Summer time is always time for cool gelatin salads. Let me introduce you to a well-known gelatin salad in Florida. They are easy to make and mold. Molding Jell-O is not that hard if you follow a couple of rules. Always use less liquid. Usually about a half a cup less for each 2 cups of liquid. Also always spray the mold with vegetable spray. I like the butter flavor. Old recipe books tell you to butter the mold before filling. Sometimes if the fruit looks extra juicy I will either add a package of non flavored gelatin when dissolving the Jell-O or an extra package to the recipe that calls for only one package of non flavored gelatin. It is just a little extra insurance that the recipe will gel. My mother always had a difficult time with Jell-O molds. For her cooking was a drudge and something to suffer through if it took more than 4 ingredients plus a special pan.
Gelatin salads was popular the first half of the 20th century, just about every cook had a special one to show off. That was because refrigeration was new high-tech in the kitchen and cooks took advantage of it. There is less time now to fuss over Jell-O because of outside jobs. With a few tricks you can still enjoy some of the congealed salad recipes that was passed down through the family.
Vintage ring gelatin molds including individual size.
Vintage gelatin molds.
Over the years I have collected some molds, mostly to hang the pretty copper-colored shaped pans on my kitchen wall. They came from people getting rid of stuff and fun finds at thrift sales. I have never paid much for them and they are fun to have for special occasions and pot luck dinners. You can count on your gelatin salad mold to be completely eaten because of it’s presentation.
Florida Sunset Salad
- 1 (6 oz.) package pineapple gelatin or 2 (3 oz.) packages sugar-free
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 (6 oz.) container pineapple yogurt
- 1 cup mandarin oranges drained
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 4 or 5 ice cubes
Chop celery, grate carrots and drain oranges first to set aside. Spray a 5 cup ring mold with butter or vegetable spray. Use a brush or fingers to spread it around into all the spaces. Empty Jell-O into a large bowl and pour hot water over. Stir until dissolved. Add yogurt and blend in. Add ice cubes and stir until thickened remove ice. Quickly add vegetables and oranges stir because the Jell-O will start to set up. Then spoon in mold. Chill until set. If the fruit and carrots float it only makes it look like a sun set.
To turn out on a prepared plate, take your fingers and press down around the top edges to loosen the seal. Pull back a little when you press away from the edge. The spray makes it easy to release the seal all the way around. Now give it a couple of gentle shakes and see if it jiggles loosely. You can now set the mold into some warm water to loosen the bottom. I usually count to ten and take it out. Jiggle it again and flip out on plate. You can use a spatula to lift the molded Jell-O up to tuck lettuce leaves under. Add some garnishes and chill until ready to serve.
When you are sitting in the heat and you are out of ideas and low on money serve something cool try a congealed salad.