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This is Volume 5-B - Frequently Asked Questions.
"Jell-O" is a brand name from one company. The other companies that make the same thing call it "Gelatin Dessert." The ingredients in a box of Jell-O include sugar, flavors and colorings, and gelatine.
As an aside, Jell-O got its start in my home town of LeRoy, NY. It was invented there and sold door to door until our town tycoon bought the recipe and patent for a couple hundred dollars. It was produced for the longest time in town (a large factory on North Street that still stands) and was later sold to General Foods. And the rest, as they say, is history. Yes, there is even a Jell-O museum in town.
May 1994, Bill Andrews (rit.edu)
Knox Brand Unflavored Gelatine is a convenient way to use the stuff, a packet at a time. Each small box of Jell-O has the equivalent of one packet of Unflavored Gelatine in it. So, if you want to mix up some Fruit Punch Gelatine using Knox packets and some fruit punch you like, you just need to set aside one packet for every two cups of juice.
This is a good time to point out that when things get cold, it's harder to taste them. (This is why you should let your ice cream soften a bit before you eat it, by the way.) Anyhow, if you've ever made popsicles by freezing orange juice and noticed that they didn't taste as strongly flavored as "real" popsicles or as a regular glass of (the same) orange juice, keep that in mind when you roll-your-own gelatine. I would recommend using concentrated juices, and reconstituting them double-strength - that is, only add half or so of the water called for. Or, work with this effect instead of against it, as I do in Kelly's Whisky Jell-O made with Minute Maid Lemonade. (The lemon flavor retreats to the background, letting the whisky flavor take center stage.)
"I prefer to use Knox unflavored gelatine and would appreciate all help in converting Jello-O recipes. For example, when a recipe calls for one small box of strawberry Jell-O, what substitution can I make using Knox? Thank you!"
A small box of XYZ Jell-O jells two cups of liquid. And, the Knox "Fruit Juice Gelatine" recipe (on the side of the box) calls for 1 envelope of dry gelatine per 2 cups of liquid.
So there's your equivalence. Any time you see a reference to "small box of Jell-O" use a packet of unflavored gelatine, and substitute fruit juice, fruit punch or fruit juice cocktail for the water used in the recipe. You may need to add sugar as well.
Another approach: mix up your fruit juice or fruit drink from frozen concentrate, but don't add as much water as the can calls for. Then you can try boiling that and Knoxifying it.
Finally, something that I've pondered but haven't tried: mixing up a batch of Kool-Aid and using that in place of the water in the recipe, and one packet of Knox per small box of Jell-O in the recipe. That might do the trick too. (You may want to reduce the water specified in the Kool-Aid instructions, e.g. make it double-strength.) Anyone want to try it?
March 1996, for Eileen Herman (washington.edu)
"Anyone care to clarify just what is in gelatin? Is it true that horse hooves are the primary ingredient?
"Hey, could you please help me. A friend of mine will not eat one of my favorite recipes because it contains Jello and she says that it is made from animal hooves. Is this true or some dumb rumor?It's partly true. Jell-O and Knox Unflavored Gelatine are animal products, but not from horses. If she's eating Vegan, then the answer is: no instant Jell-O. I understand it's basically ground-up cow hooves and skin.
It's certainly not "vegan" in the usual sense. As far as Kosher, some reform rabbis have ruled that if the animal origin is completely unrecognizable, it's allowed. Another rabbinical opinion is that as long as the bones are completely dry before processing, it's okay. (You can buy kosher gelatine in Israel, that apparently is processed that way.)
Kraft General Foods has a line of pre-made snack products that are made from the vegetable stuff (carrageenan, mostly) that come in different flavors, are vegetarian, and do not require refrigeration. So she should be able to eat those.
As far as your cooking: nothing works quite the same as animal gelatine. There are some Israeli Kosher "Quick Jelly" instants out there, which are made with vegetable jelling agents (such as carrageenan or agar-agar), but they definitely behave differently than the gelatine we're used to - last time I made some, it was starting to thicken while it was still warm. For more on their product, see the Israeli Jelly section.
A word about Kosher and Kosher marks: Anyone can put a "K" on a box. The symbols to watch for are... ummm... I have them around here somewhere; I think one of them's a U in a circle, another's a K in a six-pointed star.
March 1995, for George David 'Merlin' McCallion (asu.edu);
October 1995, Geoffrey O. Strebel (clarkson.edu)
The most common question I get about the tiddly Jell-O is, doesn't the alcohol keep it from setting? The answer is no, not as such, because I don't use just alcohol. I believe that pure alcohol will not jell, the same way it won't freeze. But the alcohol doesn't act as a catalyst (the way the fresh pineapple will); there just needs to be enough water to react with the gelatin and firm up.
And if you read the first paragraph, you'll learn it's not the citric acid in the pineapple that keeps it from working. You can used canned pineapple, if you want to; you can also use oranges and so forth with impunity (or panache, if that's more your style).
Don't add too much water! Make sure you have all of the gelatine in the bowl! If you only dump in half of the package (by mistake), the jello won't set -- because there's too much water for the amount of gelatine. If you try to add the rest of it later, when the water is no longer boiling hot, it won't dissolve... and it (1) won't set *and* (2) will have bits of grainy texture to it.
The long and short of it: If it's going to be warm where you're going, keep it cool.
Remember that soda pop will freeze if you leave it in the freezer, too.
January 1996, Marilyn J. ("Jell-O Lady") Felling (aol.com)
January 1996, Marilyn J. ("Jell-O Lady") Felling (aol.com)
For another recipe similar to Jell-O 1-2-3, but made with easier-to-find ingredients, please see Sherbet 1-2-3.
Introduction | A-E | F-P | Q-Z | Non-alc. | Other Recipes | Pudding | Tips | FAQ | History | Flavors | Want Ads | Links | Gallery | Index | liquor | misc. ingredientsThe Jellophile / C.M.J. (Chaz) Baden / hazelweb at boston-baden.com