Wobbly, colorful, sweet, and fruity, Jello is so easy to put together. Kids love it in colorful shapes or layers, and boozy versions such as Jello shots or trifle have made Jello a grown-up favorite too.
Although flavored gelatin powder has a long shelf life when stored in an airtight container, ready-made Jello lasts only a week in the refrigerator.
Whether you’re thinking of pre-making Jello cups for a party or storing some leftover Jello dessert, the best way to extend its shelf life for longer than a week is not necessarily to freeze it.
Here is what you need to know when it comes to freezing Jello.
Types of Jello
The brand Jell-O is actually a trademark of Kraft Heinz food products referring to their collective range of gelatin desserts. With such popularity, the wobbly fruit-flavored gel dessert is now commonly just referred to as ‘Jello’.
The premix packet of fruit-flavored granulated gelatin and sugar is mixed with hot water to dissolve, and then chilled to set it to a firm but wiggly texture. The dry Jello mix is available in various flavors and can be made with the addition of fruit, yogurt, or a whipped cream topping.
Jello cups are a popular party favorite mixing alcohol to form a fruity-flavored shot.
Can Jello Be Frozen?
Jello can be frozen, but don’t expect the same smooth and wobbly consistency once thawed. Freezing Jello will also not prolong its shelf life, so your best bet is just to keep it stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Due to the gelatin structure, Jello won’t freeze solid like an ice cube. If you place Jello in the freezer, it will damage the binding particles of the gelatin, causing it to separate as the Jello thaws. Thus, if Jello freezes and thaws, you will be left with a mixture of gooey jelly and ice slush.
Freezing Jello is, therefore, not recommended, especially if you wanted to serve it to guests as part of a dessert. There is, however, one way in which you can freeze Jello, and that is by making Jello popsicles from scratch.
How To Freeze Jello
As just mentioned, the only way to successfully freeze Jello is by making Jello popsicles. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Boil Water
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
Step 2: Mix
Mix 1 packet of Jello powder and ¼ cup sugar with the boiling water in a mixing bowl and stir to dissolve completely. The mixture should be translucent with no granules remaining.
Step 3: Add Cold Water
Add one cup of cold water to the prepared Jello mixture and stir well.
Step 4: Pour Into Molds
Pour the Jello mix into popsicle molds and freeze overnight. They will only take a few hours to set.
If you do not have a popsicle mold, you could also use a silicone muffin tray. Place an ice-cream stick in the middle of each muffin cup once the mixture has set enough to keep it upright.
How To Thaw Frozen Jello
If you have made popsicles from Jello, run the popsicle mold under water just to loosen them from the mold so you can pull them out frozen and enjoy as is.
If you have accidentally frozen a dish with Jello and still want to eat some of it, unfortunately you can’t just unfreeze Jello back to the way it was. It is best consumed when not completely thawed but still with a frozen texture. Fully thawed Jello will leave you with a messy mix of sweet and sugary water and gloopy gelatin.
Freezing Jello will alter its texture to a slushy gel-like consistency. It can be eaten like this but will be a poor representation of its former self and probably shouldn’t be served to guests.
The addition of sugar when making Jello popsicles, however, creates a better consistency which makes it a delicious frozen treat, with a pleasing texture.
Adding fruit to Jello or Jello popsicles adds a little more pizzazz and creates a beautiful looking fruity flavored dessert. Cooked or canned fruits are best used in jelly desserts as the enzymes in fresh fruit may prevent it from setting.
Whether in cubes, layers, molds, in a trifle, or boozy shots, it is best to enjoy your Jello refrigerated, but not frozen.
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