Fruit

Fresh Fruit Jell-O

July 24, 2017
4 Stars
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

Just trust me: This is a delicious, insanely easy dessert that is actually worth making and eating. Using fresh fruit makes a delicious, pucker-worthy dessert, not to mention it’s no-bake and super refreshing. You can use pretty much any fruit, and you can substitute powdered agar-agar for the gelatin if you’re a vegetarian. For more details on how to tweak and build your own perfect Jello recipe, see my article on the subject.

Note: You can also reduce the fruit by 1/2 pound and add up to 1/2 cup acidic fruit juice, such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, or pomegranate) to the fruit mixture before cooking. You can also reduce the fruit by 1/2 pound and add up to 1/2 cup acidic fruit juice, such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, or pomegranate) to the fruit mixture before cooking. You can replace up to 50% of the liquid fruit base with alcohol to create a boozy dessert (FYI: 25% is my preferred amount, taste-wise). See details in article for more information (https://food52.com/blog...). —Erin Jeanne McDowell

  • Makes Makes 8-10 individual servings or 1 large, sliceable dessert (depending on the size of your molds)
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup cool water
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons powdered gelatin (4 envelopes)
  • 3 pounds fresh fruit, peeled and/or roughly chopped as necessary
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Place the water in a wide, shallow bowl, and evenly sprinkle the powdered gelatin over it. Let bloom for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, combine the fruit, sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit breaks down and releases it’s juices, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Strain the juice through a fine mesh strainer. Measure the juice – you should have about 4 cups of liquid. If possible, take the temperature of the liquid and ensure it’s not above 212°F.
  4. Melt the gelatin in the microwave or over a double boiler. Stir the melted gelatin into the liquid, and pour the liquid into your mold(s).
  5. Transfer to the refrigerator and let the jello set until fully chilled and firm, at least 1 hour.
  6. Favorite flavors: Strawberry-Lime (following the note above), Mango, Raspberry-Peach (layered, using technique described in article), Blackberry-Lemon (following the note above), Pineapple-Kiwi (layered, using technique described in article).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Olivia Noel
    Olivia Noel
  • Alexis Vadne Smith
    Alexis Vadne Smith
  • Katie
    Katie
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, came out on November 10th, 2020, and my pie merch collaboration with Food52 is out now too: https://food52.com/shop/merchants/manifest-food52/food52-x-erin-mcdowell

4 Reviews

Olivia N. August 12, 2021
I made this jello with 2.5 lbs of fresh, pitted cherries and .5 cups of lime juice and had a few issues... After heating the halved/pitted cherries with sugar for 10+ minutes, there seemed to be quite a bit of juice – but, upon straining, it was just 1.5 cups!!! I PANICKED and put the cherries back in the pot and continued to heat. I added a pint or so of frozen blueberries and another .5 lbs fresh cherries. I ended up scraping together 3.25 lbs of fruit juice (so still short of the 3.5 cups Was looking for), but I needed to use a food mill to get there. Maybe cherries produce less juice than other fruits? In any case, I'll be prepared with extra fruit on hand next time!

My husband and I also found this jello too sweet. Again, maybe it's just the particular fruit we used. I'm sure the sugar would have been on point if we'd used a more acidic fruit, like sour cherries. Though I am surprised that, even with the lime juice, this was still too sweet... I'll maybe add less sugar to the fruit next time, and then taste+adjust once I've strained the juices.

All in all.. a great recipe that I'm excited to try again with new combos!
 
Olivia N. August 12, 2021
**3.25 cups of fruit juice
 
Katie March 26, 2018
I have 2 mango trees and freeze them in season for my daily fruit /veggie smoothie. Lately, I have been making mango jello but it doesn't freeze well. tastes good but doesn't set well.
 
Alexis V. August 18, 2017
This is a great article re-inventing the Jello desserts of the 1950s/1960s, but I would suggest that the title is a tad misleading. Jello is a trademarked brand name, while the title "Fresh Fruit Jelly Recipes" would better hit the mark. Gelatin is such a great thickener for puddings, too, and eliminates the need for starch thickeners.