jelly – a history

photo credits here

by janani

Jelly is something everyone can enjoy. Tasteless, yet soothing. Transparent, yet colourful. Its familiar taste and texture invokes nostalgia in everyone’s mouths. Here, however, we look into how it all began.

Before jelly was widely available in an everyday market, the most common gelatine dessert available was something called ‘calf’s foot jelly’. As the name suggests, it was made by extracting and purifying gelatine taken from the foot of a calf. This was mixed with fruit juice and sugar, and eaten as a dessert. Alternatively, it was used in savoury desserts in aspic.

In the eighteenth century, gelatine from the feet of calves, isinglass, and hartshorn were coloured blue with violet juice, yellow with saffron, red with cochineal or green with spinach. Then, it was let to set in layers, placed in small cups. After this, it was flavoured with sugar, lemon juice and mixed spices. This mixture was called ‘jelly’. Hannah Glasse was the first to record the us of jelly in her book, The Art of Cookery, which was published in 1747.

After this, jelly we see in markets today popped up. Jelly is now prepared by dissolving gelatine in hot liquid with flavours and sugar, fruit juice, or other sugar substitutes. Flavouring agents, adipic acid, fumaric acid, sodium citrate, artificial flavourings, and food colours are also added.

Jelly is now a household product which is immediately recognised by all. In the future, the preparation and taste of jelly may be further developed and modified.

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