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When I’m thinking back to all the classic dishes and desserts of my childhood, Jell-O is definitely in the top ten.
I couldn’t get enough of the wobbly treat.
No flavor was off limits, as far as I was concerned. And the dessert shelf never disappointed in offering a rainbow of choices.
But by far, the saccharine, mouth-puckering strawberry flavor was my favorite.
Notice how I called it strawberry flavor? Make no mistake about it – the real fruit was nowhere to be found when this sweet treat was on the menu.
As I grew older, childhood tastes faded as my maturing palate demanded more sophisticated dishes and healthier desserts.
But this refrigerated indulgence has entered my life once again, thanks to my kids, who are on a constant quest to get as much sugar into their bodies as possible.
I happily disappoint them at every turn, denying them overly-processed foods. However, their panicked pleas for treats began a search for natural options that I could quickly and easily make at home.
Fortunately, some desserts can be made just like the classics, but even better and – more importantly – healthier.
Choosing my favorite flavor was a no-brainer. In this recipe, I’ve enhanced the natural sweetness of the strawberries with honey.
While the recipe does call for a bit of added sugar, at least it isn’t processed.
My hand is gentle, adding just enough to alter the taste slightly and to bring a sticky grin to my kids’ faces. However, the aim here is for the fresh strawberries and puree to take the spotlight.
And what makes this mama’s heart beat with joy?
There is nary an artificial dye or preservative in sight. We can make dishes that honor what food is supposed to look like. Keep the neon colors for neon signs, and let’s indulge in the often gentle, more nuanced colors of real food.
Taking a spoonful, I could still spy quite a few seeds, even after straining – each one packing a nutritional punch.
Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin, 16 ounces, available on Amazon
If that’s hard to come by or price-prohibitive, a Kosher version will do just fine.
I’m usually in a hurry for most things, so when I chill this dessert, I like to use smaller vessels. That means less time in the fridge, and a faster delivery to the table.
Keep in mind that this dessert will continue to solidify, so that delightful wobble will only last for a day or so. Refrigerate it any longer, and the gelatin will take on a stiffer texture.
Because of the spectacular preservation qualities of the lime juice, the taste should hold for at least three days.Print
Sweet and tart, naturally sweetened strawberry gelatin is a healthy homemade dessert. It’s simple to make, with just five ingredients.
- 2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, divided (about 20 ounces)
- 3 ounces lime juice (from about 2–3 large)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons powdered gelatin
- 1 cup water
- Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
- Additional sliced strawberries, for serving (optional)
- Slice stems from strawberries and puree 2 cups fruit in a blender or food processor.
- Slice remaining strawberries and set aside.
- Strain puree through a medium or fine mesh strainer into a bowl. This should yield about 1 cup of puree.
- Stir in lime juice and honey.
- Measure 1/2 cup puree into a mixing bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the surface. Set aside to bloom for 2-3 minutes.
- Place a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining puree and the water, and bring to a boil.
- Whisk the hot puree into the bowl with the puree and gelatin mixture, whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes, until the gelatin is completely dissolved and the mixture is thoroughly combined.
- Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. When the mixture is as thick as the white of an egg, spoon off any foam that has risen to the surface.
- Add the sliced strawberries to molds or 4 glasses and pour the chilled mixture into each container, about 1/2 cup each. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, until it wobbles.
- To unmold, dip each mold in warm water for 1 minute, then invert onto a plate. Or, serve directly in a glass. Top with whipped cream and additional sliced fruit before serving.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 minutes
- Category: Gelatin
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: Strawberry, gelatin, honey
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep Strawberries and Measure Ingredients
With a knife, slice the stems from the strawberries and discard them. If you have a strawberry hulling tool, feel free to use that!
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients. Juice the limes.
Slice the remaining 1/2 cup of strawberries, and set them aside. For us, this was about 6 medium-sized berries.
Strain the puree through a medium or fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Don’t aim to strain out the seeds, just the excess pulp. Measure out 1 cup of puree. Any strained pulp and excess can be added to a smoothie.
Stir in the lime juice and honey.
Raw honey is the best option to use, as it retains most of its nutrients and doesn’t contain any added ingredients. Feel free to use commercially produced honey if that’s the only option you can find.
Step 2 – Bloom Gelatin
Measure 1/2 cup of strawberry puree into a mixing bowl, and sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the surface.
Let it bloom for 2 to 3 minutes. Blooming means the granules absorb the liquid they’re scattered on. Always bloom the granules on just a portion of the overall liquid used in a recipe.
Step 3 – Prepare Base
Place a medium-sized saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining puree and the water, and bring to a boil.
Whisk the hot puree into the bowl with the puree and gelatin mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, until all of the granules have dissolved.
Step 4 – Refrigerate and Remove Foam
Place the bowl in the refrigerator.
When the mixture is as thick as the white of an egg, about an hour later, spoon off any foam that has risen to the surface.
Step 5 – Refrigerate Again and Serve
Distribute the sliced strawberries evenly among 4 gelatin molds or dessert glasses, and pour the gelatin mixture into each serving dish, about 1/2 cup each.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, until it wobbles.
To unmold, dip each mold in warm water for about a minute, then invert onto a plate. Or, serve right in the parfait glasses.
You can add a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top before serving, or more sliced strawberries if you like.
Can I Use Sheet Gelatin?
Powdered gelatin is more readily available in US supermarkets than the sheet variety. Should you have sheets on hand, however, you can still use them.
One sheet is equal to approximately 1 teaspoon of the powdered version. This recipe would require 6 sheets.
To prep leaf gelatin for use in this recipe, soak the sheets in 12 cups of cold water for about 5 to 10 minutes, to allow it to soften. Remove from the water, and squeeze out the excess. Then add the softened gelatin to the puree and allow it to bloom as directed in the recipe. Discard the water.
Was this just as easy to make as the store-bought boxed stuff? Did you add extra strawberries, and a dollop of whipped cream on top? Tell us all about it below and rate the recipe too!
Gelatin is a versatile ingredient that helps to make magical desserts. If you liked the texture of this dessert, you’ll love our other sweet puddings and custard-style desserts, like these:
- Matcha Mint Tea Gelatin with Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream
- Panna Cotta with Figs and Honey: The Ideal Make-Ahead Dessert
- Chocolate Panna Cotta with Oranges and Pistachios
Photos by Katherine and Eddie D’Costa, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on May 18, 2011. Last updated: August 4, 2020 at 19:43 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
Eddie and Katherine D’Costa are a married professional chef and journalist duo from Atlanta, where they cook up a variety of international dishes, tested for the home cook. Katherine holds an MA in journalism from Northeastern University and Eddie’s professional experience spans 20 years working with Wolfgang Puck, Jean George Vongerichten, and Todd English.