Jell-O is fascinating. We could spend hours watching it quiver.
In a recent episode of “What’s Inside,” the WIRED team explores what goes into Jell-O and how it is made. The key to the wobbly concoction is collagen, “the fibrous protein that makes flesh tough and stretchy.”
The Jello-O recipe “starts with chopped up pig and cow hides soaked in acid or alkalai,” according to the WIRED video, “after which collagen’s triple helix of amino acid chains relax and unravel in a hot bath of H20.”
As it cools, the substance stiffens into a colorless, odorless, flavorless, fibrous matrix. Sugar is added to sweeten the gelatin, and adipic acid is added to fool your palate into thinking there’s fruitiness—when really there is no fruit at all.
Then there’s the preservatives and stabilizers, which are added to make sure your Jell-O stays looking and tasting fresh, as well as “a wiggly rainbow of petroleum-based artificial flavors” like mock-mellon and simulated-strawberry.
Goddamn, Jell-O is fun.