Holiday Recipe: Agnes Badertscher’s Cranberry Jell-o Salad

Cranberry jell-o salad

Once again, my sister-in-law Kay Badertscher Bass contributes a family recipe from her mother, Agnes Bair Badertscher’s recipe box. Although in their house it was a traditional Thanksgiving dish, because of its cheerful red color and “snow-covered” top, I’m suggesting Cranberry Jell-o Salad for Christmas, too. If it sounds too sweet for a salad, it makes a lovely light dessert. Thanks for the contribution, Kay.

Kay says:

One of the favorite (and still requested each year) recipes for Thanksgiving and the holidays is the Jell-o salad Mom used to make. The  Jell-o flavor would change year-to-year, but the majority of the time Mom would chose strawberry. She would use two boxes of Jell-o and pour the hot liquid into a deep dish 13 x 9 pan. The key, she said, was to use only half of the cold water the box of Jell-o recommends adding after the Jell-o has dissolved.

Cranberry salad Food Chopper

Grandma Kohler’s Food Chopper

Mom would freeze a bag of fresh cranberries. It was my job to get the hand cranked nut chopper (an antique from Grandma [Ida] Badertscher) to chop those icy marbles into fine bits.

[Note: What a difference between this and the food chopper that my mother used for her cranberry relish.]

Vintage food grinder

Vintage food grinder

 

 

 

She [Agnes Badertscher] would also chop fresh celery (which my husband nixes), add a 20 ounce can of pineapple chunks (drained) and chopped pecans to taste. Stir all of these ingredients into the liquid jello and refrigerate several hours. (side note: some years we also added a fresh orange – chopped just like the cranberries)

 

Cranberry jello salad topping

Mixing the topping

However, it was the topping over the jello that made the dish! After the jello solidifies, spread this topping generously. It is even good enough to eat as a sort of custard for dessert, provided you have any left over.

 

 

 

Agnes Badertscher’s Cranberry Jell-o Salad

Serves 16
Allergy Egg, Milk, Tree Nuts
Meal type Dessert, Salad
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Christmas, Thanksgiving

Ingredients

  • 2 packets Jell-0 (two 6-oz boxes)
  • 2 cups water (boiling)
  • 1 cup water (cold)
  • 20oz pineapple chunks
  • 1 celery stalk (chopped fine)
  • 12oz cranberries (raw, frozen and ground fine)
  • 1/2 cup pecans (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup whipped topping

Directions

Jell-o
1. Scatter Jell-o in 9 x 13 pan and pour in 2 cups boiling water. Stir until thoroughly dissolved
2. Add one cup cold water and stir. Put in refrigerator and chill until thickened
3. Grind frozen cranberries and add to thickened Jell-o. Drain pineapple, saving juice. Add pineapple, chopped celery and nuts to jello and stir.
4. Cranberry Jell-o Salad
Replace Jell-o dish in refrigerator to set.
Topping
5. Combine sugar, flour, pineapple juice and egg in saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until thickened.
6. Add pat of butter, and stir in.
7. Cool topping mixture in refrigerator until completely cool. Fold in whipped topping.
Finish
8. Spread topping on Jell-o. If desired decorate with halves of nuts. Cut in squares and serve on lettuce leaves or plain.

Kay Badertscher BassAll photos courtesy of Kay Badertscher Bass

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3 thoughts on “Holiday Recipe: Agnes Badertscher’s Cranberry Jell-o Salad

  1. Kay Badertscher Bass

    I neglected to mention a little tidbit of nostalgia about photo #1. That strawberry plate was made by Agnes. It took no fewer than six coats of glaze to get that rich red color.

    Reply
    1. Vera Marie BadertscherVera Marie Badertscher Post author

      The strawberry plate is beautiful, and that is indeed an interesting bit of trivia. Agnes and my mother both went through their “pottery phase” at the same time, so we got loaded down with ceramics for a while. 🙂

      Reply

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