Jello is a popular, fruity-flavored dessert that many children and even adults enjoy eating. To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of it as I would rather have meringues or macarons. But a friend recently asked me if it is OK to freeze jello?
She asked this because she’s worried that Jello won’t last that long. She apparently bought a ton of the dessert, so she naturally wanted to know the best way to prolong its shelf life.
What is Jello?
A bowl of Jello and a spoon on the table
To the uninitiated, Jello is actually a brand named owned by Kraft Foods. The name is used to market a wide range of snacks and desserts. But it can also refer to gelatin-abased desserts consisting of coloring, sweeteners and fruit flavorings.
There are many ways to enjoy Jello. You can eat it as it is. You can top it with whip cream, or you can add some fruits. You can buy Jello in the grocery or even make your own.
Can Jello go bad?
A plate of Jello and bowls of nuts on the table
Like all foods, Jello can go rancid. This sweet treat is high in sugar and water, so its spoilage is very much inevitable.
In fact, when you store prepared Jello in the fridge, it would only last 7 to 10 days. The same goes for opened Jello cups. When I say prepared Jello, I mean those cups that you can snack on, stir together for dessert and even those you use for boozy shots.
Jello cups with fruits have a shorter life span. Due to the presence of fruits, these desserts will likely spoil in 2-3 days even when stored in the fridge.
Pre-packaged and completely sealed cups are a different story. When completely sealed and stored at room temperature, the snack cups can last for four months. You can even put them in the refrigerator, so they will be safe to eat past a year, as long as the cups are sealed.
Can you freeze Jello?
Slices of kiwi and a bowl of kiwi jello
So can you freeze Jello? Is this the best way to extend the shelf life of opened Jello cups?
Technically speaking, you can freeze Jello in freezer containers. But eating it afterward is a different matter altogether. Freezing won’t result in the dessert hardening like ice cubes due to their gelatin content. Worse, Jello will lose its texture when frozen.
Why does this happen? It’s because freezing will only damage the polymers and colloids that bind the gelatin together. The Jello will then separate when you thaw it.
This YouTube video will give you a better idea of what will happen to Jello when you freeze it. As the person who uploaded the video admitted, she accidentally froze the dessert for 7 hours. She even expressed disgust after seeing the appearance of the frozen Jello.
It should be noted though that the uploader of the video said that the taste of the Jello was not affected by the freezing. The frozen Jello still tasted great as she mentioned in the latter part of the clip.
Freezing Jello shots, or Jello with alcohol, will practically yield the same results. I know that a lot of people serve Jello shots during parties because it is one way to ingest alcohol without tasting it.
If you didn’t know, alcohol has a lower freezer temperature compared to water. It needs to be in an environment of about -97 degrees Celsius to freeze. And most of the freezers can only reach -20 degrees Celsius.
As such, Jello shots won’t completely be frozen no matter how long you keep them in the freezer. The taste of the Jello shot may not change, but the consistency may be different that your guests would think twice about drinking it.
Lastly, freezing Jello will not extend the shelf life of the dessert. It would still go stale after 7 to 10 days.
So in short, freezing won’t affect the taste of Jello. It is the change in texture and consistency that may have you thinking twice about freezing this dessert.
How to store Jello?
Jello should be covered in a plastic wrap
Prepared Jello should be covered in a plastic wrap to prevent air and moisture from spoiling it. It’s also recommended that you store it in an airtight container before placing it in the refrigerator.
Unopened Jello cups should be stored in the refrigerator. If you are to store them in the cupboard, make sure that temperature doesn’t exceed 23 degrees Celsius. The sealed cups should also be away from water or heat sources.
You should also keep away dry Jello mix from light, heat, and moisture if you are to store it at room temperature. The package should also be tightly sealed to prevent exposure to moisture.
You don’t need to refrigerate packages of Jello mix because it won’t extend the shelf life of the product.
So to answer the question of my friend—yes, you can freeze Jello, but it won’t extend the shelf life of the food. Moreover, freezing can affect the texture and consistency of the dessert. If I were you, I would just keep leftover Jello in the refrigerator where it would stay safe for consumption in 7 to 10 days.