The past couple months have been much busier than you’d think considering the stay-at-home order, but I’m back! I was beginning to miss my weird little hobbies.
Today’s recipe is a very simple one, with only four ingredients that you might already have on hand, so hopefully no unnecessary trips to the store!
This hand-written jello salad recipe comes from my great aunt’s files and is simply called “Jello salad.” She got it from someone named Evelyn. I suspect it was written in the 1960s or 70’s, but I honestly don’t know. Cherry Jell-O was one of the earliest flavors (c. 1904) but the presence of the frozen orange juice puts it mid-to-late-50’s at the very earliest. I also have a 1968 recipe with frozen orange juice and applesauce so 60’s is a pretty safe guess.
Cherry Jello Salad
1 large pk. jello (Cherry)
2 C. hot water
1 sm. can frozen orange juice
1 can apple sause
Melt orange juice in hot jello- Add apple sause – set.
- 1- 6 oz. package Cherry Jell-O
- 2 C. hot water
- 1 can of frozen orange juice
- 1 C. unsweetened applesauce
- Dissolve gelatin in hot water
- When completely dissolved, add frozen orange juice and stir until completely melted. Frozen orange juice also plays a role in cooling the jello so it will be thickened enough to add the applesauce.
- Add applesauce and blend.
- Pour in mold and set 4 hours or overnight.
A note about the ingredients:
Orange juice used to come in different sized cans and this one suggests a small. I’ve halved a standard can for other vintage jello recipes that call for 6 oz. cans (which don’t exist anymore), but in this case I just used the whole thing. It still worked out but it might have molded slightly better had I used less liquid.
Applesauce also used to come in cans. It looks like #10 cans are still available, but those are 108 oz, which is far too much for this recipe. In the 1960s, a standard can of applesauce was about 8 oz, which is why I just used 1 cup. Be sure to use unsweetened applesauce of decent quality, which will generally be less watery.
Everyone really liked this jello salad. We’ve had some delicious salads, we’ve had some horrifyingly disgusting ones and everything in between, and this one ranks somewhere near the top.
What I found interesting is that it tasted quite a bit different than what I was expecting. The applesauce gives it a nice texture too, which I like because the ultra smooth jello texture is off-putting to me. You can definitely taste all the ingredients and they go well together, but it did seem like something was missing…
On the original recipe card I had noticed what looked like two additional recipes written in a different handwriting and color of pen. The one on the back is definitely a separate-but-similar recipe from someone else, but there are some notes on the card that look like a whipped cream topping. I figured it possibly could be the intended topping for this Cherry Jello salad:
- lrg cream cheese
- 1 C. wh. cr. whipped [whipped whipping cream]
- 2 T. salad dressing [Miracle Whip?]
I didn’t have any of these things on hand, but I did have some Cool Whip. THAT is what this jello salad was missing. Even though it is fine on its own, it needs something to balance out the flavors, to maybe dull the tartness of the gelatin and orange juice.
As a rule I never add whipped cream to anything I eat because I avoid dairy and I prefer eating things without whipped toppings. But the topping might actually be necessary in this case and I genuinely enjoyed it.
Overall, really great and simple retro jello salad with no chunks or weird ingredients. You should try it.