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Q: How is "sparkling" Jell-O different from "regular"? How does it "work"? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: How is "sparkling" Jell-O different from "regular"? How does it "work"?
Category: Science > Chemistry
Asked by: julianne-ga
List Price: $7.00
Posted: 28 Mar 2003 22:20 PST
Expires: 27 Apr 2003 23:20 PDT
Question ID: 182688
Executive summary: How does sparkling Jell-O work; what is the
difference in formulation (relative to regular Jell-O, if any) that
lets it trap carbonation? (ingredients lists & directions below -
they're almost the same)

Long version: I make a lot of sugar free Jell-O. Last night for the
first time I made the "sparkling" version of same (sugar free
sparkling white grape). Relative to making the regular kind of Jell-O,
there were the following differences: (a) when I put the hot water in
the powder dissolved MUCH more slowly; (b) instructions said to
refrigerate for 10 minutes and then put in a carbonated beverage,
"gently"; (c) after refrigeration over night there were a few columns
of bubbles in the Jell-O (although it did NOT look like the picture on
the box with the bubbles evenly distributed - am disappointed in this,
but maybe that was the "extra bubbles version"?); (d) when
we ate it today it "fizzed" in our mouths, "sort of like Pop Rocks,"
one of my guests said.

I am satisfied with the product overall but now I'm going crazy
wondering how it "works" - what are the differences in this product
that allow it to trap a carbonated beverage? Or is there no difference
and it's just a question of packaging (so I could try adding
carbonated beverage to regular Jell-O? - the different dissolving
speed argues that there's SOME difference but was that just my

VERBATIM INGREDIENTS of strawberry banana sugar-free Jell-O: gelatin,
adipic acid (for tartness), disodium phosphate (controls acidity),
maltodextrin (from corn), fumaric acid (for tartness), contains less
than 2% of artificial flavor, aspartame (sweetener), acesulfame
potasium (sweetener), red 40.

INSTRUCTIONS from the same box:
1. STIR 1 cup boiling water into gelatin in medium bowl at least 2
minutes until completely dissolved.
2. STIR in 1 cup cold water.
3. REFRIGERATE 4 hours or until firm.

VERBATIM INGREDIENTS of white grape sugar-free sparkling Jell-O:
gelatin, adipic acid (for tartness), disodium phosphate (controls
acidity), maltodextrin (from corn), fumaric acid (for tartness),
aspartame (sweetener), contains less than 2% of artificial flavor,
caramel color, yellow 6, yellow 5, acesulfame potasium (sweetener).

INSTRUCTIONS from the same box:
Sparkling Tips. Use fresh club soda, seltzer or diet ginger ale (cans
and smaller bottles have the most carbonation). For extra sparkling
bubbles, after adding club soda, refrigerate 15 minutes. Gently stir
for 5 seconds; refrigerate 4 hours.
1. STIR 3/4 cup boiling water into gelatin in medium bowl at least 2
minutes until completely dissolved. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
2. GENTLY add and stir in 1-1/4 cupts cold club soda, seltzer or diet
ginger ale. (If you use cold waterinstead of club soda, gelatin will
not have sparkling bubbles.) Cover.
3. REFRIGERATE 4 hours or until firm.

[end quotations from product boxes]

Scope: I am not interested in the sugar-free aspects unless they're
relevant. (Most likely regular and sugar-free "sparkling" versions
work the same?) And for only $7 I don't expect an answerer to set up a
lab and actually analyze the two formulations. I'm just hoping that
there might be someone out there who knows the food chemistry of this
trick and who would be willing to explain it to me (as briefly as you
like) so I can sleep more soundly. Thanks in advance!

Clarification of Question by julianne-ga on 28 Mar 2003 22:24 PST
I just noticed I spelled potassium wrong in both ingredients lists. So
I guess they were ALMOST verbatim. Sorry!
Subject: Re: How is "sparkling" Jell-O different from "regular"? How does it "work"?
Answered By: missy-ga on 28 Mar 2003 23:29 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Julianne!

I'm afraid you're going to be rather disappointed with your answer.

Have a look at the ingredients list from a box of regular (non
sugar-free) gelatin dessert (I use a store brand, but there's no
difference outside of packaging):

"Sugar, gelatin, disodium phosphate, adipic acid, fumaric acid,
artificial flavor, red #40"

(This from "Jell-Rite" Strawberry flavor.)

Aside from the sweeteners (sugar in the regular, aspartame,
maltodextrin and acesulfame potassium in the sugar free), there really
isn't any difference between the "sparkling" Jell-O, and plain old

My grandmother made Jell-O with ginger ale in it for years when I was
a kid, and now my own kids like to make it with different kinds of
soda for a fizzy fun snack.  (Current kid favorite:  strawberry
Jell-O, with Stewart's Strawberries & Cream Soda.  Current Mama
favorite: lime jello, margarita schnapps and Sierra Mist!).

Even the Jell-O website suggests using soda in regular Jell-O:

"Give your JELL-O gelatin an unexpected zing by adding club soda,
ginger ale, or a carbonated fruit drink."

Recipe Idea

Can you believe the nerve of these people, marketing "sparkling"
Jell-O, as if it were any different from their regular product?

Searching on "Sparkling Jello", you'll find:

"Sparkling Jello
List of Ingredients

Champagne Glasses
Measuring cup


1 Package of your favorite jello
1 Can of Ginger ale pop


1. Bring water to a boil package calls for.
2. Pour jello in bowl.
3. Pour boiling water into bowl and stir immediately, till completely
4. Add pop for the rest of liquid required. Stir to mix.
5. Refrigerate till solid.

*You can add any flavors of pop you want. But ginger ale and seltzer
do the best job.
*Adding fruits and candies like gummy worms, will take away from
tasting the bubbles.
*You can use fruit juices to make your jello.
*To make it more bubbly, use less boiled water, and more pop.
*To make it a jiggler jello, use half of the required liquids."

New Year's Party


Quick Sparkling Jello

There are some nifty variations on this trick:

"Cherry Coke Jell-O v2.0

    * Small box of Cherry Jell-O
    * 1/2 cup boiling water
    * 1/2 cup boiling Coca-Cola
    * 1 cup cold Coca-Cola 

Mix in the usual way. Beware of the foam; if you let it sit long
enough, the foam will subside.

This alternate recipe uses 4 oz. water and 12 oz. Coca-Cola; in other
words, you can use one standard soda can.

See also Cherry Coca-Cola Jell-O v1.1 and Shirley Temple Jell-O.

March 1996, Chaz Baden"

Cherry Coke Jell-O v2.0

"Sparkling Jello Gulps

1 package cherry Jello
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pint rainbow sherbet
1 part sparkling cider
1 part ginger ale
cherry pop rocks for the rim of the glass"

Sparkling Jello Gulps

For the truly Jell-O obsessed, there is "Jellophile:  The
Jellomaniac's Manual":

Jellophile:  The Jellomaniac's Manual

I'm sorry there isn't a more interesting, exotic answer to your query,
but I hope you enjoy the recipes all the same, and wish you a good
night's sleep!

If I can be of further assistance, please don't hesitate to ask for
clarification.  I'll be happy to help!


Search terms: [ "sparkling jello" ], and a visit to Kraft's website.
julianne-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Thank you Missy! Now I can relax about this (there's no difference
really) and the recipes and links were great too! Thank you so much
for your help. (This is my second Google Answer so this time I planned
for the tip in case of satisfaction. Wish I could pay more and thank
you again!)

Subject: Re: How is "sparkling" Jell-O different from "regular"? How does it "work"?
From: andrew52-ga on 20 Apr 2003 20:40 PDT
FYI, I found the small glass bottles of seltzer/club soda to work best
vs. the larger ones, plastic ones, or the cans.  Significantly
improved bubble yield!

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