When I was a child, there was always lots of food at Labor Day picnics – including multiple gelatin salads. So I was thrilled when I came across a recipe in a 1919 American Cookery magazine for Ginger Ale Gelatin Salad just in time for this long holiday week-end.
The sparkling Ginger Ale Gelatin Salad was sweet and tangy, with a mild lemony undertone. The gelatin can be made with or without fruit. A hundred years ago canned fruit was often added to gelatin, so I added canned pear halves – though other fruits could be used (or none at all).
The old magazine included a section where readers could ask questions, and this recipe was provided as a response to a request for a Ginger Ale Salad recipe. The reader making the request indicated that the desired recipe should be for a gelatin salad that could be made with or without fruit.
When I made the gelatin, I used an entire packet of gelatin since this recipe called for a total of 2 cups of liquid – and the gelatin box indicated that each individual packet should be used with 2 cups of liquid. Since the old recipe called for using 1/4 packet, I assume that gelatin packets were larger back then. I ignored the serving suggestion, and passed on the French or mayonnaise dressing with cocktail sauce. I also did not use small molds – and instead put all the gelatin into one mold. (I used a 1-quart bowl as the mold).
Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Ginger Ale Gelatin Salad
1 packet gelatin (0.25 ounce)
1/4 cup cold water
1 3/4 cups ginger ale
grated lemon peel from 1 lemon
fruit (optional) – I used 4 canned pear halves.
Put the water in a bowl; sprinkle the gelatin on the water. Set the bowl in hot water; let sit for 2 minutes, then stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in ginger ale. Put in refrigerator until the gelatin just begins to thicken (about an hour), then remove from refrigerator and stir in grated lemon peel and, if desired, add the fruit. Pour into bowl or mold, and return to refrigerator. Chill until set.