What About Jell-o Salad?

A few weeks ago, we had an abundance of fruit that needed to be used, and I was all smoothie’d out. Kate and I searched through our trusty Blue Book* trying to find out what we could make with the bananas and mangos we had on hand.

She came upon a recipe I had printed out for Jell-o Jigglers. I know they are probably second nature to some of you, but I don’t have a great memory for recipes. The ones I reuse over and over, I print out.

Then we had the idea of making Jell-o Salad. You know, the kind using a fancy pan with the fruit suspended in the sweet gelatin.  PLUS we wanted to layer the whole thing with different flavors and fruit.

I looked up how to make a jello salad with the fruit, carefully avoiding the pineapple and kiwi that the box mentions not to use and we got our bundt pan from the pantry.  Apparently, now that I’m searching for supporting documentation, I wasn’t supposed to use mango either, but I did.

So, we took two of the big boxes of strawberry and mixed it up in one bowl and then two small boxes of berry blue and mixed those up in another, both using the quick set directions. Then, chopped up the fruit and waited for everything to become soft set or egg-white consistency.

We sprayed the pan and poured the jello into the mold, mixing in the fruit and layering as appropriate. You can find all the directions here.

We waited patiently and then was rewarded with a beautiful jello salad! It was a little loose, so I’m not sure if it was because of the mango or if I need to reduce the amount of water I used. Regardless, it was beautiful because it came out of the pan in 1 piece, and it was delicious.

I was so proud of my new accomplishment that I wanted to share it with my community at the weekly iftar dinners.  If you remember, our Little Mosque Down the Street™ holds weekly community iftars on Saturday nights, and everyone brings a dessert (or two) to share.

I didn’t unleash my new recipe this last week because I was really excited about trying out Ina Garten’s Mocha Icebox Cake recipe. Plus, I was really busy this last week and it is SO easy. We had them both made in 45 minutes.

We went to the iftar and the Mocha Icebox Cakes were an absolute HIT. I ended up sitting with two ladies that I feel really comfortable with and we got to talking about the food and desserts in particular. I mentioned my new accomplishment and that I wanted to bring jello salad next weekend, but I wasn’t sure because its JELLO. Y’no, gelatin.

Then both sympathized with me. Yeah, I don’t want to be that girl who has to bring home her dessert because it didn’t pass muster.

But Khaled and I were at the grocery store picking up some odds and ends yesterday and one of those items was jello. Then I noticed that many of the boxes have a Κ on the label. That Κ denotes that the item fulfills the Kosher requirements of not having Pork ingredients.

While that is good enough for me, I didn’t want to share this info with you unless I looked a little further.

So I found this website that talks about Islamic Dietary Laws and Kosher symbols. Specifically:

The letter “K” indicates that the food is Kosher-that is, it also complies with Jewish dietary laws and has been processed under the direction of a rabbi. The Hebrew word “Kosher” means permitted according to Torah Law.

When you see these letters, they mean that the product does not contain anything from an animal or pork origin. But it still may contain alcohol. So please check labels.

HUZZAH!!!

I searched a little further, and found a secondary source:

Is it Kosher and Pareve?

“JELL-O Brand gelatin is certified as Kosher by a recognized orthodox Rabbi as per enclosed RESPONSUM. In addition to being Kosher, Jell-O is also Pareve, and can be eaten with either a meat meal or a dairy meal.”

So, this is lovely information. This means I’m going to be bringing some jello salad to an iftar in the near future.

Of course there will be some who will see my dish and pass over it because they don’t know what we know.

For those of you still unconvinced about the whole Kosher jello debate, I found this brand right below the Jell-o brand, nearest the store brand boxes.

Bakol Jel Dessert. I bought a few boxes to try out. If it works just the same, I might use this brand and bring the boxes with me.

*Blue Book is the blue 3 ring binder where I store all of my most beloved recipes, printed out from the internet and shared from trusted foodie friends.

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  • http://gravatar.com/kelsayed1 kelsayed

    Nice article. Very informative. Thanks

  • http://nursingatshul.wordpress.com mayaresnikoff

    The American Jewish community generally does not see Jello as kosher- that K all on its own isn’t trademarked, so a company can put it on themselves, without supervision. If you want to share the responsum mentioned in the piece you put up, I could tell you more. It probably does contain products from animal bones, though. Bones are not always considered to be meat in kashrut (although it’s unlikely to have pig bones, true.)

    The kosher alternatives often set a little differently from Jello, I’d be even more careful about not using pineapple. They’re often made from Agar, rather than gelatin, although kosher gelatin does exist- it’s just harder to find.

  • http://overthinkingitagain.wordpress.com overthinkingitagain

    Its so interesting that the muslims there automatically stay away from all types of gelatin.

    In South Africa we have halaal gelatin, thats certified by our halaal body.

    The jello, and even gums, marshmallows and any foods with gelatin like chocolate mousse and cheese cake all come with the halaal stamps. Most brands, even the global brands will label their food.

    If a muslim brings along a dish containing gelatin, we just assume they have used the halaal type.