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Jelly Recipe

mila's meals jelly recipe

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Reasons to add this to your nourishment toolbox:

  1. Only 5 ingredients
  2. Quick & Easy to make
  3. Easy to make flavour variations
  4. Nutrient-dense, brain food (see details below recipe)
  5. Anytime meal or snack
  6. Kids love it!
  7. You’ll easily learn the recipe by heart

This Gut-healing Jelly Recipe shows how food can be medicine!

Dessert… that part of the meal that most kids look forward to the most.

That part of the meal that is usually loaded full of sugar – which will likely keep them awake, just as you want them to go to sleep!

How would you like to feed your kids, or yourself, a dessert that would encourage sleep?

Come to think of it, how would you like to eat, or feed your kids, a dessert that had all these additional health benefits…

Health benefits of gelatine:

  • Helps heal and seal your gut, and promotes healthy digestion

  • Inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses, etc

  • Reduces joint pain

  • Eases the symptoms of autoimmune disorders

  • Fights inflammation

  • Has calming effects, which may help you sleep better

  • Promotes strong, healthy bones

  • Supports the body’s connective tissues

  • Promotes healthy hair, skin, teeth and nails

  • Anti-ageing and wrinkle-reducing

  • Improves the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite

  • Detoxifies the liver

Well you can, and its so simple to make too…

Jelly Birthday Cake

Say hello to Homemade Jelly!

“Jelly? A healing, sleep-inducing food?”, I can hear you shout.

Yes, jelly.

But homemade jelly. Not the the sugar and chemical laden type poured out of a box or served to patients in hospitals!

The superfood ingredient found in Jelly is gelatine.

great lakes beef gelatin

A is flavourless, translucent substance derived from the processing of animal connective tissue and bones to extract collagen, an insoluble fibrous protein

Gelatin dissolves in hot liquids and becomes more solid as it cools. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in gummy sweets, marshmallows, desserts, ice cream, dips and some yogurts.

What is Gelatine?

See the Ingredient Glossary at the end of this post for all the nutrient-dense details.

IN BRIEF: Gelatine contains easy to digest (bio-available) calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, amino acids and trace minerals.

A great way to get the gut-healing benefits of gelatine into your diet besides drinking bone broth is to disguise it as Jelly.

Not all Gelatine is created equal!

Where possible buy organic gelatine from grass fed animals.

I only use Great Lakes Beef Gelatine

Great Lakes Beef Gelatin is a time-trusted ingredient that every foodie should have in their pantry. It’s just so versatile. Thicken soup and broth, whip up mousse, make marshmallows, and get your gummy on! It’s also 100% pure, free from additives, colouring, flavouring and preservatives. And... it's medicinal!

Why use water when you can use medicinal herbal teas?

Traditionally the recipe for Jelly calls for hot water, but why not use hot tea instead to add to the medicinal qualities of this dessert?

I have recently discovered Heath & Heather Organic Lemon Balm And Liquorice Tea – a blend of real liquorice root, lemon balm, as well as antioxidant-rich South African rooibos, and calming chamomile flowers – Mila absolutely LOVES it!

And yes, it is medicinal!

herbal tea

We dont “do” desserts

When it comes to feeding my daughter, I’ve never been a fan of desserts. Not that we don’t enjoy eating them!

My reluctance to include them as part of Mila’s eating ritual has more to do with how they are generally used as an incentive or reward for eating the meal that came before it.

As such, Mila has desserts like this jelly as part of her meal and at anytime of the day – she had it for breakfast this morning! It is a good source of protein, so why not?

My Naartjie & Chamomile Jelly Recipe

mila's meals jelly recipe

Naartjie & Chamomile Jelly Recipe

Catherine Barnhoorn | Mila’s Meals
A gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free dessert (or breakfast!) with health benefits!
Cook Time 20 minutes
Setting Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Servings 4


  • 1 Juicer, or citrus squeezer
  • ! sieve
  • 1 Saucepan
  • 1 Kettle
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 Bowl


  • 375 ml naartjie (mandarin) juice or any other fruit juice (except pineapple)
  • 125 ml water hot
  • 2 herbal tea bags e.g. chamomile tea, hibiscus tea
  • 1 1/2 tbsp gelatine powder organic and preservative-free like Great Lakes Gelatine
  • 1 tsp sweetener of choice e.g. raw honey, monk fruit powder, non-GMO xylitol,  Erythritol,  Stevia


  • Squeeze some naartjies until you have 375ml naartjie juice. You may want to pour the juice through a sieve to remove any ‘bits’ (Mila is not a fan of ‘bits’!)
  • Pour the hot water into a mug with the tea bags and allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the tea bags and reheat the tea in a pot on the stove.
  • Remove from the stove and add the gelatine powder. Whisk until all the gelatine has dissolved.
  • If you are using a sweetener, add it to the gelatine solution and stir to dissolve.
  • Add the naartjie juice to the gelatine solution and stir.
  • Pour the liquid into moulds or a big bowl.
  • Place in the fridge for 2 – 3 hours to set.



  • If you want really intense naartjie flavour and/or don’t want to use tea, you can replace it with 125ml additional naartjie juice (heated but not boiling).
  • When it comes to Jelly flavours you are only limited by your imagination! You can use any flavor of tea, with any freshly pressed fruit juice – besides pineapple juice that is. The digestive enzymes in pineapple juice prevent the gelatin from setting.
Keyword dairy-free, egg-free, festive food, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, sugar-free

We make a lot of jelly!

Jelly has become Mila’s traditional Birthday Breakfast.

And it’s such an easy Party Food!

The Hibiscus Tea Jelly Recipe is available in my Halloween Recipe Collection eBook.

Recipe Collection eBook

17 frighteningly delcious (& NUTRITIOUS) party food recipes.

Ingredient & Nutrient Glossary

mila's meals cookbook

Highlighting the health benefits and nutrients of the main ingredients used in this recipe.
Information taken from my book 'Mila's Meals: The Beginning & The Basics' unless otherwise stated.

A very South African name for a juicy, sweet citrus fruit also known as tangerine (in America), mandarin orange (in Europe) and satsuma (in Japan).

Naartjies are an excellent source of:

  • antioxidant flavonoids
  • vitamin C

They have good amounts of:

  • vitamin A
  • folate
  • fibre (pectin)

Additionally they are a source of vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Naartjies have cholesterol-lowering, digestive, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

I used naartjies as a constipation remedy for Mila. A cup of freshly squeezed diluted naartjie juice when I fetched her from school, not only hydrated her – but kept her regular too.

Gelatine powder is a flavourless, translucent substance derived from the processing of animal connective tissue and bones to extract collagen, an insoluble fibrous protein. 

Gelatine contains easy-to-digest (bio-available) calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, amino acids and trace minerals.

Gelatine helps restore a healthy mucosal lining of the stomach and the colon and balances digestive enzymes and stomach acid which are necessary for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.

Gelatine is made up of about 98% – 99% protein in the form of amino acids.

It’s particularly high in amino acids glycine and proline which are critical for giving connective tissue throughout the body its strength and durability.

Glycine also supports our gluthathione production and detoxification processes, helping our bodies to detoxify heavy metals and other toxins we come into contact with through our diet and environment.

"The greatest benefit of putting so much effort into preparing a ‘free-from’ party is that the whole day is enjoyable.
There are no sugar-highs and crashes, there are no lunatic kids, there are no temper tantrums."
Catherine Barnhoorn

Mila’s Meals Reviews

What people say?

This is a delightful and well-informed feast of a book that is especially written for children that suffer with food intolerances. Catherine is especially mindful of gut health too. The book comes with some great advice on eating for the soul.
Remember when we were told not to play with our food. Wow, I wish I could have a do-over. This book will shed light on how you look at your child’s moods, foods, toxic exposures, colic, constipation, ear infections, runny nose, asthma and so much more.


Its as much about learning how to feed your child as it is about re-learning how to feed yourself

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