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Cooking with Toddlers: Watermelon Gelatin

We’re on our second round of parenting a toddler, and while I know I cooked a fair amount with the first one, I’m doing even more with the second. Perhaps because she sees her big sister helping in the kitchen and wants to do everything she does. Perhaps because I’m more comfortable now with what is possible. My tolerance for kitchen messes has ratcheted up a notch and my expectation for what can be done with and by an almost-two-year-old is fairly realistic.

My toddler pushes her “helper’s chair” over to the kitchen counter several times a day (sometimes donning her cooking apron first). While her big sister is cutting fruits and vegetables and operating the electric hand mixer by now, her own role is a bit more limited.

She adds pre-measured cups of flour or tablespoons of baking powder to the bowl (most of it gets in). She stirs the mixture in the bowl with a spoon or a whisk (most of it stays in). She plays with the measuring spoons and cups. And she seems to think she’s helping out by snacking on raisins and other ingredients.

As she gets older, she’ll probably help more and more. If she’s anything like her sister, she’ll want to grease the muffin tins or add cupcake liners to each muffin section. She’ll want to knead the bread dough. She’ll absolutely love “painting” egg washes on top of breads and scones with the pastry brush. She count out the number of blueberries to add to each pancake. She’ll scrub the potatoes. There are so many ways for young children to participate in the kitchen.

We recently made a summery watermelon gelatin, combining our two summertime staples of watermelon (remember those watermelon pops?) and fruit gelatin molds.

Here is a photo gallery of my toddler helping  followed by the recipe. Enjoy!


  • First, puree the watermelon in a blender. 1 of 7
    First, puree the watermelon in a blender.
    Then follow the rest of the instructions in the recipe. My toddler helped drop the watermelon chunks into the blender (and she snacked on just as many).
  • Get out your ramekins or other molds 2 of 7
    Get out your ramekins or other molds
    This is a good step for a toddler to help with.
  • Do you have all your molds ready? 3 of 7
    Do you have all your molds ready?
    We used teddy bears and fluted round molds.
  • Ladle the watermelon mixture into the molds 4 of 7
    Ladle the watermelon mixture into the molds
    A baking tray will hold several molds in place to make transfer to and from the fridge easy and mess-free.
  • Un-mold your chilled Watermelon gelatin 5 of 7
    Un-mold your chilled Watermelon gelatin
    Dip the mold in a bowl of warm water then invert on a plate.
  • Snack time 6 of 7
    Snack time
    Fruit gelatin makes a cool and delicious summer snack.
  • Yum! 7 of 7
    Yum!
    Both my girls love fruit gelatin. In fact, I do too.

Watermelon Gelatin

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups pureed watermelon
  • ½ cup white grape juice
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

1. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup white grape juice. Let sit for five minutes.

2. Heat the other 1/4 cup of white grape juice with salt. Stir in the gelatin mixture.

3. In a bowl, combine watermelon puree, lemon juice, and gelatin mixture.

4. Ladle mixture into individual ramekins or molds. Cover and refrigerate until set, at least three hours.

5. To unmold, dip ramekin in a bowl of warm water to loosen, then invert on a plate. Serve.

Mmmm… Everything tastes better when you help make it yourself!

Read more of Jean’s writing at The Artful Parent.
And don’t miss a post! Follow Jean on Twitter and Facebook!

Try muffin tin meals for healthy toddler eating!

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