Fruit snacks. The classic kid favorite that’s a staple in many a busy family’s snack arsenal. A good idea in theory—they’re portable, they’re tasty, they’re made from fruit, and they usually at least offer some sort of nutritional value, according to the label. But if you take a second look, I think anyone could see that most fruit snacks aren’t really even deserving of the title of being equivalent to a real form of “fruit.”
A lot of folks out there seem to consider fruit snacks like a significant step up from your basic bag of gummy bears, or some other form of candy. Which I think, is a little scary. I mean, sure, maybe your particular brand of fruit snacks are “made with” actual fruit juice (which is really just code for: two drops of juice, 99% high fructose corn syrup), but let’s not kid ourselves, here. The average fruit snack isn’t exactly equivalent to a freshly-squeezed bunch of “wild berries.”
What’s in the average fruit snack? It usually goes a little something like this:
- Corn syrup (GMO)
- More corn, in the form of modified corn starch and extra fructose
- Petroleum-based mineral oils and waxes
- Chemical preservatives and artificial flavors
- Petrochemical-derived artificial colors
- GMO-derived synthetic vitamins
- A tiny bit of fruit juice so they can put it on the label and claim it’s made with “real fruit”
- And if they’re made with any real gelatin at all, it’s usually in the form of pork parts from diseased animals in factory farms. Not something I’d recommend.
This is why I wanted to make my own. I don’t have any kids, but hey—who say’s fruit snacks can’t be a grown-up treat, too? Not only are homemade fruit snacks super tasty, but they actually can be a very healthy snack choice. A big reason for that, is because they’re packed full of grass-fed gelatin!
And gelatin, is nature’s most perfect protein. It’s packed full of all the right amino acids, which help the body to release anti-aging growth hormones that do everything from increasing muscle tissue while burning off excess fat, to getting rid of cellulite. It provides your body with the collagen necessary for healthy, youthful skin, nails, and hair. Gelatin is also highly anti-inflammatory, as a critical amino acid, glycine, is a powerful combatant of inflammation in the body. And glycine makes up about 35% of gelatin powder!
Fruit snacks are a great way to get in a higher dose of that good-for-you gelatin than you’d get from a slice of run-of-the-mill homemade jello. That’s because you want fruit snacks to be much denser and chewier than a jello consistency—so that takes a lot more gelatin! In this recipe, the amount of gelatin is actually 6 times more concentrated than my homemade jello recipe.
To make homemade fruit snacks, you could go out of your way to blend up whole fruits, strain out the pulp and seeds, add lemon juice, sweetener, and reduce the mixture over a stovetop—which is all great, and I’ll have other recipes for these fancier snacks in the future. But this method is much quicker and easier, and only requires two ingredients—fruit juice concentrate, and gelatin! It takes just minutes to prepare. And, it’s still very wholesome in my book, because it’s made with 100% juice, and nothing added except the gelatin to magically transform it into snacks!
So, this is actually a bad example that I made, though—the concentrate I used was definitely not 100% juice, because it’s lemonade. But, it was organic, and not junked up with a bunch of high fructose corn syrup, and really tasty. So here it is!
2-Ingredient Strawberry Lemonade Fruit Snacks
Ingredients: (double or triple the recipe if you’d like!)
- 1/2 cup organic strawberry lemonade frozen juice concentrate, or other juice concentrate flavor of your choosing
- 3 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin (this is the kind I use)
You will also need:
- Silicone candy molds (this is what I used and what you see pictured)
Scoop out your juice concentrate into a small saucepan, and let it melt for a few minutes. You can turn on the burner for just a little bit to speed it up, but you want the juice concentrate to remain cold for now. Once it’s more liquid than solid, sprinkle the gelatin powder over the juice concentrate. Allow this to sit for a few minutes—the juice will soak up the gelatin powder.
Then, just turn the burner on low, and whisk the mixture together for a couple minutes until it looks like all the gelatin is fully dissolved, so you’ll have a nice, smooth texture to the mixture.
Now, pour the mixture from the pan into a liquid measuring cup with a pouring spout. This will make it easier to pour into your molds. I decided to lightly grease my candy mold with coconut oil, by spreading a thin layer over it with my fingers, then wiping with a paper towel, but I have heard this is not always necessary with silicone molds.
Once you’ve filled your molds with the juice mixture, set it on a cookie sheet so it doesn’t flop around, and put in the fridge for about 20 minutes. It should set within that time, and be ready to pop out of the molds. My fruit snacks were all gobbled up within a few minutes of taking them out, but if you have leftovers, storing them in the refrigerator is probably ideal. Enjoy!
Try it out and let me know how you like it!
I will update this post with more pictures and successful juice flavors I’d recommend as I continue to make these fun little snacks. If you make some yourself and have any flavor recommendations based off what worked for you, leave a comment below so we can try your version, too!
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