Monday, February 9, 2015

Artificial Dye-Free Valentine Gummy Hearts

With Valentine's Day less than a week away, these super quick and easy gummy hearts make the perfect treat for your little Valentine(s). Better yet, they are made with grass-fed gelatin (you can read the benefits here and here), local honey and with no artificial colors. On occasion, I do let my kids have the rare clear soda and conventional treats when we are away from home because I don't want to be that mom. However, I am always and unapologetically that mom when it comes to artificial dyes.

The FDA states that the artificial dyes used in our foods are perfectly safe and take issue with the multiple studies that claim otherwise. Due to these same studies, countries like Norway, Austria and Britain have banned artificial colors in their foods. In addition, the European Union requires warning labels on foods containing any artificial dyes. So what, exactly, was found in these studies? In lab tests done on animals, damage to DNA and genotoxicity occurred along with birth defects. In studies done on human children with or without ADHD, increases in hyperactivity were shown in both groups. Some scientists also state that artificial dyes are contaminated with known carcinogens. Anyway you slice it, artificial dyes are bad news. I urge you to start checking labels of the foods that you buy. You will be surprised where artificial colors like Yellow #6 are hiding. (They're everywhere!)

The Valentine gummy hearts are colored with a splash of tart cherry juice... but an organic cranberry or pomegranate juice would work just as well. Let's keep our treats safe and sweet- just like our Valentines!

Artificial Dye-Free Valentine Gummy Hearts
Living Life Granola
1/3 cup Izze sparkling apple (or other juice-sweetened soda)
3 tbsp grass-fed gelatin
3 tbsp local raw honey
1 tbsp organic tart cherry juice (or other organic, red fruit juice)

In a small sauce pan, whisk the honey, cherry juice, and Izze together until the honey is fully incorporated.  Working one teaspoon at a time, otherwise the mixture will be clumpy, sprinkle the gelatin over the honey juice and whisk until all the gelatin powder is wet. Continue until all the gelatin is in the pan (9 tsp total). It should turn into a thick paste.

Heat the pan over low-heat until the gelatin/juice mixture is liquid and runny again. Pour into an ungreased 8 x 8 x 2 glass baking dish if using a small cookie cutter or carefully pour into candy molds. Place the baking dish or molds in the freezer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the gummies or pop the gummies out of the molds. Can be stored in the fridge, in an air-tight container, for up to 2 weeks.

Linked with the Homemade Mondays blog series.


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