Summer Fruits & Creamy Coconut Panna Cotta (+ the health benefits of gelatin).
By Amy Crawford
Who as a kid stuffed their faces at parties with brightly coloured jellies made in orange skins? I did. In fact, that's me on the right down below with my dear friend Ange at her birthday party (yep, my adoration of food clearly comes from many moons ago ;-). That jelly was made from gelatin you can buy at the supermarket - the only catch being that not only does it contain gelatin, it also contains sugar (or artificial sweeteners), food colourings and artificial flavours. As a 'whole foodist' who does her very best to eat food as close to nature as possible, to eat food that ADD VALUE to her life, I do need to say - that is not food, that is fake food made in a laboratory (that most definitely does not add value to our lives).
So this takes me to my next important point: there is a big difference between one gelatin and another. As a matter of fact, gelatin in its unadulterated form is actually an unassuming superfood. For those unaware, gelatin is the purified protein derived from the collagen from skin, bones and/or connective tissue of animals. Given it is made from animal products we do recommend you seek out a high quality gelatin derived from grass fed animals.
What are the health benefits of (pure) gelatin:
- Promotes skin health & reduces wrinkles
- Anti ageing
- Strengthens hair, teeth and nails
- Reduces stretch marks and cellulite
- Assists weight loss
- Aids digestion and reduces leaky gut
- Supports the adrenal glands
- Regulates and increases metabolism
- Balances hormones
- Repairs injuries and wounds
- Reduces the symptoms of allergies
- Reduces inflammation
- Maintains muscle mass
Personally I aim for 2 tablespoons of gelatin per day to receive the above benefits. I add it to smoothies, mueslis and juices typically. Just do know it thickens quickly!
Now, onto the fun part!
Serves 2 (or 4 depending on size of servings)
You will need:
1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk
1 cup fresh or frozen mango
1 cup mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries etc)
1 1/2 tablespoons gelatin (we use Great Lakes)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup coconut nectar (or sweetener of choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place water into a medium saucepan and sprinkle in the gelatin. Stir to combine and remove any lumps. Allow to stand for 5 minutes until the gelatin has softened.
Place the coconut milk and mango into a high powered blender and combine well.
Warm the gelatin slightly over low heat (very important not to allow it to get too hot and definitely not boiling point). Add the coconut nectar and vanilla and stir to dissolve. Stir in the mango mixture.
Scoop out 1 cup of the mango mixture and place it back into the food processor. Add the mixed berries and combine until smooth.
Divide the mango mix into the prepared serving glasses/ramekins. Refrigerate for an hour or so until the mango layer becomes firm. Leave the berry mixture on the kitchen bench during this time (so as not to firm). Once the mango layer is firm, pour the berry layer on top carefully. Return to the fridge for 2-3 hours. Lovely for bunch or dessert!
Being that gelatin is an animal product, how would the vegans among us substitute this ingredient in this recipe?