First, get the images you have out of your mind of what jello is. This is not it. It’s made with wholesome, fresh, real, healthy food. And it tastes incredible. It’s addictive, even (in a good sense of the word, of course). Make your own from scratch fresh cherry jello and change your life forever. For reals!
I’ve been making my own from scratch jello for years now. However, Crystal, over at Wholefed Homestead kicked it up a few notches for me this year and now I can’t get enough jello and make it regularly. Before her enlightenment, I made homemade jello with organic, 100% juice which is good. But now I mix my jello 50/50 with juice and fresh fruit puree.
This recipe does exactly that. It’s easy. It’s super tasty. And you’re gonna love it.
Any kind of fresh fruit will work for this recipe. I just happened to have 20 pounds of delicious Bing cherries from the folks over at Northwest Cherry Growers, so I used the opportunity to make fresh cherry jello.
BTW, if you love cherries as much as I do, try some of these other delicious fresh cherry recipes:
- Cherry Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Cherry Marmalade
- Cool Cherry Treats (like ice cream, fruit pops, sorbet and more)
Okay, back to some simple, tasty from scratch fresh cherry jello. Ready?
- 3.5- 4 cups of pitted fresh cherries
- 2 cups apple (or other) juice
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons gelatin (this is what I use)
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- Optional: 2/3 cup honey (or more or less to taste, or not at all if it’s sweet enough for you) a pinch of salt (optional)
- Whipped cream for topping (optional)
First, wash, pit and slice cherries in half. Next, add to a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water and cook on med-low heat, stirring frequently, until cherries are soft and broken down.
Place a sieve on top of a bowl, and pour the cherry mixture into the sieve, a little at a time. Use a spoon to stir and push the fruit through the sieve, leaving the pulp and seeds behind. Dump the pulp into the compost and add more of the cooked cherry mixture. Repeat this until you’ve run all the cherries through the sieve.
Here’s a video of me doing this process with strawberries and rhubarb:
(You’ll want around 2 cups of fruit puree for this recipe. If you don’t have enough, don’t worry. You can add extra apple juice to bring it up to 2 cups.)
Next, pour 1/2 cup apple juice into a small bowl. Add the gelatin to this and mash it around until all the gelatin is wet. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the gelatin to ‘bloom’. (This will turn it into a big chunk. Don’t panic. That’s what it’s supposed to look like!)
Add the remaining juice, the fruit puree, honey (if using) and salt back to the (rinsed out) saucepan. Add the chunk of gelatin. Stir on med-low to dissolve.
Finally, pour jello into a bowl, or ramekins and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or until set up). You can also pour into a 9×12 pan if you’d like to cut it up into squares and layer it with cherries and whipping cream (which I highly endorse!)
MMMmmm Good. From Scratch Fresh Cherry Jello is a winner in my books!
You can adjust the quantities smaller or larger depending on the amount of jello you’d like to make. ***HOWEVER*** don’t use more than HALF pureed fruit for your liquids or your jello won’t set properly.
To replace granulated sugar for the honey, just make sure you get it completely dissolved into the liquid.
You can use other juices, too. Apple is a mellow flavored juice, because of that, it’s a good choice if you want your fruit puree to stand out and I will often use juice that contains the fruit I’m using (ie mixed berry juice for blackberry jello, etc.). Experiment and see which you like best.
Special shout out to the Northwest Cherry Growers. They seriously grow the best cherries. I’m proud to be a ‘Canbassador’ for them.
Enjoy the cherry season!