Who hasn’t been mortified by jello salad at some point in their life? Theoretically they seem to work – sugary gelatin, the crunch of raw vegetables and nuts, perhaps a savory cream to top it off – but in the end, it still seems so weird. Even when it tastes alright, it’s like a food from another planet.
I remember my mom serving jello salad for supper after church on Sundays (Midwest much?). I remember carrying those plates of jiggly, wiggly, neon colored “salads” to the table and placing them at each person’s setting. The most vivid in my mind is Carrot Jello Salad. Mom always placed a slice –Yes, this salad can be sliced. Did you know? – on a bed of iceberg lettuce. The glossy, shiny orange square stuffed with shredded carrots, walnuts, and raisins was always topped with a layer of tangy sour cream.
Crazy thing is, I don’t remember it being terrible. I remember kinda liking it. Doesn’t mean it didn’t weird me out still.
I don’t think I will ever recreate those jello salads. However, I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water… how’s that for a throwback saying?
So, here is my very mild, very approachable, rejuvenation of a jello salad. It has the gelatin, it has the necessary crunch, although it’s from fresh blueberries this time, and it has a cream topping, cottage cheese!
To add in one more little throwback, this jello was given bubbles. Glorious, delicious bubbles from that sweet childhood nectar of the gods: Sparkling Cider. If this had been served as a “salad” during a Sunday supper, I think my siblings and I would have thrown in the towel and called it quits on our dessert. How can you out do this deliciousness?
makes 8-10 servings
3 envelopes (3 Tbls.) unflavored gelatin powder
2 c water
1 c sugar
3 c sparkling cider
1 c blueberries
2 c cottage cheese
mint for garnish
In a small pot, sprinkle gelatin over the water and let sit for 2-3 minutes or until the powder has been saturated.
Over medium heat, stir the gelatin until fully absorbed. You not need to bring it to a boil, but get it nice and hot. Remove from heat. Add sugar to a big bowl and pour in the gelatin liquid. Whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Add in sparkling sider and whisk until incorporated with the sugary gelatin.
Refrigerate until the liquid has slightly thickened. This takes about 45 minutes, but check often as fridge temperatures vary. A good way to test is my dining your finger in the mixture and, when removed, the jello doesn’t not completely drip off.
Gently fold in blueberries to the jello.
Divide jello into 8-10 glass containers. Cover and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Top off with cottage cheese and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Your grandma will be so proud of you!
The images below were photographed in glassware provided by and for sale through Refabed Chic.