It’s officially spooky season and every year I try to whip up a vintage Halloween themed recipe because I like to do weird things. Some years we have success and other years … not so much. I haven’t attempted a vintage recipe in a little while and I’ve been wanting to try a few strange vintage gelatin recipes so I’m using this as an excuse to do both things. This year, we will be making a Jack-O-Lantern Salad but no matter how much research I did, I could not find when or where this recipe was from. If you do somehow magically know where the original version of this recipe came from, I’d love to know. I’m guessing it’ll be the 50’s or 60’s and gelatin salads were very popular around this time.
Now this recipe is very simple with only a few ingredients which means I didn’t have to drive around town to search for something or order food from overseas which was a bonus. After a quick read of the recipe I realised that the curly endive’s were only for decoration around the sides of the salad so in order to not waste money and use that edge elsewhere, I will be using parsley from my garden which is growing wild and I can’t eat it fast enough instead. For those that want to read the recipe, I have written it out for you here.
Jack-O-Lantern Salad Ingredients
2 cups hot water
1 packet of orange gelatine mix
2 cups cold water
1 pound carrots (shredded)
1. Pour hot water into medium bowl, cover. Microwave at high for 4-6 minutes or until boiling.
2. Stir in gelatin until dissolved. Add cold water. Chill 1-2 hours or until soft set.
3. Stir in shredded carrots. Pour in 9 inch round cake dish. Chill until firm.
4. To serve, unmould gelatin onto plate covered with curly endive. Use dates to form pumpkin face and celery for stem.
This recipe was super simple to follow so it would be great to do with kids as there’s not much that can go wrong. Personally if I were to do this again, I would just add boiling water to a bowl instead of microwaving it until boiling (that just seems a little weird to me but each to their own) as it’ll just save time.
I was also a little perturbed that I only needed about an inch of celery as personally, I think celery is an abomination of a vegetable and it should swiftly be trebeche’d into the sun. It’s disgusting, I don’t like it and I want it to go away! End rant.
For tose wondering why you let the gelatin soft set before adding carrots, I’m assuming it’s so your carrot doesn’t sink to the bottom and become a dense layer. By letting it first soft set, the carrot is evenly distributed throughout the gelatin mixture.
Decorating the salad was really fun and simple. Sure it looks a little goofy but that’s part of the vintage gelatin salad charm. I’m not sure how this constitues as a ‘salad’ and we’ve had this discussion before, but as a kid, I would have loved for my mother to offer this to me as salad instead of the healthier more recognizable options I was presented with.
Now, I bet you want to know what it tastes like! Well, it takes like carrot inside some orange jelly. Carrots are pretty sweet and I often use them in sweeter dishes so that didn’t phase me very much. I kind of liked the combination between the citrus and the salad so it kind of worked for me.
If you’re hosting a vintage Halloween party this year, this is a great and easy recipe to serve up. I don’t mind a bit of jelly with some fruit so this is basically the same thing. I might have added a little less water as I know my jelly instructions didn’t need 4 cups of water so if you’re worried about your salad falling apart, use a little less water.
And that’s it! A vintage Jack-o-lantern salad! I’m thinking about asking my friends over for dinner and just presenting this on the table as the salad to gauge their reactions. Would it be inappropriate of me to eat it with ice cream.
What do you think? Would you give this recipe a go?
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