Fruit Jellies (Gluten-Free Option)
Fruit Jellies are an alternative to liquid gels that can be made up the night before a ride, then carried in a plastic bag for easy access (and no sticky fingers!). The energy in one batch equates to around six commercial gels, and the flavour is completely under your control. Pick a fruit you like and puree it to a smooth texture (or cook in water then pass over a fine sieve). Add sugar, thicken with gelatin and flour, then let set in the refrigerator. For a gluten-free option, use white rice flour rather than wheat flour. If you prefer, you can also replace caster sugar with glucose.
150 g fruit puree or fruit juice
15 g powdered gelatin
100 g caster sugar
1 g salt
50 g plain flour or white rice flour
Other flavours (optional)
Grease a small loaf tin and line with plastic wrap. Place fruit puree into a non-stick saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the puree a little at a time and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to mix the gelatin through the puree, then place over low heat and continue mixing until the gelatin has liquefied and any lumps have broken up. Add the sugar and salt, increase heat to medium and bring the mixture just to the boil. Remove from heat and add flour a little at a time, breaking up any lumps with a whisk. When the flour is fully dispersed, return pan to medium heat and stir until the mixture has just liquefied. Pour into loaf tin and place in refrigerator until set. Remove from tin and cut into cubes. Store cold until use.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can extend the range of flavours by adding spices or commercial flavour essences. Add chili to strawberries, use cheesecake flavouring with passionfruit, or mix grated ginger with rhubarb. You can even replace the fruit with water and use flavour elements such as mint, coffee or butterscotch instead. The flour dulls the final taste a little, so aim for a slightly stronger flavour than normal at the sugar syrup stage.