Posted by: Erica Retrochef | November 17, 2014

Sunny Fruit Mold


The Jell-o fruit salad — one of the few gelatin salads that can still be found at potlucks today. It therefore feels slightly like cheating to include on a retro recipe blog — but this is from 1960, and so it’s totally legit.


We really should have gotten to this familiar classic long before now.

1 package Lemon Jell-O
1 cup hot water
1 cup cold water
1 orange, freed from membrane and diced
1 banana, sliced
1 red skin apple, diced
1 cup celery, thinly sliced

Dissolve Jell-O in hot water. Add cold water. Chill until slightly thickened. Fold in fruit and celery. Pour into mold; chill until firm. At serving time, unmold on crisp lettuce; garnish with mayonnaise. This Jell-O dish also makes a light, lively dessert when garnished with whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.


Doesn’t this look delightfully healthy and fresh?


Sure, the central ingredient is essentially pure sugar…


… but there’s tons of fruit going in.

A bit too much, really. I stirred it up for a while, worried that I wasn’t getting enough gelatin in between all the pieces.


And there was too much fruit and celery in the salad for it to hold together very well (or have a smooth, shiny surface).


Since this is supposed to be able to act as a savory salad, I tried it with mayonnaise instead of whipped cream. (Anybody can serve a sweet fruit salad, it takes a certain something to be willing put mayo on top.)

And believe it or not, mayonnaise was not the worst part of this. It was the celery. There was way too much, it tasted terrible with the lemon gelatin and other (sweet) fruits, and did I mention there was way too much? Nothing should be that green and crunchy. It was ok (and the mayonnaise did give it a nice tang), but… so much celery!!!

Just like last week, Gallery of Graphic Design gets credit for sharing this originally. Thanks!



  1. While using mayonnaise (by itself) as a salad dressing makes me cringe (mustard, mustard and even MORE mustard, please!) this salad (mold, whatever) actually looks GOOD! I would actually try this (without celery and bananas).

    • The celery was the worst. Otherwise, quite reasonable 🙂

  2. Yeah, I would have left out the bananas before the celery, oddly enough. Maybe half of the celery, diced smaller would have been okay… sometimes gelatin salads NEED a crunch (which is why you find so many of them with – eek – walnuts). I think the lemon flavor was a good call… but they were kidding themselves; anything based with Jell-o is NOT savory.

    • A bit of celery would be reasonable. This was a salad for celery enthusiasts 🙂

  3. Maybe if the celery was sliced paper thin

  4. Found my mom’s menu notes – lo and behold, Sunny Fruit Mold was on her table in 1962. Love that you are recreating these old recipes!

  5. […] enormously popular back then, and I know Mom made plenty of different versions of them. Found a blogger who recreates these retro recipes; I think I am going to spend some time on that […]

  6. […] were enormously popular back then, and I know Mom made lots of different versions. Found a blogger who recreates these retro recipes; I think I am going to spend some time on that site! The rye rolls may have been from Pinah’s […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: