Jello, From Scratch

We rarely have jello salad, because I don’t like the idea of eating artificial color and flavor, and sugar. I could use plain gelatin and fruit, but several years ago I learned how to make it from scratch, and we love it! Therefore, every time we butcher chickens we skin the feet and freeze them. About once a year we have enough accumulated that I decide I need to clean out the freezer and make gelatin. This time, I took a few pictures of the process so I could show how I do it. This is my big 20-quart stock pot. There are a couple of turkey feet, but mostly chicken. And by the way, everything that has ever touched the ground or the air was peeled off.IMG_1634

Cover the feet with a lot of water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for a day…or two…or three, depending on how life is going. I keep the lid on most of the time.


When you finally decide you have time to drain the broth, pour the whole lot into a colander. Discard the bones. I think I usually add some vinegar at the beginning of cooking, but I forgot this time. The vinegar helps pull the good stuff out of the bones.


Chill the broth thoroughly, then scrape off all the fat you can from the top. The broth should be very firm. I remember one time it was so jelled that when I pulled a spoonful out it escaped and bounced across the kitchen!


Next, clarify it. This is what I do; these instructions are from The Encyclopedia of Country Living, by Carla Emery:


I clarified this particular batch twice, and I wish I would have taken a picture of the second time. I did it right, for once, and was able to scoop out the egg white, with most of the solids in it. Fun! Next, add juice concentrate. I have never found frozen juice concentrate here, like I got when we lived in Michigan. I make my own, though, following some other of Carla Emery’s instructions. I cook plums in a little water till they are falling apart, then drain them in the colander and freeze the juice in a plastic milk bottle. I thaw the milk bottles of juice upside down so the juice drips out as it thaws. When the ice that’s left in the bottle is looking kind of clear, I refreeze what thawed and discard the ice that’s left. It is mostly water, as the sugary part of the juice is what thaws first. I repeat the process two more times and end up with a very thick, syrupy juice. It’s great for flavoring, and much sweeter than the sour plums I start with. Just add enough juice, and some sugar/honey/maple syrup/stevia, till it tastes right.


Then, I add fruit. This is frozen plums, blackberries, and cherries, and fresh apples and bananas. I just put in whatever I have on hand. (No raw kiwifruit or pineapple, though; they contain enzymes that will prevent the gelatin from setting.) Put in the fridge and chill, then enjoy! It is softer than commercial gelatin, and has kind of a creamy texture. Delicious!



About NZ Filbruns

A home-school family living in New Zealand, with a desire to share what Christ has done for us.
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6 Responses to Jello, From Scratch

  1. Ruth says:

    Ok, I read this when you first posted it and you got me inspired. I just peeled the first turkey feet in my life. I’m excited to try the broth. I only have a few feet, so I’ll freeze them till we butcher the rest in a couple weeks. thanks for sharing!

  2. Ruth Henderson says:

    Well, now I have a pan of broth! I’m getting ready to clarify it, and I thought I’d look it up in my book. What page is this, or, what section is it under? I just can’t seem to find it….thought I’d read the whole article. Thanks again 🙂

    • NZ Filbruns says:

      It’s in the section “Introduction to Animals”, Meat Products–Gelatin. I just looked in the index under “gelatin” and found it. I have the Ninth Edition of The Encyclopedia of Country Living, and it’s on page 585. Hope that helps!

  3. NZ Filbruns says:

    You’re welcome! Hope you enjoy the gelatin.

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