I have a pint of fruit juice, and some Gelatin. I want to make a fruit jelly (gelatin dessert) for after dinner, which will be in 8 hours.

Living in the city with a vegetable shop around the corner, I do not have a refrigerator. It is however cold and rainy, and from experience, 6-7 hours on the windowsill will cause it to gel almost perfectly.

Are there any additional, simple tricks I can use to lower the temperature in the bowl by a few degrees more? I will be using a relatively flat bowl.

  • But where do you put your milk? – Nobody Jun 29 '11 at 13:42
  • @rmx I drink only rice milk at home, which can stand warmth for a few days. If you don't need dairy products (or can live with having them only in winter), living without a fridge it works surprisingly well! – Pekka Jun 29 '11 at 14:45
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    Head to the store, buy a bag of ice? – derobert Jun 29 '11 at 15:16
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    Perhaps you could chill some water outside at night, then put it in an ice chest (or other insulating container) and put the jelly in a sealed container in that, agitating now and then. Hard to see how you could take any more advantage of the cool exterior temperatures without a lot more work. – Cascabel Jun 29 '11 at 19:46
  • A lot more work: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein_refrigerator – Cascabel Jun 29 '11 at 19:46

I'd place a tray in my sink a slowly run water through it, then sit the jelly on top of the tray, such that the bottom half of the jelly mould is under water. The constant, gentle, flow of cold water will cool the jelly quickly.

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    Wasting thousands of liters of drinkable water for slightly colder jelly?! No thanks. – rumtscho Jun 29 '11 at 13:40
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    This method works quite well, because water is an excellent heat conductor. @Rumtscho: You only need a slow trickle of water, not a full flow. Thousands of liters is a gross exaggeration. Besides, the water gets recycled into the sewage treatment system, purified, and can then be reused. It's not like he's watering a lawn in the dessert or something. – BobMcGee Jun 29 '11 at 14:18
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    Sorry, it turns out I was wrong - it is hundreds, not thousands of liters. I measured .6 liters per minute with a minimal trickle, resulting in 235 liters over 6.5 hours. That's more than 3 times my daily use, just for some jelly which will set OK without it. And water recycling costs money, energy and labor. On a personal finance level, the tap water + sewage costs for 234 liters are Eur 1.40 in my city - more than the price for a liter of juice + a pack of gelatine. I know it will work, it is just a terrible waste. – rumtscho Jun 29 '11 at 19:40
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    Wouldn't need anywhere near that amount of water. Turning over the water at a rate of 1 litre per hour would probably be sufficient to cool the jelly. You could use less water at the beginning, tuning off the tap for some time, as the large temperature differences between the jelly and the bath will mean it cools quickly without any flow. Later, when the jelly is nearly set, you can increase the flow to actually chill it. Additionally, you don't need to discard the water used for cooling. It's still clean and can be used for cooking or washing. – Rincewind42 Jun 30 '11 at 3:00
  • Couldn't you recycle the water for the garden or something? – George Aug 19 '14 at 22:56

Another solution - knock on a neighbours door and put the jelly in their fridge to set. Of course it depends on how well you know your neighbours. If you don't know your neighbours, this could be a useful way of breaking the ice - like the clichéd, "asking for a cup of sugar."

  • Yeah, that is the first thing that I thought of, but all those nearby who I know well work during the day. Still, absolutely worth mentioning – Pekka Jun 29 '11 at 15:16

Take a large pot or pan and flip it over (flat side up) and place the item on top. This will improve the speed a lot. Of course the more conductive the pan the better -- copper or aluminum pans will work best.

This also works for defrosting items (for people with a fridge).

If you only have ceramic bowls this might not be such a good solution since ceramic is a very good insulator. If you can use a metal bowl (or no bowl when defrosting) this solution is very good and energy efficient.

  • In addition to this, be sure to put the rig in the coolest spot available. Perhaps the basement, or inside cabinets which don't get sun. Just a few degrees may make a difference. – KatieK Jun 29 '11 at 18:55

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