1916 Jello Advertisement

Source: American Cookery (October, 1916)
Source: American Cookery (October, 1916)

They sure knew how to package Jell-O a hundred years ago. The “Safety Bag” would keep it “as pure and sweet” as the day it was made for years.

I checked the “best used by” date on a package of Jell-O in my cupboard. The date was November 16, 2014.  Time flies, and I don’t remember when I bought it, but I don’t think that it was real long ago.  In any case, I discarded the package . . .  sigh . . . I wish that modern Jell-O would keep for years like the old-time Jell-O in its Safety Bag.

41 thoughts on “1916 Jello Advertisement

  1. That’s really quite interesting. I never have thought of Jell-O having a shelf life. It just was there, or it wasn’t, and I used it, or didn’t. On the other hand, I’ve not bought any for a good long time — not since the last time someone needed a soft diet.

    1. Jello is a fruit-flavored sweetened powder that is mixed with water to make gelatin snacks and desserts. It probably was still fine-but I don’t make it very often and I thought that it could easily sit in my cupboard for a few more years before I’d actually get around to using it, so I decided to just discard it. 🙂

  2. The major ingredient in Jello is sugar which does not go “bad” and there are artificial flavorings and preservatives so I do not think there is any danger in using it past the “best used by” date. I have used packaged brownie mix past that date and it was just fine.

    1. I think that you are right – it probably would have been just fine if I’d used it. I probably was a little over-zealous when I threw it out.

  3. I think they sold it that way for years because I remember it in an envelope. Hard to imagine it going bad unless it got damp and then the damage would be obvious. Wonder what colours they had back then😊

  4. Oh gosh you mean my jello has to go? It does. I used to be famous for my jello molds, but alas they have gone out of fashion. I made a very fancy holiday version of a jello mold which turned out to be very colorful. For the past 5 years I have been asked to make my famous once again jello mold. By the way, let me note that there is never much left over to take home. Fun to bring back the past! Let’s bring back the past often!
    PS: Thank you Sheryl.

    1. Your comment brings back memories of lovely molded jellos at family gatherings years ago. I may have to try making some for Thanksgiving this year and see what my adult children think of it. . . . BUT . . . I’ve thrown my jello out. . . and would have to buy some more. 🙂

  5. My dad was two years old when that ad was printed. I guess my husband and I are tough. We have had outdated foods many times without becoming ill. Maybe instead of being tough, we are immune. Current thinking is that people are more prone to illness because of over-cleanliness. Maybe more people should eat slightly out-of-date packaged foods, within reason of course.

  6. Oh, this is perfect! I posted about Jell-O yesterday on my writing blog. Going to put a link over there in the comments to this post! One of my friend bloggers from Australia didn’t know what it was and had to Google it. It’s such an American food.

  7. Jello is the ultimate classic dessert that most everyone loves. The sealed bag had to have been a novel idea, how sweet! I would never have even noticed the expiration date – I thought it lasts forever LOL!

    1. I hadn’t thought about it, but you’re right, this ad was from the October issue of the magazine. I’m not able to get my posts all the way down to the month very often.

  8. Jello! My grandmother’s favorite “salad”! I play very fast and loose with expiration dates on food–I suspect your Jello would’ve been fine!

  9. Fun to learn about Jello. For years I always had a leftover box in my cupboard (I’m not a real fan of it, ever since craving it as a kid once when sick and then overdoing it). I never realized exactly what the ingredients were until my son’s vegan girlfriend said she couldn’t eat it because gelatin is animal based. I’m a stickler for best-by dates and follow them to a T. 🙂

    1. I loved Jello as a kid – but over the years I’ve kind of lost interest in it. Even though Jello has been around for more than a hundred years, it seems like it is a long ways from the fresh, natural foods that I tend to prefer.

  10. I love Jello. But we don’t eat it as much as we used too. We try to keep it on hand in case one of us gets sick and needs something simple to eat. I’m like you, I usually end up letting it go out-of-date. 🙂

    1. I try to use common sense when I make a decision about whether to ignore “best by” dates. My decision-making criteria for whether to keep or toss are a bit vague, but here they are: (1) If it’s just a little past the date, it’s probably okay (though I don’t define exactly what “a little” means; (2) I pay more attentions to the dates for food that spoil easily (meat, fish)–though I’ll definitely taste milk that is a little past the date to see if it tastes okay.

  11. The jello around here doesn’t have time to get old, I make finger jello for the grand youngins on warms days ,they love it. I must say I join in with them. 🙂 the boxes were more interesting than today’s box.

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