Why Can't You Put Pineapple in Jello? | Summary and Q&A

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November 29, 2017
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Why Can't You Put Pineapple in Jello?

TL;DR

Gelatin, the main ingredient in Jell-O, is derived from collagen via a process called hydrolysis. Pineapples cannot be added to Jell-O because they contain protease enzymes that prevent gelatin from setting.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is gelatin and how is it made?

Gelatin is a protein derived from collagen by boiling bones, connective tissue, and skin in water for hours. The resulting broth is strained and evaporated to leave behind gelatin.

Q: Why are gelatin and products containing it not considered vegetarian?

Gelatin is made from animal byproducts, so it is not considered vegetarian. However, there are plant-based alternatives available, such as agar and carrageenan.

Q: How did gelatin-based foods become popular among the elite in France and England?

The French invented a device called "The Digester of Bones" to create gelatin, which ended up producing jellies that the elite loved. They found the jellies incredibly delicious and a good relish.

Q: Can any other common foodstuffs prevent Jell-O from setting?

Yes, fruits like papaya, mango, guava, pawpaw, and kiwi, as well as figs and ginger root, contain protease enzymes that prevent gelatin from setting. Meat tenderizers made from bromelain or papain also have the same effect.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Gelatin, made from boiling collagen rich animal byproducts, has been used to make food since at least the 15th or 16th centuries.

  • Gelatin-based foods became popular among the elite in France and England, and were also consumed by soldiers during the Napoleonic wars.

  • Pineapples and other fruits containing protease enzymes, as well as certain vegetables and meat tenderizers, prevent gelatin from setting in Jell-O.

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