Saturday, August 8, 2009
How to: Encase live flowers in Jell-O
This is in response to an earlier post "How to: Give a sick friend both Jell-O and flowers simultaneously."
Encasing live flowers in Jell-O has the same steps as encasing anything in Jell-O including: remote controls, cell phones and staplers. I'll go over those another time.
Step One: Find your flowers.
One important thing to remember is: NOT ALL FLOWERS ARE EDIBLE. Here is a list of edible flowers. It is also important not to use flowers that have been sprayed with nasty pesticides or chemicals. Most large grocery stores carry packages of mixed edible flowers, just look by the fresh herbs. (I've seen these at Safeway.) I used nasturtiums that I grew myself. Unfortunately however, the flavor of most flowers don't go so well with the flavor of Jell-O. And unless you're making a salad mold with lots of veggies and vinegar, there will be a definite flavor clash.
Step Two: Wash your flowers.
Just run them under COLD water and shake them off. If they're a little wet, it really doesn't matter. You just don't want to squish them.
Step Three: Make your Jell-O.
Your flowers will show up best in a light colored Jell-O. I would suggest yellow.
Use my basic Jell-O mold recipe:
2 - 3oz boxes of Jello (or 1 - 6oz box)
2 envelopes of Knox plain gelatin
2 cups boiling water
First mix Jell-O and gelatin in glass bowl.
Add boiling water, and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
Chill until it's just a little warmer than room temperature. But NOT until set.
Step Four: While your Jell-O chills, prepare your mold.
Instead of a mold I used tea cups.
You'll need: String, tape, scissors, flowers and some type of container.
First, tie the string around the base of the flower. Leave a few inches of string on both sides. Then, tape the strings to the sides of your container and tighten. Make sure your flower is suspended inside the container. It shouldn't be touching the edges anywhere. Next tie a string to the flower, perpendicular to the first one. Tape the strings to the container and tighten.
Step Five: Pour Jell-O into mold.
Make sure your Jell-O is cool enough to pour. DO NOT POUR HOT JELL-O OVER YOUR FLOWERS! They will wilt. Pour Jell-O slowly from all sides. I used a turkey baster so I'd make less of a mess. Don't fill the container completely full. Leave about a half to three-quarters of an inch at the top...
...or skip "Step Four" and pour about a half inch of Jell-O into your container. Place flower face down on top and chill. When mostly set pour more Jell-O on top completely covering the flower.
Step Six: Chill.
Chill until set.
Step Seven: Trim off the tops of the flowers and take off the strings.
(Steps 8-9 are optional.)
Step Eight: Make white base.
(This will make the flower stand out more.)
Add 1/4 cup cold water to 2 envelopes of plain gelatin, wait until it blooms. Add 1 cup boiling water, stir until it dissolves. Add 1 cup condensed milk or icecream and stir. Let this chill until it is about room temperature but not set.
Step Nine: Pour white base over Jell-O.
Pour your chilled white base over the Jell-O, completely cover your flowers, and fill the remaining space in the container. Chill overnight or until completely set.
Step Ten: Remove from container or mold.
Moisten tips of fingers in warm water and gently pull gelatin away from top edge of the mold. Dip your Jello mold just to the rim in lukewarm water for about 10 seconds. (Only use hot water if you're using a glass or a plastic container.) Lift from water and shake gently to loosen from edges. Moisten the top of the gelatin. Place lettuce around the edges and hold in place with plate. Then invert mold and plate together. Lift mold off.
If your Jell-O is stuck, and it probably is, see more detailed notes here.
And there you have it! Live Flowers Suspended in Jell-O! Amaze your friends and relatives!