“Jelly and custard again, nana?”
Jello is a staple dessert of the Seebregts family, to the point that it’s become a running joke.
Of course, that doesn’t stop us from chowing down; why should it? This is especially true with fruity-flavored jello. Well, haven’t you ever wondered if you could dehydrate jello?
Yes, you can dehydrate jello if you want to with a dehydrator, freeze dryer, or refrigerator. If you want fast results, the refrigerator is the best option with the freeze dryer coming in at a close second. A dehydrator isn’t the best thing to use but it is a viable option – just keep an eye on the jello while it dehydrates.
Jello is commonly available in a powdered form which you mix with water and chill until it’s solid. One of the key ingredients is gelatin, which is what gives this treat its jiggly texture.
Gelatin is commonly derived from the collagen found in animal body parts (i.e. eyeballs).
You can find gelatin in gummy candies (i.e. gummy bears, jelly babies, etc.), marshmallows, ice creams, yogurt, cream cheese, and margarine.
Gelatin is used as a thickener to give food a nice texture and to clarify various juices. It’s also used as a fining agent in wines.
Dehydrating Jello – Can It Be Done?
I’ll admit I was skeptical, after all, wouldn’t you just get powder again? Still, I’m the type of guy who likes to try new things every now and then and this was interesting. So, can you dehydrate jello?
Well…yes, surprisingly enough you can dehydrate jello. There are a few ways to do it, each with their own considerations to keep in mind.
Using a refrigerator is probably the easiest/quickest method if you’re looking to dehydrate jello.
This method involves cutting the jello into pieces and covering each piece in corn starch and placing it in the fridge for 6 hours or until you get the texture you like.
If you want to have a crunchier jello treat, then you can put it into a pre-cooled freeze dryer. Once you’ve cranked it up a bit, you wait a few hours and then check if it’s crunchy enough for you.
Dehydrators are also a viable option if you want to dehydrate jello, they aren’t the best things to use but they get the job done.
It’s quite simple, you place the pieces of jello on the rack in the dehydrator and turn it on – keeping the temperature at the lowest setting possible.
You then keep an eye on the jello while it dehydrates, ideally, it should have a leathery texture when it’s done.
You need to keep an eye on it because otherwise, it could end up becoming rock hard – which won’t be pleasant to eat.
Storing Dehydrated Jello
Now that we’ve talked about dehydrating jello, how do you store it? Dehydrated jello should be stored at room temperature, ideally in an airtight container and in a cool, dry place away from moisture and sunlight.
Shelf Life of Jello
The shelf life of jello will vary depending on the storage environment, the cooler and drier it is the better. In the right environment, jello powder can last for a couple of months.
Store-bought jello powder has a shelf-life of around a year – although, we’ve had jello in our pantry for several years before eating it. Refrigerated jello will last around 3 months.
Dehydrated jello will have a variable shelf life depending on what you dehydrate it into. If, for example, you dehydrate jello into something like fruit leather, it’ll last around a month or so.
Rehydrating Dehydrated Jello isn’t a Good Idea
So, it stands to reason that if you can dehydrate jello, you should be able to rehydrate it. You can do that if you really, really want to, but it’s not recommended.
Why? Because it’ll become all slimy – do you find that appealing? I didn’t think so.
Greg is a South African farmer and homesteader who’s been around animals ever since he can remember. He’s also an avid camper and hiker.