Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rainbow Jello- Brooke

Rainbow Jello- Brooke

Yay for layers! This challenge provided the perfect opportunity to create Rainbow Jello, something I've seen done but never tried. It seemed like there must be a trick to it... Could it be as simple as layering Jello? I almost called a former co-worker who brought it to a party years ago, but then decided that would be weird. Found this online instead:

Do Better Blog

Wow. Cool jello layers and beautiful photos. Intimidating.

At this point, I should probably mention that Lee went out of town with our nice digital camera, and I completely forgot to factor that in until everything was set to start gellin'. It's all camera-phone pics this time!

You'll need:

8 cups of boiling water

4 (3 oz.) boxes of Jello gelatin: blue, yellow, red, purple

1 (1.75 oz.) box of fruit pectin

1 (minimum 10-cup) dish or container

Liquid measuring cup

12 large ice cubes

Also helpful (but not pictured) are:


4 little bowls

Spoon (NOT a whisk- more on that later)

I decided to make the order of colors the same as the cool "Do Better" chick did, but went beyond primary colors by adding purple. Therefore red and yellow would make orange, yellow and blue would make green, and blue and purple would make... a cool indigo color or something?

Also modified her recipe by using fruit pectin instead of Knox gelatin. Knox has a weird taste to me, so I did a little research into the structure of pectin/gelatins (Apparently it's all just about "liberating short-chain fatty acids"?) and decided it would probably work.

So start by heating 2 cups of water to boiling. While waiting for it to boil, pour each color of Jello separately into something, and then divide the pectin into four parts and add one part to each Jello color.

When the water boils, pour it into the liquid measuring cup. Ignore the 2-cups-of-water package directions and use only 1 2/3 cup water (to be clear, this is per package of Jello), because it will end up thicker and hold together better. Pour the boiling water into the pitcher so you'll have more room to stir and add ice. Add the purple Jello powder/pectin mix. Stir gently until dissolved...

BUT DON'T DO WHAT I DID and forget that you should never, ever stir Jello with a whisk! It adds too many bubbles, which will gel up and destroy the clarity of your masterpiece. After I made this mistake, I had to try poking the bubbles with a toothpick (didn't work) and finally scooped them all out with a spoon (tedious, but it worked).

Add 3 large ice cubes, which will help it gel faster, and continue stirring gently until melted. Refrigerate unti set, about 2 hours per layer plus minimum 4 hours at the end to set firmly. Repeat for the blue, yellow and red colors, pouring each verrrry gently on top of the previous layer so you don't break the surface.

So total prep time is like 10 hours, but only about 20 minutes of that is actual working time. Rainbow Jello tests your spectrum of patience.

When all the gellin' is done, take a moment to think... because it is at this point you will realize it's going to be a bit of a bitch to get the cubes out without ruining them. You'll wonder things like, "Should I have greased the container?" and "Would it have worked to line it with Saran Wrap?" In the end, you'll decide to just cut with a very sharp knife and lift with a spatula.


Rainbow Jello looks cool, but is harder to cut and arrange attractively than I'd imagined. The switch from Knox to pectin may have been a negative-- Knox would have created the "Jello Jigglers" effect. The colors change as you move around a cube of Rainbow Jello. Sometimes the colors look like distinct layers, and then you move to the side and they seem to blend.

Rainbow Jello tastes... well, it's thicker and more concentrated than ordinary Jello, so the taste is somewhat cloying. Plus, there's the whole mixture of flavors thing: grape, berry blue (um, they didn't say "blueberry" for a reason, 'cause it's not), lemon, strawberry.

It's like a party in your mouth, and everyone brought a different kind of Schnapps.

It'd make great Jello shots...


  1. It's colorful and pretty... and my 3yo would LOVE IT. And thanks for the whisk warning. :)

  2. Who doesn't love Schnapps?! Fantastically fun. I am highly impressed with the compound research undertaken for the switch from Knox to pectin. A triumph!!