So last week I mentioned one other food I was researching and experimenting with along with the psyllium husk disaster zone and that is gelatin.
So you mean that stuff that makes jelly and is made from horses hooves, cows and pigs carcass and everything else scraped off the killing room floor? Well…yes sort of and yes all animal. So if you are vegetarian or vegan, you might want to stop reading right now however as I have explained before, my approach to the food I eat is what feels good to me in terms of physical effects – energy levels, no pain, bloating, tiredness, nothing that is addictive to me, preferring anything that makes me feel refreshed, nourished, alive and sometimes that extends to animals and animal products like fish, eggs, occasional dairy and now gelatin.
While there is an arm’s length list of benefits, the ones that jumped out and smacked me in the head are as follows:-
- Full of collagen – you know the stuff that makes your skin smooth, beautiful, elastic and not wrinkly – yes hello!
- Improves digestion
- Can heal the lining of your stomach and digestive tract
- Assists with weight loss in increasing the production of the Human Growth Hormone and improving metabolism
- Good for bone and joint health
- Source of protein
- Improves sleep
And the list goes on and on. Seems that in the olden days when they ate the whole animal, they were a darn site healthier than the modern counterparts who just eat the lean muscle parts like steak. Or those of us who don’t even eat that part!
So for me especially loving the first benefit, I was open to experimentation and I remember many years ago someone saying something very similar to me but as with all things, when you are not ready to listen it just doesn’t sink in. So I’m ready now, bring it on!
The first step is to get the best gelatin you can find and unfortunately the supermarket variety just doesn’t cut it here in terms of benefits. (Maybe though if you are just testing it out to see if you like working with it and it’s easy enough, then try what you find at the supermarket first.) However it seems Great Lakes Gelatin is about the best you can get in Australia.
So then I went searching again on the net for some recipes and they have to be easy and yummy or else I am not interested, so the first stop was gummy bears. Cute little lollies that can be healthy and beneficial – unbelievable!
I picked out two recipes and gave them a whirl. One was coconut vanilla gummies, which I was hoping would turn out like those milk bottle lollies and another was sweet and sour gummies. This is where hoping and reality sometimes don’t meet though!!
My first batch of the coconut vanilla, were awful. Not firm enough – they all stuck together ok but it tasted more like jelly that set a bit too hard and it wasn’t sweet enough. I tried using stevia and once again it confirms my aversion to using stevia in cooking. I love it in my tea but that’s about it. Which is a shame because it is super low carb – maybe there is a trick that I don’t know about?
Anyway, so I tolerated them and didn’t throw them away and actually got a bit used to them which then spurred me on to improve the recipe and make another batch.
Before I made another batch of those though I tried a different recipe originally from http://www.mommypotamus.com/homemade-gummy-stars/ – I was a bit dubious as I thought how many is only 1/3 of a cup of lemon juice going to make and how many lemons is that anyway? Despite my hesitations and only two lemons on hand, guess how many lemons makes a1/3 of a cup of lemon juice? Lucky for me it was 2 lemons!
I taste tested the batch before I set it and needed to add more rice malt syrup than the recipe advised because the lemon was overpowering and the balance wasn’t right for me. Also the gelatin seemed to dilute the sweetness quite a bit.
And so the result was awesome! Much better texture than my first batch attempt in that it was closer to the chewy, sticky gummy bear texture I remember from lollies made from sugar like snakes, raspberries and milk bottles.
So victory! Thanks Mommypotamus!
Which got me thinking back to the coconut vanilla batch – the proportion of gelatin to liquid was all wrong. In the sour gummies above it was 1/3 cup liquid to 3 TBS of gelatin where as in the other they were trying to tell me 3 TBS of gelatin to 1 cup of liquid – no wonder it didn’t work. You would need 9 TBS gelatin for all that liquid.
So even up to writing this I have tried a few different things and still I am not happy with the result of the coconut milk ones. Luckily I could just remelt the batch add a few more things and go again but it is still not wow! enough to share yet.
So in the meantime have a go at these ones…
3 TBS gelatin
2 lemons juiced (1/3 cup juice)
4 TBS rice malt syrup
Whisk everything in a saucepan with a fork until there are no lumps.
Heat over low heat until it’s nice and melty, stirring constantly.
Pour mixture into silicon moulds, chill in fridge until firm.
Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Beautiful! Made 16 large heart lollies.
- So if you don’t have the moulds, others were just setting it in a tray then cutting out shapes with tiny cookie cutters, or slicing it in cubes. All still works.
- When working with gelatin too apparently the best method is to ‘bloom’ the gelatin in cold liquid first before adding it to any hot liquids. This ensures it’s all dispersed evenly first so you don’t get lumps from it not mixing properly in the hot liquid. So the recipe above follows this method because you are adding it to the cold first.
While there is lots more for me to explore recipe-wise with gelatin the best thing is that it is also completely user friendly if I don’t want to make anything special at all. I can mix a teaspoon full in my tea or hot chocolate and not taste it, or add it to soup.
I will give it a couple of months and see if I can notice pronounced health benefits (and less wrinkles) and report back, at least though in the meantime it’s easy to incorporate and feels good.
Lollies for everyone! Let me know if you love them too.
(PS: Vegans and vegetarians – if you made it this far, Agar Agar is a great substitute for gelatin, made from seaweed with great health benefits too, just not the collagen part.)