Homemade & healthy fruit snacks

Oh how I LOVE fruit snacks.

As a kid, I was a chain fruit-snack-snacker. I probably went through at least three packs a day. Dinosaurs, cartoon characters, sea creatures… ooh, they were all so delicious.

When I was older, a major juice company (I don’t like naming names) came out with fruit snacks that are marketed as being healthy — as indicated on the label, they have 100% of the RDA of vitamin C and are “made with real fruit” — and so I quickly replaced my dinos with this more mature and sensible option (or so I thought).

But what I didn’t pay much attention to then was the ingredient list, which in addition to fruit juice and fruit puree includes:

  • Corn Syrup: the second ingredient listed (therefore the second most predominant ingredient); most likely made from GMO corn; has been linked to diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and liver damage
  • Sugar: the third ingredient listed; refined sugar has been linked to increased risk of cancer, type-2 diabetes, obesity, liver damage, mineral deficiencies, and low bone density
  • Modified Corn Starch: likely made from GMO corn
  • Citric Acid: likely made from GMO corn
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors: Such incredibly sketchy terms; MSG, aspartame, and bugs in your food are all considered “natural flavors”
  • Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C): likely produced from GMO corn
  • Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (vitamin E): likely produced from GMO soy
  • Sodium Citrate: a crystalline salt made from fermented citric acid (see above)
  • Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 1: the latter two of these coloring agents have been banned in other countries; derived from coal tar, which is also used to seal-coat products to preserve and protect the shine of industrial floors and appears in head lice shampoos to kill the small bugs

Tasty, huh?

Fortunately, I recently learned that fruit snacks are really easy to make yourself! Best yet, they include just three ingredients, all of which are extremely healthy.

Homemade and healthy Fruit Snacks:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fruit puree
  • 5 tablespoons of raw honey (learn about the health benefits of raw honey)
  • 6 tablespoons of gelatin from grass-fed cows: promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails; great for joints and can help joint recovery; helps tighten loose skin; helps improve digestion; may help improve cellulite; a wonderful source of dietary collagen; its specific amino acids can help build muscle

Yep, that’s it!

Directions

Puree your fruit of choice in a food processor or blender, and measure out 1 cup of puree. About 1.5 cups of chopped fruit should yield 1 cup of puree. Put the puree in a pot on the stove at medium heat. Stir until the puree is warm to the touch (above body temperature but not uncomfortable to touch). Mix in the raw honey. Slowly add the gelatin while constantly stirring the mixture.

After the mixture is consistent, pour the mixture into silicone forms (I use the same silicone molds I use to make homemade chocolate), or you may choose to line a baking sheet with parchment paper and later cut it into bite-sized pieces. Place the molds in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to allow the fruit snacks to set. Then pop them out and enjoy!

The fruit snacks are solid at room temperature but should be stored in the refrigerator.

healthy homemade fruit snacks

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  1. According to your link, the gelatin is “Kosher”. Kosher slaughtering method is the bleeding out of a live animal, in some cases while the animal is suspended by it’s hind legs in the air. Food-grade gelatin is produced mainly from two raw materials, beef skin and pig hide.

    Perhaps you should look into a pectin base?

  2. Hi, Jason. This is a totally valid concern and thank you for bringing it up. The kosher slaughtering process is actually performed in such a way to ensure the the animal feels no or minimal pain. See this link for more info: http://www.wikihow.com/Properly-Slaughter-a-Cow-Under-the-Kosher-Method-Shechitah. This recipe is definitely not for vegan/vegetarians, and pectin might be a great vegan/vegetarian option. I clearly consume meat and meat-based products but only when I am confident they were produced ethically, and I consume gelatin for the aforementioned reasons.

    If you give this recipe a go with pectin, please let me know how it turns out! I might try it out in the future for any vegan/vegetarian readers – thank you for the suggestion.

  3. Can these be made without the honey? I find that pears are plenty sweet without adding anything to them – I’m trying to avoid extra sweeteners, even the natural ones.

  4. Great information, thanks! I bought some cute shapes on clearance and was reluctant to use them. I’m off to make my kids some “homemade & healthy” fruit snacks.

  5. One more quick question..the ingredient list says 6 tbls of gelatin but in the directions portion it says to “Slowly add the 5 tablespoons of gelatin while constantly stirring the mixture.” So I wanted to double check if it is 5 or 6. Thanks.

  6. Oops sorry, Jane! I had originally done 5 but then switched it to six for a thicker fruit snack. Thanks for mentioning it, I will be sure to clarify! If you want a thicker fruit snack, I would do six. After your first batch, you may decide on more or less – it is really a matter of preference.

    Ooh fun 🙂 You can also you the molds for homemade chocolate (https://bodyunburdened.com/homemade-and-healthy-chocolate/).

    Enjoy! I hope the little ones love ’em!!

  7. I just made these and the gelatin didn’t dissolve. My fruit snacks are lumpy with lumps of gelatin. What did I do wrong?

  8. OK, Beth. I just did a little experiment since I was planning to make these anyhow. Do you have a food processor? If yes, after you puree the fruit (and honey if you want to sweeten it), add the gelatin, and puree for another minute so that it is evenly mixed. Then add the whole mixture to the pan to heat it, stirring. After it is heated, remove and pour in the molds. Mine are perfectly consistent!

  9. Do you think I can try that with the ones I’ve already made by reheating them on the stove top, then putting them in the food processor?

  10. I made these with 6 tbls and might try less next time. I added the honey and gelatin to the blender before I heated it. They turned out great. I will now be able to send gummy “cars” and “guitars” to school with my kids with no worries! Thanks so much 🙂

  11. I’m about to make these and while I’m sure they won’t last long I wanted to know about how long they would be good for in the fridge?

    Also, Could you use frozen berries for this? Would the extra moisture change the amount of gelatin to use? Thank you!

  12. I usually make a big batch and have them for the week (so a week? 5 days to play it safe??). Yes, in fact, I use frozen berries! I just let them thaw first (or heat them on the stove and then transfer them to the processor once they’re room temp).

  13. Has anyone tried this fruit snack recipe with Agar Agar, rather than the gelatin? If so, I’ve been told it takes less than what you would use of the gelatin.

  14. Hi, Erin! I just pour it straight from the pot slowly so I don’t overfill the molds. It’s also handy to transfer the mix into a measuring cup or mixing bowl with a spout, but I’m lazy and usually don’t want to do any more dishes than I have to!

  15. If I were to use pectin, would I use the same amount of pectin as you would gelatin? Also, I don’t know much about honey… How much less would you add for a sweeter fruit? And how much more for something like a banana? Or do I have that backwards? New to the kitchen… Ha. Thanks!

  16. I don’t know, I use gelatin not pectin. You can add any amount of honey you want! Maybe add a little and then taste-test to see if you’re good or want to add more.

  17. I just made these. I used watermelon and they turned out more like frozen fruit… Any thoughts? I didn’t use any honey.

  18. Hmm so they didn’t gel at all? Maybe it wasn’t heated up enough. That’s really the only thing I can think of (besides not adding enough gelatin, which I’m assuming you did).

  19. I must tell you that I was soooo reluctant to try these 🙂 I’ve tried a couple of other recipes using unflavored gelatin and they tasted so gawd awful :p So I tried a pectin recipe tonight and wouldn’t ya know, they didn’t set at all! I don’t really like the idea of using pectin because in order for the pectin to set right you must use a TON of sugar and citris. If anyone’s ever made jelly or jams you can automatically recount the amount of sugar you use. So I thought ok, there are 3 ingredients, I have the three ingredients, I have Halloween molds and they set after a few minutes in the freezer. Let’s give it a go. BAM! YUM. I can’t even taste the unflavored gelatin. I did mix all the ingredients in the blender first before heating and I think I may have pureed a little longer than I should of because I ended up with a lighter fluffier gummy. There was a lot of air pockets in mine. It thinned out quite a bit on the stove but I still had a fluff. I’m not complaining they are excellent. My kids will actually eat these! I will do the direct add in on the stove next time though. Maybe add another packet or two of gelatin. But I’m a fan! Thank you so much. I’ve been agonizing for months on a healthy version of a gummy. I already make fruit leather and dried fruit, but my poor kids have been begging me to buy fruit snacks and I have to keep saying no. Not anymore! Sorry for the long response. This really has perturbed me all summer!

  20. My son breaks out in a rash after eating fruit snacks. I can’t figure out why. I’ve been suspicious of pectin and malic acid. Sometimes I think Natural Flavor too. He is allergic to wheat, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. We avoid MSG as well. I am eager to try these. I figure if I try the pectin route I can know if it’s pectin. The pectin and malic acid seem to always be together so I could never figure it out. Eager to try these! Thanks for sharing!

  21. If you use a baking pan (oiled or ith parchment paper), should it be popped into the freezer for a bit or into the fridge? For how long? I make home made fruit roll ups (my daughter likes them made with applesauce) so I have a ton of parchment paper lol…

  22. To cool and set? Yes, definitely. You can’t really keep it in the fridge too long – I’d say maybe 10-15 minutes before you try to roll it. Let us know how it works out for you!

  23. Made these with strawberries. Added the gelatin slowly to warm purée and my mixture got lumpy. The gelatin seemed to not want to dissolve, so I put it all back in the blender, it turned pink and got a lot of air bubbles. Taste a lot like the honey. Will try stevia next time, perhaps and let the puree cool a bit more. Thanks for the recipe.

  24. I put mine in the freezer for 29 min and it still hasn’t set. Did I do something wrong? Your instructions said only 5-10 min

  25. To the person worried about kosher gelatin: many kosher gelatins are actually made from fish bones instead of animal bones, since we kosher eaters won’t eat or cook meat and dairy in the same dishes and pots, so we prefer to keep our ingredients meat and dairy free for flexibility. I know that doesn’t help if you’re vegan, but it may be useful for some vegetarians. Research the brand 🙂