Gluten free - grain free - dairy free - egg free - artificial colour and additive free - can be refined sugar free - can be vegetarian
I discovered many years ago that making your own jelly without a packet mix only involves ONE extra step than making a packet jelly mix, and it is SO much healthier for your body!
There are two ways to set your jelly- one with gelatin powder, and one with Agar Agar powder. Gelatin is derived from collagen obtained from various animal by-products. It can be argued that it has many nutritional benefits to our bodies, but as it is neither kosher nor vegetarian, many people avoid it. Agar Agar is an extract from various marine algae (ie. seaweed). If you can't find it in a supermarket, try your health food store.
You need a little less Agar Agar to set a liquid than gelatin powder. The Agar Agar ironically makes the liquid even more thick and 'gelatinous' than gelatin, and sets MUCH more quickly. It will start setting almost immediately and be completely set at room temperature in less than an hour. Gelatin jelly takes a couple of hours in the fridge. The orange jelly in the photo below is set with Agar Agar , and the other maroon one is set with gelatin.
I make jelly with fruit juice. There are many other jelly recipes that make it with a combination of sugar syrup and juice, but I really don't see the need. Fruit juice is sweet enough! Apparently the only two juices that don't work for making jelly are pineapple and kiwi fruit. I learnt about the kiwi juice when trying to make a Christmassy-looking red and green layered jelly- it simply didn't set! You can, however, make green jelly from your own 'green juice' (see pic below).
I also love making Trifle with jelly. I make mine with layers of jelly, soft fruit, cashew cream and left over cake that I drizzle with a little juice or alcohol (you can even make a double batch of cake next time you're baking, and freeze one for another time when you feel like making trifle...just defrost before using).
Jelly from Gelatin
Makes 2 cups (500 ml jelly). Double all quantities to make 1 L jelly. This quantity makes a soft, flexible jelly. Add a little more gelatin if you want it to be very firm or cut it into solid shapes.
Makes 2 cups (500 ml jelly). Double all quantities to make 1 litre of jelly. This quantity of Agar Agar powder sets the jelly very solidly and is great for if you want to cut it into shapes. You can use a little less if you don't want it to be so solid.
If you want to make layered jelly, simply pour one batch of jelly into the bottom of the cups and leave to set completely before making the next colour of jelly and adding this to the top of the set jelly. Repeat for as many layers as desired, setting each layer before making and adding the next.