April 19, 2024

Completed salad. Very refreshing taste. Nana’s Kitchen photo.

Completed salad. Very refreshing taste. Nana’s Kitchen photo.

Nana’s Kitchen: Jell-O Recipes

Greetings, home cooks, welcome to Nana’s Kitchen.

Jell-O Trivia (answers at end of article)

  1. In 1936 Jell-O came out with a cola flavored Jell-O. True or False
  2. The residents of what United States city eat more lime flavored Jell-O than any other U.S. city
  3. What were the first flavors of Jell-O? (Hint: there were 4)
  4. What is the name of Jell-O sugarless gelatin?
  5. May Wait came up with the name for the fruit flavored gelatin by combining the word jelly with -O, a popular suffix added to the end of many food products at the time. (She was wife of Pearle Wait, inventor). True or False  I love old cook books old and new.

It is fun to go through recipes and experiment or wax nostalgic at remembered recipes not so popular today. One of these is jello. I remember salads made with the squiggly food at home, church picnics,dinners, and family reunions. The lime jello with shredded cabbage,carrots, and pineapple seemed to be a staple but I have not seen it for many years. Fruit, vegetables and meat found their way into jello at one time or another. Molds were popular and came in various shapes and sizes. Even one shaped like a fish. My mother had two copper colored molds. They were not real copper but they were pretty. Later at some point there was a Tupperware mold. Alas, I do not know whatever happened to them.

The first written reference to gelatin was from a Frenchman, Denis Papin (1647- 1712). He recorded his experiments that resulted in a gelatinous material formed from animal bones being boiled. There is evidence the Egyptians used liquid from boiled bones like glue. Fast froward to 1895 when Pearle Wait bought the patent from Peter Copper (1791-1883) for his Portable Gelatin. Wait and his wife,May, made a product  with  flavorings added  to the gelatin and sugar. The first flavors were strawberry, raspberry,orange, and lemon. They trade maked their product “ Jell-O”.  Another brand name known today is Knox. It has been around for a 100 years. The only ingredient in the package is gelatin.

There are many recipes using jello. An old favorite is Strawberry Poke Cake or Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Perhaps you might be interested in Jell-O with Shrimp, Chicken Jell-O Salad, Jell-O booze and mashed tomatoes, Lime Cheese Jell-O Salad, or maybe Jell-O with olives and fruit. No?

I came across a recipe for Finger Jell-O. I thought this would be great for the grand children visiting this summer. It easy, cooling, and a great fluid replacement.

Finger Jell-O

  • 4 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin
  • 2 packages Jell-O any flavor, your choice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water Soak elation in one cup cold water

Put Jell-O,sugar, and gelatin in bowl. Add boiling water. Stir. Pour into a cake pan. Let set in refrigerator. Cut and eat. Just a little side note. Jello is counted when calculating fluid intake in the hospital. It is mostly liquid. So if the children eat jello it is helping with fluid intake. Good to know when the little ones are ill.

The store bought jello cups are 12.5 ounces or about one and a half cups. The 10th edition of the Betty Crocker Cook Book, 2006, lists two recipes with Jell-O. Strawberry Margarita Cups and easy Cranberry-Orange Mold. The 11th edition (2013)  mentions these as well. So I figure they are tried and true. And just for fun there is a cookbook from 1933 titled “What Mrs. Dewey did with the new Jell-O”. This would be a treat to have. 

Easy Cranberry-Orange Mold (Betty Crocker 10th edition)

  • 1 can (11 ounces) mandarin orange segments, drained, juice reserved
  • 1 package (3 ounces) orange flavored gelatin 
  • 1 can (16 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce Salad greens, if desired. 
  • Add enough water to reserved mandarin orange juice to measure 1 1/4 cups.

In 1 quart sauce pan, heat juice mixture to boiling.  Place gelatin in medium bowl. Pour boiling mixture on gelatin; stir until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in cranberry sauce until it is melted. Stir in orange segments. Pour into 4 cup mold or bowl. Refrigerate about 4 hours or until firm. Unmold. Serve on sale greens.  

Betty also tells us how to unmold gelatin salads: quickly dip the mold, almost to to the top, into warm- not hot- water for several seconds. Loosen an edge of the salad with the tip of a knife, then tip the mold slightly to allow air in and break the vacuum. Rotate the mold so all sides are loose. Place a serving plate brushed lightly with water upside down on top of the mold. (The water will let you move the gelatin on the plate in case it doesn’t come out in the center). Holding both the mold and the plate firmly, turn the mold upside down and shake gently. Carefully lift  the mold off the gelatin. If the gelatin doesn’t come out, repeat the steps.  


Jell-O trivia answers:

  1. True.  It was dropped the following year.
  2. Salt Lake City
  3. Orange, lemon, strawberry, and raspberry (lime was introduced in 1930)
  4. D-Zerta
  5. True

Nana’s Kitchen is a weekly cooking column exclusive to the Meigs Independent Press and made possible with sponsorship of Powell’s Food Fair in Pomeroy, Ohio.