It’s strawberry season here in northwestern Pennsylvania, and I’m trying to enjoy as much of this delicious little fruit while I can. The trouble is that these fresh berries don’t last more than a couple of days after being picked, so I’m always looking for different ways to use them and make them last a little longer. I’m also always looking for ways to keep my family’s nutrition solid. During the colder months (which is about 8 out of the 12 months around here), we enjoy plenty of mineral and gelatin-rich bone broth as part of soups, stews, and sauces. But when the weather is hot and sunny, warm hearty soups are less appealing. That’s when I have to find more creative ways to get some gelatin into our diet. And that is how this recipe was developed.
Before we get to the “how”, let’s talk about the “what” and the “why”: What is gelatin and why would we want to eat it? Gelatin is a protein found in the skin and connective tissue (collagen) of animals (including humans) and is rich in the amino acids Arginine and Glycine. As you can imagine, because gelatin is a major component of our skin and connective tissue, dietary gelatin is very important to keep these tissues healthy. But the benefits of gelatin don’t stop at healthy hair, skin, nails, and joints. Gelatin is amazing for our digestive systems. It is incredibly soothing and healing for the cells in our digestive tract and the water-attracting properties of gelatin help to bring our digestive juices into contact with food particles, making digestion easier and more efficient. And because 70-80% of our immune system is housed in our gut, a healthy digestive system means a much healthier you! So, if you are interested in plump skin, cushioned joints, smooth digestion, and overall better health, give gelatin a try. As with any new food, I recommend you start slow and assess how your body responds.
I like to use Great Lakes unflavored beef gelatin (Be sure to get the orange/red canister. The green canister is collagen hydrolysate. While it possesses the same great health benefits, it won’t congeal into a jello-like consistency and is more appropriate for use in cold smoothies.). Vital Proteins is another great brand, and both can be found online.
Strawberry Lemonade Gummy Snacks
3/4 C water (room temperature)
6 Tbsp gelatin
1 C strawberries (hulled and sliced)
1 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Small pinch of salt
In a medium saucepan, quickly whisk together the water and gelatin, trying to avoid large clumps. Allow the gelatin to bloom in the water at room temperature for at least 2 minutes. The water and the gelatin will turn a dense jello consistency. While you wait, juice the lemons and prep the strawberries.
Puree the strawberries using a blender or food processor and set aside.
Heat the saucepan containing the water and the gelatin over low-medium heat. Whisk frequently as soon as the gelatin begins to soften. Continue to heat and whisk until the mixture is liquid and the gelatin has completely dissolved with no clumps remaining.
Add the honey to the water and gelatin and whisk.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly whisk-in the remaining ingredients (lemon juice, pureed strawberries, lemon zest, and salt).
Pour the mixture into silicone candy molds or an 8 inch glass baking dish
Allow the mixture to cool and set in the refrigerator for at least an hour. The gummy snacks are ready when they have become a dense jello-like consistency. Remove them from the candy molds or slice into squares and enjoy. Store in the refrigerator.