How Jell-O Works

Whether it's in the school cafeteria or at a family picnic, there are few people who haven't eaten Jell-O. There's something about the way it jiggles that makes it fun to play with and fun to eat. It can also be molded into tons of different shapes. But how does turn from a liquid into a wobbly treat? Read on for the scoop!

The Ingredients

Jell-O has five basic ingredients: gelatin, water, sugar, artificial flavors and food coloring. It's the gelatin that makes Jell-O hold its shape. Gelatin is processed protein, called collagen, which is found in most animals.

Putting the Moo in Glue

The gelatin in Jell-O is made from the collagen in cow or pig bones and skins. Contrary to popular opinion, hooves and horns aren't often used to make gelatin. Manufacturers grind up these animal parts and use acid, and alkali chemical processes to break down the cellular structures and release the collagen. Next, the mixture is boiled. The stuff that forms a layer on top is gelatin.

The Nuts and Bolts of Gelatin

Gelatin has a structure similar to DNA. With DNA there are two chains (called nucleotides) that twist together in a spiral (known as a double-helix). Gelatin protein has three separate chains (called amino acids) that twist around each other. These chains are held together by weak bonds that form between the amino acids.

Making the Quaking

When you add the flavor and gelatin mixture to boiling water, the powder dissolves and the weak bonds that hold together the protein chains break apart. The chains float around free and loose in your mixing bowl until you add cold water and put the mixture in the fridge. As it cools, the chains start bonding again. The chains become tangled when they are stirred, and water gets into gaps between the chains. The gelatin "chains" and the trapped water and flavor are what make Jell-O wiggle.


Related Stories:



latest videos


What is the Best Thing to do with Jell-O?

  • Throw it at people.
  • Eat it!
  • Jell-O wrestling.
  • Make people shapes with it.

related stories

It's time to put your head down and complete a very large goal: write a whole novel. To help cele...
Summer nights are nice, warm and perfect for hanging out outside, on the porch or at the picnic t...
Have you ever had your jewelry in such a tangle you decided to give up untying all the knots and ...

Random in the forums

rachel_83 posted in Food:
All the famous recipes in each & every country around the world __________________________________________________ I am a foodie I want to travel around the world and tat is one of my dreams. [s:sm3/1jvz]
reply 10 minutes
rachel_83 posted in Food:
I ate a couple of muffins this morning ________________________________ KW is one of the cool places I have ever been  :)  :D
reply 16 minutes
GreenForest23 posted in General:
Banned for been a member on KW 
reply 25 minutes
Tina_Talie posted in General:
Banned because if I gave you money it'd be a lot, but all in coins, so it'd be REALLY heavy.
reply 35 minutes
"NovaHex" wrote: "CountessElectra" wrote: "NovaHex" wrote: It's not unacceptable, it's just frowned upon. See, when you have a grown man drawing dirty pics of him and ponies in art sites, & then making extremely cringe-y pics about ponies, it's starts getting annoying. Sure, it's a somewhat creative show (which is why I liked it when I was 9), but other than that, it sucks. I've tried to understand why people love this show, but it seems no one will say anything other than, "it's a nice show" to me when I ask.   That's a good answer, but what would you say about Pegasisters? Before I'm made a fully fledged one (by myself), have you any words of wisdom? Imma just sum it up in one sentence: Don't be weird.  No need to be rude! I'M NOT WEIRD. THAT IS THE PERSON I WANT TO BE AND I WILL BE THAT PERSON! 
reply about 2 hours

play online games