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Fresh Fruit Gel

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Fresh Fruit Gel

Fresh Fruit Gel - If you love, or once loved, the cool flavor and giggly texture of Jell-O, you’ll enjoy this healthy remake of a 1970s classic. Unlike packaged products found in supermarkets, at church picnics, and in cafeterias, this recipe relies on wholesome and nourishing ingredients––100 percent real fruit and fruit juice. It makes a light and refreshing warm weather snack or dessert, great for picnics, potlucks, pack lunches, or meals at home. I usually make enough to serve a few days in a row.

Serves: 8

Preparation Time: 30 min

Cooking Time: 10 min

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin (increase to 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons gelatin for a firm finger gelatin)
  • 4 cups apple, peach, pear, apple-berry, cherry or red or white grape juice, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot starch/powder, rounded, dissolved in 1/2 cup reserved juice
  • 2 to 3 cups fresh fruit (1 fruit or combination of 2 to 3 varieties): Blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, pitted sweet cherries, sliced strawberries, banana, melon balls, seedless red or green grapes, pitted, peeled, and sliced apricots, peaches, nect
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon, lime, or orange zest, finely grated (optional)
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup of cold or room temperature juice in a 1-quart Pyrex measuring container or heat-proof bowl.
     
  2. Dissolve arrowroot in 1/2 cup of fruit juice and set aside. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups fruit juice to a 2-quart pot. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add dissolved arrowroot and stir to dissolve. Simmer until the mixture turns clear, about 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat.
     
  3. Pour hot juice over the gelatin mixture and whisk to dissolve. Add optional vanilla and citrus zest, if desired. Pour cooled juice mixture into an oblong pan or large bowl or divide between 8 custard cups, wine goblets, or 8-ounce wide mouth jars. Allow to cool to the touch (at least 30 minutes), and then add fresh fruit. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours, before serving.
     
  4. Refrigerate leftovers and use within 5 days.
Nutritional Information

1 serving (blueberry-apricot) without nuts: 110 calories, 3 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate (2 g fiber), 1 g fat, 15 mg calcium, 5 mg sodium

1 serving (peach) without nuts: 103 calories, 2 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate (1 g fiber), 13 mg calcium, 4 mg sodium

Notes

Use beef or pork-based gelatin from a natural foods store or Knox unflavored gelatin from a supermarket.

Rule of thumb: 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin and 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons arrowroot per 4 cups of juice. If you inadvertently make the gel too firm, you can purée it in a blender or food processor, pour into custard cups or wine glasses, and chill for a mousse-like texture. Note: Enzymes in pineapple, papaya, and kiwi may prevent gelatin from setting unless you cook these fruits with the juice in step 2.

Photo Credit: Stacy Maxwell, 2006

Recipe Source: The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook by Rachel Albert and Don Matesz (Planetary Press, 2004)

Visit Rachel's blog: http://www.thehealthycookingcoach.com/
Visit Rachel's web site: http://www.thegardenofeatingdiet.com/

Rachel Albert has been a natural foods chef, cooking instructor, and freelance food and health writer for more than 20 years. She has led more than 1000 cooking classes in 5 states and 250+ articles published in national and regional publications.

She is the author of The Ice Dream Cookbook: Dairy-Free Ice Cream Alternatives with Gluten-Free Cookies, Compotes & Sauces (Planetary Press, 2008) and co-author of the award-winning book, The Garden of Eating: A Produce-Dominated Diet & Cookbook (Planetary Press, 2004)

Rachel leads group and private classes, cooking parties, kitchen coaching sessions, and healthy shopping tours in the Phoenix metropolitan area and runs the gluten-free blog www.TheHealthyCookingCoach.com

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