Recently a friend told me she has been using gelatin as a dietary supplement. I was immediately intrigued. I use gelatin occasionally when I make homemade marshmallows or for a few other recipes, but I had never thought of it as a “health food” I should be adding to my diet.
Gelatin comes from collagen, which is derived from animal by-products (vegans and vegetarians, you might want to skip this post!). It is extracted in several ways for commercial use and usually comes from pork, beef or even fish. It’s also easy to extract at home by making a long-simmered bone broth (I usually put last night’s roast chicken in my slow cooker with water for 8-10 hours on low).
Back in the old days on the farm, all animal parts were used as part of a healthy diet. That included those homemade bone broths. Our diets have since changed, and we’ve lost the benefits that come from consuming the collagen that’s used in gelatin. Collagen is the main protein found in our connective tissues – including bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, blood vessels, gut and even our corneas – and those are the places that benefit from consuming more of it.
As we age, our skin loses its tautness and starts to sag. Our joints ache and our bones can become brittle. Our hair and nails start to show signs of aging. All of these things can be helped by adding collagen, in the form of gelatin, back into our diets. Most of those gelatin skin creams don’t work, but eating or drinking it does (I’ll report back on this point – I’m going to try it for 30 days and takes notes). You can make your own bone broth or you can add certain kinds of gelatin to smoothies, hot and cold beverages, cereal and other foods like these natural fruit gummy snacks.
In any case, even if you aren’t sold on the benefits of gelatin, these fruit gummies are a fun homemade treat made with all-natural ingredients – honey, gelatin, lemon juice and ginger. I normally cringe when my kids ask for gummy candies because they are usually loaded with sugar and food coloring. These are a sweet snack alternative with healthy benefits to boot. Plus, they’re as easy as boiling water!
Some types of gelatin need to be dissolved before you consume them. For these gummy snacks, you want to use the kind that needs to be dissolved in hot liquid. This is usually the kind you find on the shelf of your grocery store, or you can order grass-fed beef or pork gelatin online.
You don’t have to use a mold, but I think it makes them kind of cute.This recipe makes 12-24 cubes depending on the size and depth of the mold.
Whisk the honey and lemon juice together first and then sprinkle the gelatin on top. This will ensure there aren’t any dry spots on the bottom of the pan, which can (and will) burn rather than dissolve. There isn’t really a need to let the gelatin soften for this recipe as it needs to with other recipes.
Cook it over medium heat, but don’t let it boil. Keep it at a bare simmer – you just need it hot enough to dissolve the gelatin. The liquid will turn clear (and smell kind of funky), and it will get thicker. Next, take it off the heat and pour it carefully into the molds. Let it sit until it cools completely. You can also speed up the process by putting the molds in the freezer. In about 10-15 minutes, they’ll be ready to pop out and eat!
Lemon Ginger Fruit Gummies
- 6 tablespoons gelatin powder
- 2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 1-2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- Whisk lemon juice, honey, and ginger in a non-reactive saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the top. Whisk well.
- Place over medium heat. Whisk constantly as the mixture comes to a simmer. Let simmer for a few minutes until it starts to thicken and the gelatin dissolves. Once the gelatin is dissolved, the mixture will also be clear.
- Remove from heat and pour into an 8 by 8-inch square pan or candy molds. Let cool completely before cutting into squares or removing from the molds.
- Alternatively, place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to speed up the cooling time.
Have you used gelatin as a supplement? What benefits have you seen?81