For many folks, the word “jello” evokes memories of school cafeteria lunches or the fruit embedded jello salads that were once a staple at potlucks and holiday get togethers, but have now largely gone out of style. These iterations of jello are by no means a health food, as they are made with pre-packaged jello mixes that contain less than ideal ingredients —such as refined sugar, food colorings, and artificial flavors. However, homemade versions of this classic dessert food can be quite healing and nourishing.
Gelatin has a number of beneficial properties. It promotes healthy skin by helping to maintain its hydration and elasticity. It can help to strengthen the connective tissues in the joints, which may improve mobility and reduce joint pain.
It strengthens bones and improves calcium absorption to help reduce bone loss. It also soothes and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract, boosting healthy digestion.
The addition of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) lends a pleasant lemony flavor to this herbal jello. This tasty herb has a variety of beneficial properties, as well.
Lemon balm is a calming and relaxing. It is soothing to the nervous system and can be helpful for easing stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Lemon balm promotes healthy digestion and can relieve stomach ache and cramping. It can be helpful for easing pain caused by tension, such as back pain and tension headaches.
This herbal jello is definitely different from the brightly colored, sticky-sweet dessert I remember from childhood, but is a quite satisfying and much healthier option.
To make lemon balm jello, you will need:
- 2 cups lemon balm tea, brewed extra strong
- 3 Tbsp organic beef gelatin powder
- 2 Tbsp honey
Boil water and pour over fresh or dried lemon balm, in a heat proof container. Add 2-3 times the amount of herb that you would usually use when making a cup of tea. Cover and let the tea steep for about 15 minutes or so, then strain out the herbs and let the liquid cool.
Pour one cup of the cooled tea into a bowl or glass container. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the tea and set it aside for 3-5 minutes to let it bloom.
While you wait, heat the other cup of tea in a small saucepan until it boils. Then stir the heated tea and honey into the bloomed gelatin.
Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours, or until the jello sets. Then cut into small squares and enjoy. Herbal jello will keep for up to a week when refrigerated, but is best when consumed within a few days.
This herbal jello makes a great treat for kids. Because it is protein rich and naturally calming it can be a great bedtime snack to promote relaxation and satiate growing little ones, helping them sleep more soundly.
Enjoy this tasty health boosting spin on a classic dessert!
de la Forêt, R. (n.d.) The Lemon Balm Plant. Herbs with Rosalee. https://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/lemon-balm-plant.html
De Pietro, M. (2021). What is gelatin made of, and is it good for you? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319124
WebMD. (2020). Health Benefits of Gelatin. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-gelatin