Tropical gelatin is more than just a sweet family tradition. For about a century, it was a family business. We didn’t make tropical gelatin exclusively, of course, we made all kinds. You should know, and you may already, that Gelatin holds an honored place in the hearts of Mexicans. It might just be the national dessert.
Thanks to the great folks at Juicy Juice® for making this tropical gelatin recipe post possible. As always, my opinions, comments and love for tropical gelatin and discovering new flavor combinations are my own.
As for my family, we like our gelatin just a little softer and less sweet than some you may have tried before. It’s firm, but it won’t bounce off the floor and back into your hand! We prefer to emphasize the fruit flavors and natural sweetness of the ingredients, rather than adding a bunch of sugar and extra gelatin.
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My First Job
Like so many family businesses do, ours grew out of something completely different. My great grandmother sold milk in the local market. One day, her daughter, my grandmother’s only sister with whom I spent a lot of time when I was a child, came up with the idea of selling gelatin next to the milk. Soon, it became the main business.
My grandmother had gelatin in her fridge every single day. I felt I was the luckiest kid in the world! When I was old enough, about 10, my first job was in the family gelatin business on the weekends. By then, the business had moved to a storefront. I started out washing spoons! Later, I moved up to counter server and preparing orders to go. I was fascinated by the hundreds of cups of colorful gelatin firming up in specially designed, shallow, tile sinks, filled with very cold water.
Every day was busy, but Sunday’s were the busiest of all with hundreds of family, friends and acquaintances stopping by for “gelatina con rompope,” or gelatin with a creamy liquor, like eggnog but thinner and with a kick.
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Just as I loved gelatin as a child, my kids have grown to love it as well. Because of that, I like taking the opportunity to introduce new flavors to them when serving it. It satisfies my rule, “start with something they like, then add a little bit of something new.” In this case, I introduced kumquats, just as a garnish.
I won’t say I’ve never hidden a veggie or fruit in my kids’ food, if I did I’d be lying. But I try to avoid it now because it can backfire. As Jeff Mauro from the Food Network says on his new flavor exploration website, “Be honest, don’t hide it… Use food to teach kids about new flavors and cuisines.”
In the end, I just enjoy creating new flavor combinations for my kids to try, and this is quite possibly the easiest, most delightful, tropical gelatin ever. You need just 3 ingredients, that’s it.
Making gelatin is never hard, but making gelatin with 100% juice is easiest. I chose Juicy Juice® 100% juice Tropical flavor for this recipe because, well, I love tropical flavors. But you can use any of the 16 flavor varieties of Juicy Juice® 100% juice, anything from Grape to Apple, to Passion Dragonfruit, Kiwi Strawberry or Orange Tangerine. They are perfect for gelatin because they have no added sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, and no artificial sweeteners or colors.
RELATED POST: 3 Tips for Getting Kids to Try New Flavor Combinations
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and share it with us on social media using the #mamalatinatipsrecipes hashtag. I’d love to see it and have a chance to share it as well.
Prep time: 3 minutes
Start to finish: 10 minutes to make them + 4 hours in the fridge
- 5 cups Juicy Juice® 100% juice Tropical flavor, divided
- 4 (8 gr) unflavored gelatin bags
- Tropical fruit like mango, pineapple, kiwi, etc. for garnish
- Kumquat, optional, just to introduce the kids to something they haven’t tried
- Mint, optional, for garnish
- Milk gelatin, optional*. For the recipe click on the link.
You will also need
- Medium pot
- Individual gelatin molds, your preference
Pour 4 cups of Juicy Juice® in a medium pot and heat over medium-high temperature, but don’t let it boil. It should be warm.
Pour the contents of the four gelatin bags into the other cup of juice. Stir and let it rest. You will see how the gelatin gets hydrated with the juice and starts to solidify.
When the juice is warm, add the hydrated gelatin, mix until it dissolves completely.
Fill up the gelatin molds and refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.
Using a knife, ice pick or a wooden skewer, carefully separate the gelatin from the walls of the mold. Submerge the mold in a bowl with warm water for a few seconds to separate from the bottom.
In a careful but brisk motion, turn over the mold onto a plate to release the gelatin. Add tropical fruit on top and decorate with mint.
* You can create “gelatina combinada” which is a layer of tropical gelatin and a layer of milk gelatin. Very popular with my family. Just fill up the gelatin molds half-way. When the tropical layer is firm, pour lukewarm milk gelatin on top. Refrigerate again until firm. Enjoy.
Join the Conversation
I invite you to stop by the Juicy Juice® Flavor Discovery website and check out all the fun for you and your kids. For more recipes and tips, don’t forget to check out the ideas from Chef Mauro by visiting the Flavor Exploration website here.
- 5 cups Juicy Juice® 100% juice Tropical flavor divided
- 4 (8 gr) unflavored gelatin bags
- Tropical fruit like mango pineapple, kiwi, etc. for garnish
- Kumquat optional, just to introduce the kids to something they haven't tried
- Mint optional, for garnish
- Milk gelatin optional*. Link to recipes in notes below.
You will also need
- Medium pot
- Individual gelatin molds your preference
- Pour 4 cups of Juicy Juice® in a medium pot and heat over medium-high temperature, but don't let it boil. It should be warm.
- Pour the contents of the four gelatin bags into the other cup of juice. Stir and let it rest. You will see how the gelatin gets hydrated with the juice and starts to solidify.
- When the juice is warm, add the hydrated gelatin, mix until it dissolves completely.
- Fill up the gelatin molds and refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.
- Using a knife, ice pick or a wooden skewer, carefully separate the gelatin from the walls of the mold. Submerge the mold in a bowl with warm water for a few seconds to separate from the bottom.
- In a careful but brisk motion, turn over the mold onto a plate to release the gelatin. Add tropical fruit on top and decorate with mint.