Looking to get more gelatin in your diet? Rich in trace minerals, amino acids, collagen and other matrix proteins, incorporating high-quality gelatin into your diet is an effective way to bolster protein intake and enhance digestion. Yet this interesting and little-discussed food can be all too difficult to come by in our sleek and processed modern food system. Because eating gritty gelatin supplements from the spoon is far from enjoyable, and enjoying a steamy gelatin-rich bowl of homemade bone broth can become tiresome in warmer months, it can be helpful to get a little creative with your nutrient dense culinary repertoire. Try these unconventional homemade berry jigglers as a fresh and fun way to use gelatin, and take delight in embellishing this tasty treat with a generous dollop of homemade whipped cream...
J-E-L-L-O, The NO-NO
When most of us think about gelatin, wiggly Jello cups are probably among the first foods that come to mind. There is a certain playful joy to making these quirky little desserts: dissolving the colorful, sweet smelling Jello powder in hot water and pouring it into heart-shaped molds; and the teasing magic and mystery of anxiously awaiting for the tasty mixture to set in the refrigerator. I must admit, part of the gleeful child in me was sad to accept that store bought gelatin is a nasty, sugar-full, nutrient deficient food: what a no-fun, grown-up thought.
Although the motto cheerfully reads "dessert is too important to be taken seriously...", there are some important considerations to make when it comes to gobbling down our treasured snack indulgences. Store bought gelatin dessert mixes are chemically-infused concoctions of sweeteners, flavorings, dyes and pork gelatin that has been collected from the skin of malnourished pork, heated and bleached for mass production. Now, does that sound appetizing? The popular sugar-free varieties can be even worse, as they are laced with questionable artificial sweeteners. Needless to say, because of the intense processing and cheap production methods, these commercial impostors lack the bountiful, beautiful nutrients that naturally occur in nondenatured gelatin products. The health benefits of bovine gelatin are numerous, and have been recognized in the diets of traditional cultures for thousands of years- long before colorful dessert cups lined grocery store shelves.
Yet as with most things on the market today, not all gelatin is created equal. Sally Fallon has recommended Bernard Jensen Bovine Gelatin, derived from the highest quality Grade A cows. While all gelatin naturally contains minute amounts of glutamic acid/MSG, this particular product is handled in a way that virtually eliminates this factor. Bernard Jensen Gelatin is in fact considered so safe and beneficial that it is a key ingredient in the Nourishing Traditions Kit for Homemade Baby Formula providing infants with optimal ease of digestion and nutrient enhancement.
Homemade Berry Jigglers
2 1/2 cups berries (fresh or frozen)
2 TBSPs gelatin
1-2 TBSPs raw honey (optional)
1. Heat berries and juice on the stove over medium-low heat until they begin to soften. If needed, puree with an immersion blender or carefully pour into a standard blender and process until smooth. Be careful not to splatter when blending these hot (and clothes-staining) liquids.
2. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over the top of the fruit and then stir slowly and consistently to combine throughout. Add honey if desired for extra sweetness.
3. Pour the gelatin mixture into molds, a glass baking dish or a stainless steel ice cube tray.
4. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- When it comes to fruit, it is best to stick with organic as much as possible. Although the price tag may be shocking, thin-skinned berries and apples rapidly absorb the heavy pesticides used in conventional growing. Consult the Environmental Working Group's Clean Fifteen, Dirty Dozen: a comprehensive list that will help you prioritize your produce selection.
- Try to avoid commercial juices. Even 100% organic options lack the fiber, enzymes and nutrients of fresh whole fruit, while being loaded with sugar. If you don't own a juicer, you can substitute filtered water, or simmer pears or apples on the stove for about one hour to liquefy.
- Avoid using tropical fruits when making jigglers- the high enzyme content causes a predigestion or breakdown of the gelatin, and prevents them from setting correctly.
- For a lighter consistency, try using all fresh squeezed juice. Adding in some juiced greens is a great way to get some veggie nutrition in as well.