A few decades ago, it was a trendy thing to use Knox Gelatin for everything from tomato aspic, to losing weight, and repairing splitting nails. The company made claims about its health benefits and the general thought was, ‘it couldn’t hurt’.
Fast forward to the present and what I’ve learned about nutrition and traditional foods, and it seems there was a good reason consuming homemade soup was good for you: the broth or stock that was the base was an excellent source of cooked collagen or gelatin. Collagen is mostly composed of glycine and proline, two amino acids found in the bones, fibrous tissues & organs or animals that we no longer get enough of in our modern diet.
Yet these amino acids are the building blocks of every cell in our body, not only used in bone, teeth, skin, hair and nail growth. Collagen is present in all the smooth muscle tissues, blood vessels digestive tract, heart, gallbladder, kidneys and bladder holding the cells and tissues together. It’s difficult to emphasize just how important this is for our body. So, Knox was onto something with touting its product as healthy.
The best solution would be a return to regular consumption of homemade soup or broth but that could be a stretch for busy young families. Another more appealing solution, especially to kids who may not get excited about a bowl of chicken soup, would be a take off on the popular gummie bears. In this case, a jelly square or shape that combines a fun snack with the benefits of collagen.
Gelatin snacks are good not just for kids, however. The amino acids glycine and proline are also anti-inflammatory which is good news for boomers worried about joints and the heart. And, rather than spending a lot of money on expensive collagen creams for mature skin eating gelatin will work more effectively from the inside.
While Knox has been a long time producer of gelatin, my preference is a provider of gelatin from grassfed animals, rather than mass raised in factory farms. Great Lakes Gelatin has two kinds of collagen and the one I use is labelled Gelatin (in the red container), rather than the Collagen Hydrolysate (green container). The Gelatin is the one appropriate for getting food to gel (jelly, panna cotta, etc.).
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup fruit, fresh or frozen (cherries, blueberries, strawberries, melon)
- 1/2 cup water (optional replace with coconut water, pure fruit juice, tea)
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey (optional)
- 4 tbsp. unflavoured gelatin
- Line an 8-inch square baking tin with parchment
- Blend fruit in a blender and measure to make one cup
- Add lemon juice and sweetener to fruit and set aside
- Add water to saucepan and set over medium heat until hot but not boiling, then remove from heat
- While whisking water, add gelatin gradually, mixing until well blended and smooth. Immediately add to fruit mixture and blend thoroughly
- Pour into prepared pan and chill until firm. Cut into squares. Keep refrigerated.
- As with any gelatin, do not use fresh pineapple, kiwi or papaya--the natural enzymes in these fruits prevent proper setting
- This does not call for as much gelatin as some recipes because I find more makes them rubbery; use less gelatin if you prefer a texture more like the Jello brand
- The mixture can be poured into fun shaped molds