In the last few weeks I’ve become obsessed.
Obsessed with gelatin.
Yes, it might seem weird. Ok, it IS weird. But, I’m completely fascinated by the stuff.
Gelatin is magical. It’s liquid when warm, solid and gelatinous when cool. Amazing!
Think about it. Cooking bones for a length of time gives us the the most deeply nourishing food – broth.
When done correctly the broth will thicken and become gelatinous when it cools.
Like I said…it’s magical!
If you’ve never made stock I’m sure you’re familiar with gelatin in the form of the shivering colored dessert you enjoyed as a kid. I will never forget the green and pink desserts I had to scoop into plastic containers while working at a grocery store deli in college. Ick!
Today, I’m going to introduce you to a different kind of gelatin. One that has been used in traditional cooking for centuries contains critical nutrients for our health AND can be made into your favorite childhood dessert – a clean food version that is.
What is gelatin?
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, flavorless solid substance derived from the collagen found in animal bones. It is a great source of amino acids, which support healthy skin, strong bones, proper muscle synthesis and balanced mood.
What are the benefits of gelatin?
Slowly cooked bone broth is also an excellent source of gelatin, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. However, you may not have the time or inclination to simmer bones on your stovetop all day. This is where a gelatin powder can be an great substitute – if it is a variety that has been produced from healthy animals. I like this brand.
At 6 grams per tablespoon, gelatin is a great source of easily absorbable protein. This helps promote growth and wound healing in the body. It also contains collagen and amino acids. Of particular interest is the amino acid lysine since it is utilized in muscle building and calcium absorption – two essential components of building strength in and around our bones.
Gelatin can be especially supportive for people suffering from inflammatory joint or bone diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis can potentially help manage inflammation and pain in the joints.
A compromised gut and digestive system can exacerbate inflammation and autoimmune conditions, many of which are connected to joint health such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Gelatin has been shown to enhance gut integrity and digestive strength by improving digestion and restoring the mucosal lining in the stomach.
How do I incorporate gelatin?
Gelatin can be stirred into warm water and taken as a drink on an empty stomach.
However, it can also be used in a variety of different recipes (a much yummier way of consuming it). To steer clear of food colorings, processed sugar and other additives gelatin can be heated with a juice or other liquid, sweetener and flavorings to create homemade jello or gummy candies. You can even make your own marshmallows!
Gelatin is an all-around nourishing food that supports joint and digestive health as well as liver health, hormone balance, hair, teeth nails and many other body systems. Certainly a food to start stocking in your pantry today!
A quick Google search for “homemade gelatin gummies” or “homemade chewable vitamins” will yield a long list of recipes to choose from.
The recipe below is the simplest one I’ve found and a great way to get started. You can use different types of juices (think blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate etc), add your favorite essential oils (make sure they’re safe for consumption), and even experiment with some spices. I used ground turmeric and a few drops of ginger essential oil to create an anti-inflammatory version. You can leave these out for your first go around if you want.
The possibilities are endless! I literally spent several hours on Saturday making a variety of different concoctions, using different sweeteners, juices and spices. My fridge is stocked and we’re enjoying gummy candies after dinner….just like 1989 🙂
Homemade Sour Gummy Candies with Turmeric and Ginger
2 tablespoons gelatin (I used this brand)
1/3 lemon or lime juice
3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup or xylitol
2-3 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2-3 drops ginger essential oil
- In a small saucepan whisk together the gelatin into the lemon or lime juice and add your sweetener of choice. The juice should be cool. Warm liquid will cause the gelatin to get lumpy. It will be a thick consistency when you first start to add the gelatin.
- Heat the juice and gelatin over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the gelatin melts and everything is nice and liquidy (yes, that’s a technical term). Stir in the turmeric and ginger essential oil, if using.
- Taste your gelatin liquid and add more sweetener if needed.
- Carefully pour your gelatin liquid into small silicone molds, ice cube trays, or a glass baking dish. If you use the glass baking dish you can cut your gummy’s into whatever size you want.
- Place your liquid gummy candies in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once they become firm in the freezer they will keep their form.
- Remove the gummy’s from the freezer and remove from their mold. Store your gummy’s in a jar or other glass container in the fridge. They will stay fresh for about 7 days….if they last that long!
Recipe adapted from MommyPotamus
Note: In the above pictures I played around with different mixes of juices and sweeteners. Get an organic juice that is NOT from concentrate to ensure you’re getting the best quality. Read the ingredients so you can steer clear of juice with added sugars and other weird ingredients.
Tell me, what is your favorite gummy candy or flavor as a kid? How can we recreate that into a healthy, nourishing treat?