Jell-O is a brand name belonging to U.S.-based Kraft Foods for a number of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. The brand's popularity has led to it being used as a generic term for gelatin dessert across the U.S. and Canada.
Jell-O is sold prepared (ready to eat) or in powder form, and it is available in many different colors and flavors. The powder contains powdered gelatin and flavorings including sugar or artificial sweeteners. It is dissolved in very hot water, then chilled and allowed to set. Sometimes fruit, vegetables, whipped cream, or other ingredients are added to make elaborate snacks that can be molded into various shapes. Jell-O must be refrigerated until served, and once set properly, it is normally eaten with a spoon.
There are also non-gelatin pudding and pie filling products under the Jell-O brand. To make pudding, these are cooked on stove top with milk, then either eaten warm or chilled until more firmly set. Jell-O also has an instant pudding product which is simply mixed with cold milk and then chilled. To make pie fillings, the same products are simply prepared with less liquid.
Though the word Jell-O is a name brand, it is commonly used in the United States as a generic and household name for any gelatin products.
Gelatin, a protein produced from collagen extracted from the boiled bones, connective tissues, and intestines of animals, has been well-known and used for many years.
It was popularized in the Victorian era with spectacular and complex "jelly moulds". Gelatin was sold in sheets and had to be purified, which was very time-consuming. It also made gelatin desserts the province of the relatively well-to-do. In 1845, industrialist Peter Cooper (who built the first American steam-powered locomotive, the Tom Thumb), obtained a patent (US Patent 4084) for powdered gelatin.
Full article ▸