Cranberry Gelatin Salad

Cranberry gelatin saladShoot. You need Grandma’s cranberry gelatin salad without Jell-O’s red food dye? We’ve got it.  She’ll be shocked at your ingenuity–or the fact that you think Jell-O isn’t “healthy.”  (By now your mother has made it perfectly clear you’ve gone over the edge with your eating. “She won’t eat that…”)

Cranberry Gelatin Salad

  • 12 ounce package of fresh cranberries
  • Zest of two oranges
  • 2 oranges, peeled after zesting and then diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups of juice (I have used apple juice and 50/50 pear/cranberry. Cranberry gives it a brilliant red color but is quite tart.)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon plain gelatin (I use Great Lakes but Knox would work.)
  • 3/4 cup of honey (or sugar)

1. Chop cranberries in a food processor (or blender) with the 3 cups of juice.
2. Drain the juice into a medium saucepan.  I run it through a strainer into the saucepan.
3. Set aside.
4. Combine the chopped cranberries with honey, diced oranges, orange zest and walnuts in medium-sized bowl. (If you want to avoid dirtying an extra dish, combine these ingredients in your prettiest glass serving dish. Otherwise, just transfer later.) Set aside.
5. Go back to the saucepan with juice. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of gelatin over the juice. Place on stovetop and heat the juice mixture over medium heat, whisking the whole time to dissolve the gelatin. Heat it until the gelatin is completely dissolved, but don’t bring it to a boil.
6. Pour the gelatin/juice mixture over the orange/nut/honey/cranberry mixture. Stir to mix.  Taste.  Is it sweet enough?  If not, add a touch more sweetener.  If it is, perfect.
7. If you haven’t already, transfer this mixture to a pretty glass serving dish. It looks really delightful to the eye.
8. Refrigerate until set up, maybe six hours.
9. Serve.  Ideally with whipped cream if you can!

Family “gustar” report: Well, let’s see. It’s cranberry salad.  I wouldn’t touch it as a kid.  Now I love it.  The in-laws loved it.  My eight-year old loves it.  Even my brother-in-law was happy to see cranberry salad at the scary gluten-free, dairy-free buffet!  If they like cranberry salad, this will go over without a missed beat.

To me, the real question is, “How is it compared to using Jello-brand red gelatin?” It is very similar. The color is not so red. Sometimes you don’t quite nail the gelatin consistency. I have found it is best to err on the side of too little. IF this doesn’t set up, then you can go back and put it in a saucepan, warm it up, add another teaspoon or two of gelatin, and then pour it back in the pretty bowl. Nobody will know. (Except two squirrely sisters over there chopping onions, yelling, “Tape this. Tape this. Put it on your blog.”) And finally, I think they must add some citric acid or something to give Jell-O a tart taste. I’ve noticed that anytime I make gelatin, it just lacks that tiny little punch that makes processed foods so desirable to the tongue.

This will keep days in the fridge, so you can definitely make it ahead!

Hope your eating is just where you want it to be this Holiday Season! Eat for your health! ~~Terri

Child eating the last of the cranberry salad

11 thoughts on “Cranberry Gelatin Salad

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thanks! I think it is a great “whole foods, real ingredients recipe”–especially if this is the traditional kind of cranberry salad a family makes (rather than the saucy kind, if you know what I mean) for The Holidays. My father-in-law was going to make it with red Jell-O as usual, and I could just see in my head my red food dye sensitive child spinning giddily in circles, grinning at midnight…

  1. Katy

    I have taken artificial color out of my son’s diet and it made a definite noticeable difference in his ability to handle his emotions (tolerance for frustation, mood swings, over all stability). Yay!

  2. IrishMum

    Looks yum, I will have to try it. I have gotten a bit boring with my cooking, and stick to a few tried and trusted recipes. This looks like the place to start!!

  3. Pingback: Thanksgiving Recipe Adaptation Tips and Links | The HSD

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