Cranberry Ginger Ale Salad

There isn’t much to say about this one but I chose it because I was intrigued by the use of ginger ale. This recipe once belonged to my great-aunt, which she got from Better Homes and Gardens.

I perused a number of digitized books in the Hathitrust and Internet Archives but I could not for the life of me find this recipe. Perhaps it came from one of the many magazines? As much as I’d love to find out the exact year, I simply do not have the time nor the willpower to scroll through 30 odd years of Better Homes and Gardens periodicals.

This recipe is probably 60’s but I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that Pineapple-Grapefruit flavored Jell-O was introduced around 1961. If you weren’t already aware, that flavor has long been discontinued. I can’t find any more definitive info on when that happened. Island Pineapple came out in 1995 (years after my great-aunt passed away) so Pineapple-Grapefruit must have disappeared sometime before then.

The Recipe

  • 1- 3 oz. pk. pine. gr. jello, or orange jello
  • 1 – 1 lb. can whole cranberries [sauce]
  • 1- 7 oz. bottle Ginger-ale
  • Grapefruit + orange sections (add, or garnish with)

In pan, mix jello + cranberries. Heat + stir until it almost boils + jello is dissolved. Chill slightly. Carefully stir in Ginger-ale. When fizzing has stopped put in mold. Chill till set. Mayonnaise + sour cream dressing.

The directions are easy enough to follow. This only makes about a quart, if that, so I opted to use mini molds because my other molds were just too big. For this reason I didn’t add grapefruit or orange sections to the jello because they are too chunky for the little grooves in the mini-molds. The fruit pieces are optional anyway, and better used as a garnish. It’s unclear in the recipe, but I bet that “orange sections” refers to mandarin oranges, not navel oranges. Maybe I’ll throw those in next time.

The one concern I had with this whole thing was the mayonnaise and sour cream dressing. First, that sounds terrible. Second, is that a thing people just knew how to make? Is that like the dressing you make for a broccoli slaw? Or do you just mix some mayo and sour cream together and drizzle it on top?

So I did what I usually do when I’m forced to guess, which is whatever I feel like doing. I blended a scoop of sour cream and a scoop of mayo and tried it with the jello. It was actually quite tolerable. I don’t understand the point of eating dressing over jello, but if you do you probably won’t hate it.

The Verdict

I really enjoyed this jello. It’s definitely more of a relish, like a molded cranberry sauce, and likely wasn’t meant to be eaten plain like a dessert. It would be a perfect little side for a Thanksgiving or other holiday meal and I bet it tastes awesome with turkey. I spread some on bread, just because, and that wasn’t too bad either.

What I liked most about this is how the tartness of the cranberries is so nicely balanced with the sweet orange jello. I could barely taste the jello and I doubt anyone would know it was even there if I didn’t tell them. The ginger-ale gives it a gentle citrusy bite. It’s just a really good little cranberry sauce!

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