Cranberries are sweetened and mixed with crushed pineapple in this gelatin salad.
This recipe was shared with me by the person who made it, a coworker who always brought this to our holiday pitch-ins. Clarice said the recipe came from a Beta Sigma Phi cookbook that she owned, which I’m sure exists somewhere on the World Wide Web, so I’m making sure to credit them here.
Sweet AND tart, cranberries are in season and I’m buying them in bulk. I knew I had to make Clarice’s cranberry salad recipe. This sparked an online research project of discovering the who/what/when/where/how’s of gelatin salads, or “Jell-O salads.”
Jell-O Molds date back to the early 20th century in which we USED LEFTOVERS (wait, what? Yes, we put leftover scraps of food in Jell-O) to make gelatin salads. Yes, according to this awesome article from The Huffington Post, it’s true. And in the 1960s, when Jell-O salads were so popular, the brand came out with packets flavored like celery, Italian seed and tomato. Bon Appetite has a great photo blog of lavish vintage Jell-O molds that looked to be the THING at the party.
Now, I’m not feeling that adventures, so instead, what I’m making is simply called a gelatin salad. Gelatin salads are typically sweet while aspics are savory and include meat. Aspics are creeping onto the fine dining menus at some restaurants, but to explain, an aspic is usually meat and/or vegetable pieces set in gelatin that was made with meat stock. I’m not sure if I’m that adventurous.
Instead, I made this deliciously sweet Cranberry Gelatin Salad.
Cranberry Gelatin Salad
Makes one 9×13 baking dish
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1-quart cranberries, sorted and washed
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup crushed pineapple juice
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
In a saucepan, add sugar, water and cranberries. Bring to a boil, stirring until it is bubbly and cranberries have popped and softened, about 5 minutes.
In a 9×13 baking dish or gelatin mold, pour in unflavored gelatin. Using a fork, pour into the crushed pineapple juice and mix together. Add the cranberry mixture, then the crushed pineapple and stir. You can use a spoon and scoop off some of the froth to get a clearer look if you like. Set the dish in your refrigerator and chill until set, about 30 minutes.