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I have made jelly using both Jello and agar-agar seaweed.

Jelly made with agar-agar is firm. Using concrete-pouring terminology, the agar-agar jellies that I made would have a slump of more than a foot. Whereas, my jellies made from jello would have a slump height of only about 4 inches.

That is, I estimate that I could make a 1 cubic foot block of jelly from agar-agar and it would still hold, whereas the the max size of a jello block is only 4 cubic inch before it starts crumbling. Just an estimate, have never tried making a cubic foot block of agar-agar.

Is there a way to firm up the jellies made from jello? Would adding tapioca flour help? But adding tapioca flour would destroy the pretty translucence of jello.

Also, agar-agar has a nice firm chewiness whereas eating jello is like eating yogurt.

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gelatin can make a very firm but unpalatable product; think gummi bears –  Pat Sommer Aug 30 '12 at 18:11
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There is a modified form of tapioca that gives a clear solution, but it is not easily available and I do not think it would help in this case.

The obvious way to firm up Jello is to use less water than recommended - use somewhere between a half and three quarters of the amount specified on the packet. But you are comparing agar with gelatin here, it is like comparing chalk and cheese. Gelatin is extracted from bones, agar-agar is extracted from seaweed. They are chemically very different, the big common factor being that they form an edible jelly.

I'm not going to discourse on those differences, beyond saying that mixing chalk and cheese is not a good idea. I am just going to point out that, since much of the gelatin comes from pig bones, Muslims object to gelatin. OTOH Muslims like jelly, so in every Halal shop you will find a range of commercially produced fruit jellies which are mostly based on seaweed. Since vegetarians also object to gelatin, you get those jellies in health food shops and other vegetarian outlets as well.

Get some Halal jelly and start from that, you should be able to adjust the texture as desired with agar-agar ...

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Jello is flavoring and gelatin. Just take a look at the ingredients list for a few flavors on the Kraft website.

You're likely right about agar-agar adding the texture properties you desire. An alternative would be to just use a jello mix plus one or more packets of unflavored gelatin.

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