If your kids are anything like mine, they love fruit snacks.
The problem? Those store bought fruit snacks don’t fill up those tummies and inevitably, they just end up wanting another snack right after. So I started researching recipes on how to make my own and learned that the gelatin pictured above is a great source of protein AND it’s anti-inflammatory, known to improve digestion, and promote healthy skin, hair, nails and more. Umm, SOLD!
So, I started making my own. First, I started by using various fruits and cooking them down with juice and honey. I still sometimes do this, but since I have been in the habit of making a large batch of fruit snacks once a week, I decided to opt for a faster version and started buying fruit juices instead.
For this recipe, I used a fruit juice smoothie with a strawberry-banana flavor. I have tried most of the juices of this brand and they are all great. I have also used elderberry syrup and made fruit snacks with it during flu season. When choosing a juice to use, be sure to stay away from anything with pineapple juice in it. There is a perfectly good and scientific reason for why it won’t gel, but I’m not a scientist and so you will not get an explanation from me :)
So, gather your ingredients:
Fruit Juice (can be smoothie, can have veggies, can be homemade, store bought, etc.)
Gelatin (I like the Great Lakes unflavored gelatin--a great source of protein!)
Next, gather your supplies. You will need:
Pizza cutter (optional- but a time saver! You will see…)
First, measure out 4 cups of juice and pour into your medium saucepan.
Next, sprinkle 8 tablespoons of gelatin on top of the juice that is in the saucepan. You will immediately notice that the juice is starting to wrinkle on top. This is called “blooming”. Continue to sprinkle the rest of the gelatin on and then allow it to bloom for a minute or so. Do NOT mix. Go ahead and change that load of laundry while you wait ;)
After a couple of minutes, you should see a nice, wrinkly bloom on top of the juice. Go ahead and grab the whisk and stir it until it is smooth.
Now, transfer the mixture to the stove top and warm it up over medium heat. You want to bring the mixture from a thick, smoothie like consistency to a thin runny consistency, but you do not want to boil it at all. This process usually only takes a minute or two. Stir constantly while heating.
Once the mixture is warmed up and thinned out, pour it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and place it in the fridge to set for 1-2 hours.
After the mixture is set up, remove it from the fridge and slide it off of the cookie sheet (parchment paper still attached). Now, remember that pizza cutter that I told you to grab? This is the fun part. Slice your large rectangle into little squares by making rows and columns. Sure, you could pour your mixture into cute little molds or use cute little cookie cutters, OR you could get it done the fastest way possible and do it this way. Whatever you have time for. Notice my rows are crooked and uneven? I didn’t even bother taking the time to do those nice and neat. Because that’s real, people.
Lastly, peel them off the parchment paper, pop them into a container, and store them in the fridge. I have no idea how long these keep because my kids eat them up pretty fast.
Now, these are our substitute for fruit snacks, but they do have a jello consistency. They are not going to be super chewy like the store bought ones, but I think that’s a good thing since they won’t get stuck in your teeth.
These also make a great treat when served up with some whipped cream for a special dessert! The jello below was made with frozen strawberries and apple juice that I blended together for a smooth consistency before sprinkling on the gelatin. I used a little less gelatin because I was going for a lighter, more jello like consistency.
That's it! Have fun trying new recipes. If you have a juicer at home, this would be a great way to put that to use as well. I'd love to hear your favorite juice combinations!