Warm Gelatin is Underrated

Instead of chicken soup, my Mom brought me cups of warm gelatin to nourish me back to life when I was sick.  The perfect princess drink:  delicate, but strong, with a full body, that was thick enough not to spill when you tried to sip it sitting up in bed.  This drink was especially nice if your throat was sore, and easy to digest if your tummy hurt. I was eternally grateful every time it came to me in a tea cup. When warm, gelatin is thick and rich — and warm and comforting.


Using jello as a health food wasn’t that wacky of an idea. Gelatin is made from collagen from cow or pig bones, carcasses, and connective tissues – the same good stuff that goes into the broth for your chicken soup. This explains that gel stuff in the bottom of the pan when you roast chicken – the beginning stages of jello.

I feel privileged.  I have never met a person who drank warm jello as a child. I’m the only one I know… I’m not even sure my brother received this treat.

At that time, there were unsubstantiated health claims that gelatin was full of protein, enzymes and amino acids that would heal your stomach, make you stronger, and definitely give you a beautiful manicure. While those claims were unsubstantiated, new research at Ball State University has found this: “It’s possible that gelatin can repair minor cartilage damage that may result in greater joint problems later. It’s also encouraging to be able to use a food supplement in alleviating joint pain rather than have to resort to prescription drugs.” Of course, this is from concentrated supplement, rather than the packages you find for dessert.

Let me clear up your concerns about Mad Cow Disease, “Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), from Dr. Weil:  “The causative agent of BSE exists in nerve tissue of infected animals. Gelatin is purified collagen, a component of connective tissue that is not a problem.”

This news actually relieves me of much stress.  Every time I’ve served my kids a marshmallow, I assumed I was walking a dangerously fine line between joy and mad cow disease.

The box kind, already laden with sugars and who knows what else, can be left alone, in favor of this scratch version. The addition of 7UP, full of electrolytes, was always, supposed to be, good for you when you’re sick. Although my mother always made warm gelatin with water, she would have relished this method that used flat 7-UP, her other health food.

  • 1 two-liter bottle 7-UP, flat
  • 4 1/4-ounce packages unflavored gelatin. (Knox)
  • 2 drops blue food coloring
  1. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over 1 cup (not the whole bottle yet!) of 7-UP  and food coloring.
  2. Place 2 cups soda in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until it starts to boil, and then add the gelatin mixture.
  3. Stir to dissolve over the heat for a couple of minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add the remaining soda, and serve.

Here’s another version that uses plain old juice.

  • 2 cups fresh or good-quality bottled fruit juice. White grape juice is perfect, if you want to add blue food coloring to make blue jello.
  • 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin. (knox)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional).
  • Sugar or honey to taste.
  • Blue Food coloring.
  1. Soak the gelatin with a few drops of food coloring in cold water until softened.
  2. Heat fruit juice to boiling point.
  3. Pour hot juice over gelatin.
  4. Add the lemon juice.
  5. Add sugar to taste.

Chill until set; or just stop right here, and pour that delicious goodness into a cup.

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29 comments to “Warm Gelatin is Underrated”
  1. I remember getting warm jello as a child. Thanks for the recipes. I suspect my daughter would be much more willing to drink warm jello than a cup of soup.

    You too!!! Thanks great to know. SJ

  2. I feel a bit left out, I was never given this as a child, I was stuck with chicken soup or nothing (lol) kids these days are so lucky!

  3. Hi, Susie,
    This was fun and informative.
    We sometimes had room temp. jello in lieu of Koolaid. It was ‘thick’, but we didn’t mind. 😛

  4. Well, this proves that we must have had the same mother. I have always felt that we had a connection and often smile when I read your posts.

  5. Pingback: Original Fast Food — Susiej

  6. my husband looked at me like I was nuts when I shared the memory of warm jell-o when we were sick as kids (and 7-up and cinnamon sugar toast too!) – then I caught what my kids had this weekend (while traveling, so couldn’t do the warm jell-o for them), and I wanted to see if maybe I was just crazy before I fixed myself some (because I don’t feel like eating anything) – it was so comforting to read your post 🙂

  7. I thought I was the only one who had warm green jello when sick. Just had some tonight belly bad and my hubby thinks strange but works! Mom made it for us always a great comfort! My Dads German Mom used to make for him when sick. I highly recommend!

  8. Ok, so this is weird, never received this drink from my mother. Yet, our girl scout troup would go camping regularly, and we always drank warm jello around the campfire during our campouts!!! I love the stuff! 🙂 thanks for the fun article!

  9. Camping?! That’s even more adorable than drinking it while sick. I have never heard of that before — what a fun girl scout troop! I’ll have to try it around a campfire…

  10. We always had warm (green) jello when we were sick.. it was always so comforting! Then as we got better, it shifted to cold jello until we were back to normal

  11. I guess you weren’t the only one, just the only one you knew at the time. I was given hot jello drink when I had a cold, flu, strep throat, or tonsillitis. I still drink it when I feel really chilled or sick. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  12. Mom made us jello as kids when we were sick and when Dad was sick with cancer some days this is all he would eat. We pour the hot jello over ice cubes and drink it down.

  13. SUSIE J! My boyfriend’s Dad is the only person I know who drinks warm jello. I had never heard of it, I was shocked when I found out it was a thing! Its a crazy life. I really hope you see this comment, connect back with me. I’d love to talk

  14. I am not sure why in the world it’s not more popular — or where my mom even got the idea? Maybe because gelatin is close to bone broth? I’m not sure…

  15. At 66, I am an old broad, as a child I can remember our doctor recommending jello water when we were sick. Mama would usually give us red jello. My twin sister had a sensitive stomach as a kid. Yep, Jello water and hot toddies. But hot toddies is another story for another time.

  16. Love hearing about this… and isn’t it amazing about all of the research that is coming out about bone broth, and how it heals our guts! Yes — Grandma made hot toddies too for us when we had colds!

  17. I’ve been drinking hot jello for years! It coats your throat in a good way, and is a delicious hot drink. I doubt even the jello people are aware of this.

  18. I’ll be 40 this year and I live with my mom to help take care of her. Today I woke up with a stomach bug and mom took no time kicking in her retired mom duties. She always gave us warm jello as kids when we were vomiting. As I sit here sipping the warm cup of jello she made I’m enjoying the nostalgia of it. I’m glad other mommas knew this trick too. ????

  19. Jello juice! It cured everything in our house from sore throats to hurt feelings. It was a really popular remedy where I grew up

  20. I’m just finding this post right after arguing for the sanctity of drinking hot jello. I frankly feel he missed out on childhood, he thinks I’m a freak. So now as I see this post I feel the need to leave a very long YYYYYAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSS SIS!! YASSSSSA!!!!

  21. My mom would give my siblings and me hot jello when we were sick as kids. I was just telling someone this recently and they had never heard of drinking hot jello. Brought back special childhood m memories. ????

  22. My mom would give my siblings and me hot jello when we were sick as kids. I was just telling someone this recently and they had never heard of drinking hot jello. Brought back special childhood m memories.

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