Answer: No, jelly is not vegan.
Jelly is one of the most popular and delicious desserts. However, vegans need to avoid it as it’s not vegan-friendly.
Can Vegans Eat Jelly?
With the vegan diet gaining popularity, more people are becoming aware of which foods are safe for consumption and which are not. Among them is jelly, the wobbly and translucent fruit-flavored dessert. So, how is this innocent-looking dish not safe for vegans, you ask?
Well, the truth is, it contains two ingredients that are not vegan-friendly. These are:
This ingredient is used to keep the jelly in shape. It is derived from collagen, which uses animal products like pork and beef cartilage, bones, and skins.
In some cases, like sweeteners, manufacturers add honey while making jelly. And as you may know, honey is non-vegan. Also, in some instances, they add different kinds of sugar, which are not appropriate. For example, sugar contains bone char. To be on the safe side, look for products that contain sugar manufactured by certified vegan manufacturers.
Common Confusion Surrounding Jelly
People often confuse jelly with other foods like jelly candies, preserves, and jam. That’s owing to the similar texture of the foods. In such cases, it is advisable to read the label. For instance, jam is similar to jelly, but you should know that you don’t need to strain the fruit to make jam. Ideally, the basic ingredients are fruit, sugar, and a gelling agent called pectin, which is extracted from fruits. If the jam contains pectin, you can be sure it’s vegan.
Jelly candies, on the other hand, contain gelatin. Therefore, vegans can’t consume them. Preserves are like jelly and jam but contain more fruits. These are more vegan-friendly as they usually contain pectin and not gelatin.
Jelly Alternatives for Vegans
So, does this mean that you, as a vegan, can’t have jelly at all? No!
As explained, jelly isn’t mostly vegan. However, if you have a sweet tooth and can’t resist your craving, fear not. You can always fulfill your desire by preparing it at home and replacing gelatin with agar-agar. This ingredient is made from seaweed and provides the same texture as gelatin. You can always buy agar-agar jelly from stores, too.
Similarly, you can also use pectin, Carrageenan, corn starch, and potato starch in place of gelatin.
Make Jell-O Instant Pudding at Home
You can also make some pudding by purchasing Jell-O instant pudding packs with different flavors. Though the brand is technically vegan, you can’t use plant-based milk to make pudding, just like the label says. But that’s not entirely true, as you can use vegan milk. The secret here is to add less milk than the instruction recommends, two cups.
Of course, you will get lesser pudding than you initially planned. So, if you plan on making a large batch, you can buy several of these packets because they are relatively cheap. Also, make sure that you chill the milk beforehand, as it can greatly help in the thickening process.
Here’s how you can make your very own Jell-O instant vegan pudding:
- A box of JELL-O instant pudding pack
- 1/2-3/4 cups of chilled and unsweetened vegan milk
- Add the powdered mix to a medium mix and add half a cup of the chilled milk. Mix it thoroughly
- Start adding two teaspoons of milk until it reaches the desired thickness. You can add a cup of milk, but not more than that, for a thin consistency.
- Your pudding is ready! You can have it instantly or store it in the refrigerator for not more than five days.
So, now you can stop crying over the fact that your sweet days are over! If plan A doesn’t work, you can always go for plan B and C- the list goes on. Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to forego all your favorite foods! You can stay healthy on a vegan diet while fulfilling your cravings for your favorite foods or more. As the saying goes, if there is a will, there is a way!