Recipe: Fruit Endurance Gel Blocks
Never buy factory-made energy gels again
Editor's Note: This is Part II in an online series of recipes from Camilla Saulsbury's Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook.
Call them electrolyte gels, endurance gels, sports gels, nutritional gels, carbohydrate gels, or “Mommy’s homemade yummy gummies” (thanks, Nick!)—whatever the eponym, these pop-able fruit gels provide quick carbohydrates for exercise endurance and recovery. While gel blocks are commonly used in endurance sports, they are a great mini pick-up for any kind of fitness endeavor. When I bothered to look at the ingredients on the label one day (while recovering from price shock), I knew I could recreate them (I can be cocky that way). And so I did! The blocks remain gelled at room temperature, and since they rely on natural fruit pectin, not gelatin, they are 100% vegan, too. You can find the fruit pectin in supermarkets or hardware stores where canning products are shelved.
MAKES 45 SQUARES
- 1 cup light-colored natural cane sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 cup organic 100% fruit juice or fruit nectar, pulp-free (e.g., apple, cherry, mango, or berry)
- 1 3-ounce pouch liquid fruit pectin
- 1/4 cup honey, agave nectar, or DIY Glucose Syrup (see page 2)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1. Lightly spray a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk the sugar, fruit juice, pectin, honey, and salt until thoroughly blended.
3. Bring mixture to a full boil over medium-high heat, whisking continuously. Reduce heat to medium and continue whisking for 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon juice. Pour into the prepared pan.
4. Loosely cover the pan with a clean dish towel and let stand at least 12 hours until firm (do not refrigerate).
5. Invert the pan on a cutting board to release the gel. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1-inch squares.
- Be sure to whisk constantly while boiling the fruit juice- pectin mixture or the pectin may form clumps.
These will remain gelled at room temperature so simply wrap in plastic wrap or place in a small zipper-top plastic bag when heading out for an adventure.
- Room Temperature: 1 week.
- Refrigerator: up to one month.
- Serving size: 5 squares
- Calories: 130
- Fat: 0 g, (Saturated 0 g)
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 67 mg
- Carbs: 33.7 g (Fiber 0.5 g, Sugars 32.9 g)
- Protein: 0.1 g
- Pomegranate Margarita Gels: Prepare as directed using cranberry-pomegranate juice as the fruit juice and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice in place of the lemon juice.
- Spirulina Gels: Add 2 teaspoons spirulina powder along with the lemon juice.
- Super Citrus Gels: Prepare as directed using 1/2 cup pulp-free orange juice and 1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice.
- Mango Mojo Gels: Prepare as directed using mango nectar as the fruit juice and 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice in place of the lemon juice.
- Mocha-Motion Gels: Prepare as directed using apple juice as the fruit juice and adding 1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder and 1 tablespoon unsweetened, natural cocoa powder to the mixture before heating.
- Bombastic Berry Gells: Prepare as directed using mixed berry juice as the fruit juice.