My 4 year old son has been to a few birthday parties recently and has been introduced to jelly pouches. Basically these are pouches filled with a very very (VERY!!) sweet jelly kind of stuff. Of course the kids love them! What’s not to love?
I happened to look at the sugar content in the jelly pouch and saw that each pouch contains the equivalent of 4.7 sugar cubes or 18.8g sugar – which is half the sugar in a can of sugary cola! I get that these sugars are naturally occurring sugars in the fruit from which the fruit juice is made, but still, too much sugar in our diets isn’t good. According to the Sugar Smart app (launched by Public Health England), a 4-6 year old shouldn’t have more than 5 sugar cubes or 19g of sugar a day. So one little pouch has almost maxed out the recommended daily sugar allowance in one go!
I’m not saying that I won’t let my son have sweet treats, including fruit juices, but I’d like to keep them as just that, a treat, every now and then. My aim is to try as best I can, to find lower sugar alternatives to some of these treats. This led me to do some research into making my own jelly from reduced sugar fruit juice. I found an article in the Guardian called the Universal Jelly Principle with a tagline of “Almost any food can be made into a jelly by following a few simple guidelines”. I couldn’t resist the challenge so gave it a go.
I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was to make my own reduced sugar jelly pouches! Of course, they first had to go through rigorous taste testing but thankfully my 4 year old gave them a thumbs up. The added bonus is that the jelly has a third of the sugar found in the store bought equivalent. I’m now feeling brave and will definitely be experimenting with new recipes!
Reduced sugar fruit juice – I wanted a fresh juice that didn’t have added sweetener, so I went for Innocent Light & Juicy Peach and Raspberry. It does produce a cloudy jelly with a bit of a grainy texture, so if your little one has a problem with textured foods, you might want to try and use a clear juice as a start.
Gelatine sheets – I used Costa brand as recommended by a friend – you can buy it from Amazon/Waitrose/Ocado. Any gelatine sheets would no doubt work as well.
Method (based on the method in the Guardian article): fills 4 Super Squish pouches
-NOTE: As I was making the jelly in the pouches and I wasn’t unmolding them, I used about 4.5 gelatine sheets to 600ml liquid. I would suggest reading the article first, as the amount of gelatine required varies with the amount of liquid you are using.
– Cut up the gelatine sheets into small pieces and put into a small metal bowl
– Boil water in a pan on the stove and turn down heat and allow to simmer
– Pour a small amount of the juice over the gelatine pieces so that they are just covered
– Place the bowl containing the gelatine and fruit juice over the boiling water and stir until the gelatine dissolves
– Take the bowl off the heat, add the remaining fruit juice and stir well to mix
– Pour into the Super Squish pouches and place in the fridge to set. It should be set in a few hours.
Unlike the store bought jelly pouches, these are best if eaten cold.