"Jello Shot a Day" Keeps the Doctor Away??
Hey, children of the 80's! Did you eat Knox Blox growing up? Remember those? Parents would add extra gelatin to regular Jello so that you could transport a rectangle of it in your school lunch? They were pretty satisfying. Moms like mine went the extra mile and made them with fruit juice sometimes - better than the coloring, dye, and solid sugar regular Jello offered. Then there was college. Jello shot memories?
When kids are sick, they don't want to eat. This is a great opportunity to dose them with some system building gelatin (or agar for veggies) and spike them with some herbs and tinctures in the process. Sick adults? Well, we are really just big kids, aren't we? Great for an on-the-run snack for busy parents as well. For adults, it's best to tell them precisely which herbs are involved in an herbal jello treat so that they can eliminate any possibility of a contraindication with their medication or adult allergies.
James Green is a great resource for all things tincture and herbal. As a rule of thumb, add tincture and teas to the adult versions (think healing Jello shot - take THAT, college!), and for kids, fruit juice, very light teas, and elderberry syrups are ideal.
Homemade Herbal Jello
- 2 cups of 100% fruit juice
- 2 one-ounce envelopes of unflavored gelatin or 2 tablespoons natural unflavored gelatin
- herbs of your choice (see list below)
- (optional) tablespoon (or a little more) of honey for extra sweetening
- (optional) 1-2 tablespoons elderberry syrup (if you do this, do NOT add the honey)
Set aside 1/2 cup of chilled juice in a heat proof mixing bowl.
Place the herbs you want to use in a jar. For dried herbs, use about 1 teaspoon (if finely powdered or strongly flavored) to 3 teaspoons for bulkier pieces like elderberries. If using fresh herbs, chop and fill the jar as much as you can.
Heat 1 1/2 cups of juice to almost boiling, pour over the herbs and cover with a saucer. Allow to steep for about 15 or 20 minutes, strain, then return to heat and bring to a boil. This will happen quickly, since the mixture is still fairly warm.
While the juice is reheating, sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the reserved chilled juice and let sit for 1 minute.
Carefully, pour the boiling juice over the gelatin/chilled juice mixture and stir for about 5 minutes until dissolved, adding honey a minute or two into your mixing. (I don’t add honey, we think fruit juice by itself is sweet enough.)
Pour into desired mold. I use glass bread pans for this size of a batch.
Cool in your fridge for about three hours, then cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator.
I like to grow my own herbs and make my own tinctures. If you don't have your own, here are some ideas to get you started. Be sure to strain all material out before you add gelatin.
- Elderberry: extremely useful antiviral, helps give gelatin a pretty red color
- Lemon Balm: helpful for viral infections, cold sores, tummy upsets; it’s calming and conducive to a restful sleep
- Olive Leaf: antibacterial, antiviral, lowers fevers
- Peppermint: indigestion, colic
- Catnip: strong antifungal, helps insomnia and colic, not for use by pregnant women
- Chamomile: anti-inflammatory, soothes muscle spasms in stomach, calming, induces sleep; use caution if highly allergic to ragweed
- Passionflower (leaves & stems): relieves muscle tension, helps sleep; do not use if pregnant (stimulates uterine contractions) and should not be used by children under 6 without medical supervision.
- Valerian: helps insomnia and irritable bowels
- Ginger: antibacterial, antiparasitic, helps colds and upset stomachs, very effective for nausea, indigestion and morning sickness
- Yarrow: lowers fevers, helpful for colds and indigestion, not for use while pregnant, use caution if allergic to ragweed
- Blackberry leaf: helpful for mild diarrhea and sore throat
We are not medical professionals. We offer this recipe as something that can help families stay well, and prevent illness. If you are very sick, be sure to seek the advice of the pros.