Last Summer, Kennedy and I had a great time making all kinds of treats during the weekdays when she was home from her various camps. Cooking with kids is probably the greatest trick ever for a mom. First of all, it accomplishes something (Hey look! I made dessert tonight!), and second of all it keeps little hands and minds occupied. The result is usually fairly non-destructive. You just do the dishes and wipe down the counter (OK, and maybe the floors in some spots) and no one would know that you were just doing an “activity”.
This year, I thought I might share some of our adventures in treat making now and then.
This was our first experiment with layering Jello and it was so much fun! We started out with basically whatever flavors we found we had on hand in the cupboard.
Guess what? Those colors look pretty darn tropical together, don’t they? OK then, better add some pineapple to this mix too.
Fun science fact: Fresh pineapple and fresh pineapple juice contain something called bromelain, which digests proteins and prevents Jello from setting. If you’d like to add pineapple to your Jello, make sure it’s canned or tetra-packed. The pasteurization that the pineapple goes through for canning deactivates the bromelain. Fun, right?
Once we’d assembled all of our ingredients, we got to work! Here’s the recipe:
1 pack cherry Jello
1 pack lime Jello
1 pack lemon Jello
1 can of pineapple
1) Mix the cherry Jello, using slightly less liquid than on the package directions. Instead of 1 cup of hot water, and one cup of cold water, we used 3/4 cups of each to give the Jello extra strength and create really crisp lines of separation between the colors. Pour into whatever cups, bowls, or containers you’d like to use. Refrigerate and allow to set for 30 mins to 1 hour.
2)Mix the lemon Jello. Use 3/4 cups of hot water, then 1/4 cup of cold water mixed with 1/2 cup of pineapple juice from the can of pineapple. Reserve the pineapple and have a snack or use as a garnish for Jello later. Pour into your cups on top of the red Jello layer. Refrigerate and allow to set for 30 mins to 1 hour.
3) Mix the lime Jello, using the same amount of liquid as you did with the red layer. Pour into your cups on top of the yellow (may not appear orange) layer and allow to set in the refrigerator for 30 mins to 1 hour.
4) Garnish (or not) and enjoy!
If you’ve never tried this good old-fashioned Jello layering trick, you’ve got to. You get bonus kid points for having a fun activity spread out over a whole afternoon and you won’t believe how excited they’ll be to check and see if it’s time to pour on the next layer.
The real pineapple juice gave it just the right touch of fresh fruity flavor and made it taste truly tropical. We tried some coconut as a garnish. As much as it looks kind of fun, the texture of the coconut with the Jello wasn’t so great. The pineapple would have been perfect on top! That is, if we hadn’t have eaten it all first…
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.