaves. If you’re using gelatin powder, you mix the powder with 3/4 cup cold water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes or until it gets thick.
- Combine gelatin with berries: For gelatin leaves, you take one leaf and gently press out the water from it, add it to the berries and stir. Continue with the rest of the gelatin sheets. For gelatin powder, once its thick you may stir it into the berries.
- Cool the jello: Add this jello mixture to your prepare moulds/ramekins/bowls. Let it cool to room temperature before covering and cooling completely in the fridge. It should set overnight, but often a few hours is enough.
- Serve with: Delicious with a few extra fresh berries and a vanilla custard sauce!
- Store leftovers: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 7-10 days.
Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any specific dietary concerns, please consult with your healthcare practitioner.