Frozen Jell-O Is As Close As You Can Get To Eating Stained Glass

Although Jell-O is best known for being a jiggly gelatin dessert, it can be enjoyed in far more ways than you might initially think. For instance, you can make your favorite flavor of Jell-O even cooler — literally! — by preparing it as usual, then sticking it in the freezer to further solidify.

When frozen, the water in Jell-O stiffens and expands — while the gelatin maintains some flexibility, leaving us with a texture somewhere between rubber and crystal. Cooler yet, because some light can still pass through the frozen Jell-O, the pieces end up looking like stained glass. Perfect for holiday get-togethers, and hey, if you're feeling creative, you could take things a step further by making a Jell-O mosaic for your guests.

Now, we can't promise that eating frozen Jell-O gives the exact same experience as eating stained glass (nor should anyone find out), but it could satisfy the same primal urges that make us eat too many Pop Rocks. We're looking at you, forbidden aquarium pebbles.

Could frozen Jell-O be an edible-crystal alternative?

Over the last few years, snacks like edible crystals have become increasingly popular online. Of course, not everyone is willing to spend upwards of $40 on a small box of Vietnamese candies, so frozen Jell-O could very well be a budget-friendly alternative.

Although most edible crystals use agar-agar (which is seaweed-based), and Jell-O uses gelatin (an animal product), both ingredients serve similar functions in food –- providing a gummy texture and translucent appearance. Gelatin is slightly more tender than agar-agar, and using it to make edible crystals would, again, require you to freeze it for a couple of hours. The agar-agar approach, on the other hand, can set and crystalize at room temperature over the course of a few days if you want it hard. Otherwise, it sets in about 30 minutes to an hour.

All in all, frozen Jell-O is more easily accessible to the masses and requires less prep time than real-deal crystal candy, even if it isn't quite the same thing. Besides, you can make a beautiful mosaic of colors by mixing and swirling semi-set Jell-O before you stick it in the freezer.

Give your frozen Jell-O a twist with these fun ideas

If you're looking for a Jell-O idea that's slightly more exciting than just putting these jiggly treats in the freezer, look no further. Frozen Jell-O can be zhuzhed up quite easily with the addition of fruit, be it fresh, frozen, or canned. For example, put that canned fruit cocktail to use by mixing it with your Jell-O prior to refrigerating and freezing. Once frozen, the fruit will add bursts of color, flavor, and texture to your Jell-O crystals. Or you can try gelatina de mosaico, a Mexican and Brazilian dessert that features beautifully colored squares of Jell-O set into a ring mold of a milk-based gelatin. You can even freeze slices of it for a true stained-glass window crunch.

Alternatively, you can create a lighter, airier dessert by mixing together Jell-O and whipped cream. Just like the gelatin in the Jell-O, the whipped cream will add an almost crispy, mousse-esque texture once frozen. For ease of serving, consider freezing the Jell-O and whipped cream concoction in smaller dollops or even in molds. These make for a festive holiday treat, as well as a tasty way to cool off on hot days -– we love the versatility.