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Coconut Water and Mixed Berries Jelly

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Agar-Agar Jelly always reminds me of many fond childhood memories of consuming different types of homemade Jelly with lots of different fresh fruits and flavours. There are also many store bought jellies with different colours and flavourings that really have great appeal to young children. Some of my favourites jelly flavours include coconut and pandan, mangoes, lychee, pineapple, almond, palm sugar (gula melaka), strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and rainbow colours jelly. For my gluten free recipe, I am using all natural ingredients that include coconut water and nutrient rich mixed berries that include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and goji berries. Agar-Agar powder is added to the coconut water to set the jellies. This recipe is also paleo, vegan, dairy free, soy free, nut free, egg free, corn free and refined sugar free. All ingredients included in this easy dessert makes it a nutritional powerhouse dessert. Read on to find out more.

So, what is agar? Agar (also known as agar-agar) is derived mainly from red algae or seaweed (Gelidium and Gracilaria) and a vegan substitute for gelatin (a derivative of animal collagen). In Japan, it is called Kanten and China grass in India. While agar-agar is a Malay word meaning jelly. According to folktale, agar was uncovered by a Japanese innkeeper, named Mino Tarozaemon, all the way back in 1658 in Japan. He threw away some leftover seaweed soup and became aware that it thickened and coagulated after an overnight freezing winter weather. Agar does not dissolve in cold water but melts rapidly in boiling water and can absorb up to twenty times its weight. It is white in colour and half-translucent, normally sold as packaged dried strips and in powdered form. It can set at room temperature and retains its shape even in warm weather. It is an ingredient commonly used as a thickener in many Asian desserts like jellies, puddings, custards, ice cream, icings, meringues, fruit conserves and jelly layers for cakes. Furthermore, agar is used as a gelling agent, stabilizer and thickener for canning fish and meat and in pastries, soups and salad dressings. The most well-known use of agar is as a coagulating agent for bacteria culture medium. Agar is also used in cosmetics, medicines and dentistry in making dental impressions; as a clarifying agent in alcohol brewing and wine making; as a laxative, for paper sizing fabrics, and appetite suppressant – the popular Japanese Kanten diet plan in Asia.

Agar is very high in dietary fiber, has no sugar, no fat, no calories, no carbohydrates and naturally gluten free. In addition, it is a nutrient dense food, an excellent source of folate/folic acid and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), copper and zinc. Agar is especially rich in iodine, which help supports healthy thyroid function. Other health benefits of agar include: aid in weight loss; lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure; lower risks of cardiovascular diseases; help regulate and detox the digestive system; manage and treat diabetes;  and promote healthy hair and skin. However, agar is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and anyone who has bowel obstruction.

Coconut water has very little cholesterol. It is an excellent source of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), calcium, phosphorus and selenium. It is a low sugar substitute for other sugary drinks and naturally contains high level of electrolytes. Health benefits of coconut water include: help rehydrate the body; reduce blood pressure and improve heart health; sustain muscle relaxation; aid in weight loss; cleanse and detox the body; reduce fatigue and boost energy.

Berries is a large group of farm grown or wild grown fruits that includes blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, mulberries, cranberries, bilberries, loganberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants. They are often referred to as superfood and are all packed with phytonutrients called bioflavonoids such as anthocyanins, flavonols, ellagic acid and resveratrol which are powerful antioxidants that are accountable for the many health benefits of berries and provide them with their broad range of colours. Berries also contain lots of water, dietary fiber and vitamin C. Health benefits of berries include: help eliminates free radicals in the body and protect cells from damage; has anti-inflammatory properties and may ease rheumatoid arthritis; promote healthy bones; help manage diabetes; lower risks of age related neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia; promote eye health and lower risks of macular degenerative disease; maintain healthy blood pressure and promote heart health; reduced risks of cancer like colon and stomach cancer; support healthy hair and skin and assist in weight loss and lowering cholesterol level. Goji berries, also called wolf berries in China, have the same health benefits as berries. They are also associated with long life, help boost fertility, detoxify the liver, improve energy level and elevate mood.

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4 Responses

  1. Charlotte
    | Reply

    Love these refreshing and fruity Jelly and will definitely be making them again.

    Rating: 5 / 5

    • daphnegoh
      | Reply

      Thanks for your nice comment and good ratings. :)

  2. Isabel
    | Reply

    How do you store these? Will they stay good?

    • daphnegoh
      | Reply

      You can store these Jelly in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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