Nov 10 2009

How Does Jell-O Work?

November 10th, 2009 at 5:03 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Nice article over at the Boston Globe on how Jell-O works, explaining the science of food.

This same sort of food science is what is a core component in the fascinating field of molecular gastronomy, but that will be a subject of other posts in the future.

One thing I found interesting in the Boston Globe article, however, is that if you put certain fresh fruits, such as papaya, in gelatin, the gelatin won’t set. That’s because papaya and pineapple, among other fruits, contain enzymes which break down protein. Which is also why papain, a papaya enzyme, is helpful in reducing the sting of jellyfish and related stinging organisms – the papain breaks down the proteins of the stinging toxins, rendering them inert. Food as a type of medicine. Cool!