Take a syringe, one bowl of clear jello, two small jars of tinted milk jello and one very patient instructor and what do you get?
A gelatin flower! (Or maybe a jello flower?)
Call it what you will, I think it’s very pretty.
I’ve been tied to my desk a lot lately, working on several freelance stories, but today I took a break to join a Japanese friend, M, for a little class on making gelatin flowers. M knows I’m fascinated by how talented the Japanese are at making food beautiful and thought I’d appreciate a tutorial from her friend Miki, who recently started teaching the art of making jello flowers. We met today for a couple of hours in Miki’s apartment and made two flowers each.
Miki had the supplies out and ready on her dining room table when we arrived. It almost looked like we were ready for a medical procedure. I forgot to take a picture of the surgical gloves.
We began by scooping a small chunk from the center of our clear gelatin bowl. Then, the fun began. Miki added yellow coloring to a jar of milk-based jello and then filled two syringes with the yellow jello.
M and I then inserted the syringes into our clear jello bowls, carefully avoiding touching the bottom of the bowl. Miki instructed us to push down the syringe while pulling it up and out of the jello to make a thin strand of yellow suspended inside the clear gelatin. We made many little push/pulls to create the flower’s center.
Next, it was time to make the flower petals. I chose purple. We switched to a petal-shaped attachment for the syringe.
It was the same process over again, although the purple gelatin bloomed out to fill the shape of the petal as I pulled the syringe up and out of the clear jello.
We were making the flowers upside down so we had to check frequently from underneath to see how the petals appeared.
I am far from craftsy so you can see how hard I was concentrating to make sure I didn’t mess up:
The upside down flowers aren’t pretty, which makes it all the more fun when you flip them around.
We took a break for some coffee and cake – I thought the little plate with a space for the mug was adorable – before making one more flower each.
My second flower was an attempt at a yellow carnation. It turned out a bit messy and squishy-looking, but it was still fun to make.
Here’s the five flowers we made. Miki made the pretty pink one with green leaves. They almost look real to me.
A closer look at M’s blue flower:
Miki then demonstrated with practiced ease how to liberate the flower from its bowl:
And here’s me smiling in shock that I successfully made such pretty flowers! All the credit goes to my excellent teacher who guided me thoughtfully through the process and to my friend M who translated Miki’s instructions into English.
Miki packed up the flowers with a little bag of ice for us to take home. I haven’t been brave enough to slide mine onto a plate yet, although I think I will tomorrow. The flower is edible for a day or two. I had a small bite earlier – the first scoop we did to get started – and it was a light, sweet taste. If you’d like to make your own, Google and YouTube offer up recipes and instructions under the search terms of “jello flowers” and “gelatin flowers.” (Local friends: Miki can do classes for two, maybe three students. Contact me and I’ll put you in touch.)