Monday, November 24, 2008

*Kosher* Holiday Cooking With Gelatin

Thanksgiving is upon us, and we love to get together with our extended family and feast, feast, feast. It is a great time for us to get together without the tension that can be a part of celebrations with relatives that are not believers. Somehow, the thankfulness that wells up in hearts on this day breaks down walls and allows conversations that would not normally occur. We discuss our hopes and dreams, reminisce over our growing up years and talk about what the future may hold for us and our children. We list our blessings,  acknowledging that for which we are thankful.  Most importantly, we openly discuss to whom we are thankful.

We love to have our favorite recipes, passed down from the Grandmas and passed across from special friends, but since we have had a change of heart regarding Yah's Word in the last few years, some of the recipes are just not acceptable anymore. In our efforts to avoid pork (among other things that Yah does not call food), we felt led to eliminate some of our old favorites that contained pork by-products like gelatin and marshmallows. Our family agreed to exalt no euphoric recall, longing for what we left behind in Egypt, but to be thankful for what we still have. We did this for several years until one day I had an epiphany. (Hey, it can happen.)

mandarin orange salad picture

Since the children (and the Mommy) have missed a certain congealed Jell-O salad that Grandma used to make, I was determined to discover a way to make it without having to use Jell-O (99% of gelatin produced in the U.S. is made from pork skin). I got 100% beef gelatin (available at health food stores or online - try NOW brand), and brainstormed how to get it to taste fruity. My first ideas were using fruit juice, but they just didn't have the same flavor we were used to. Then the Kool-Aid idea hit me! I would use Kool-Aid as the liquid! Eureka!

So, without further adieu, I bring you the before and after versions of Grandma's Mandarin Orange Salad...

The Before version required: 1- 6 oz. package orange Jell-O, but the new version has Kool-Aid and bulk (plain) beef gelatin substituted.

Mandarin Orange Congealed Salad

One  0.15 oz. package orange-flavored Kool-Aid (unsweetened)

1 cup sugar

1 quart cool water

2 Tablespoons bulk beef gelatin

1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

2 - 10 oz. cans mandarin oranges

6 oz. Cool Whip or real whipped cream

1 cup small curd cottage cheese

Mix package of Kool-Aid powder with 1 cup sugar and 1 quart of cold water. (Note: This is only half the amount of water called for in making Kool-Aid as a beverage.)

Take 1 cup of the Kool-Aid mixture and dissolve the gelatin into it. Let sit for five minutes.

Boil the other 3 cups of the Kool-Aid mixture, then stir it into the cold gelatin/Kool-Aid mixture until all the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Add the cream cheese to the hot gelatin mixture, stirring until the cream cheese is melted.

Chill until slightly thickened.

Drain the oranges.

Fold  Cool Whip or whipped cream, cottage cheese and drained oranges into the gelatin mixture.

Pour into 9X13" pan. Chill until set.

Serves 8-10.

  • Folks always ask , "Doesn't this taste like beef since you use beef gelatin?" No. No more than other gelatin tastes like pork. It tastes like nothing when it is plain.
  • We skip the Cool Whip because I think it is yucky, and I want to save our real cream for whipped cream on the pumpkin pie! This recipe turns out equally well with or without the Cool Whip.
  • Yes, it does have artificial colors, white sugar and pasteurized dairy, but for special occasions we break most of the rules. I certainly would not recommend making a habit of this recipe. But it is yummy, and it reminds us of Grandma!
  • If you want to convert other gelatin recipes, the ratio to use is 1/4 oz. of gelatin will congeal 2 cups of liquid. I weighed this out, and found the 1/4 oz. to equal about two teaspoons. So, for normal gelatin recipes, 1 teaspoon of gelatin will congeal one cup of liquid. 
  • It is also pretty poured into a bundt pan or gelatin mold to make a special presentation.

One more thing: I don't care about eating "kosher". Whether some rabbi declared something to be acceptable or not, matters little to me. I do care very much, however, that I am obeying my Father and staying within the confines of that which Yahweh has called food.

That is why I avoid the pork gelatin. Kosher-Schmosher.
Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. My kids have been experimenting with the beef gelatin and kool aid for a while now but haven't been able to perfect it yet. Thanks for the exact recipe for conversion. We have a long forgotten lime gelatin recipe from Thanksgiving long ago (Grandma's of course) that would be fun to recreate!

  2. Oh, I too did not know gelatin was made from pig skin, yuck! I do have a recipe for making your own marshmallows though!

    makes 3 dozen
    from 'Better Than Store Bought' (1979)

    1/4 cup cornstarch
    1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
    however much beef gelatin you would need to be the same as 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (Julie's Edit: this would be 1/4 oz. which equals 2 teaspoons)
    1/3 cup water
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    pinch of salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Sift the cornstarch and confectioners' sugar into a bowl. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch square baking pan and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch & sugar mixture into it. tilt the pan in all directions to coat the sides as well as the bottom. Leave any excess in the pan.
    2. Sprinkle the gelatin into the water in a small saucepan and let soak for 5 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and stir over moderately low heat until the gelatin and sugar dissolve.
    3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the gelatin mixture, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla and beat for 15 minutes on high speed, until peaks form.
    4. Spread the fluffy mixture in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Leave for 2 hours, or until set.
    5. With a wet knife, cut the marshmallow mixture into quarters and loosen around the edges. Sprinkle the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture on a baking sheet and invert the marshmallow blocks onto it. Cut each quarter into nine pieces and roll each one in the starch and sugar.
    6. Place the marshmallows on a cake rack covered with paper towels and let them stand overnight to dry the surface slightly. Store airtight; the marshmallows will keep for a month.

  3. Evelyn Mae~

    This is wonderful! We can sometimes find *Kosher* marshmallows in the store in Spring around Passover (and they are expensive), but never in the Fall around Sukkot when we like to have bonfires.

    We're going to make these, and eliminate the problem!

    Thank you for sharing!!!!

  4. We enjoy a jello salad like that but exchange the cottage cheese for evaporated milk and use crushed pineapple.

  5. We bought a few extra packages of the kosher marshmallows at Passover and I hid them in the back of the cupboard until Sukkot! The kids had fun roasting marshmallows- it had been a long time since they were able to do that! They were a bit stale from sitting so long but it didn't matter once you roasted them! I wonder if the homemade ones would hold up to the heat of a fire?? The recipe sounds good though.

  6. thank you for the 'Kosher Marshmallow Recipe' we too didn't make a favorite dish because of the marshmallows...the girls were excited when I told them about his recipe....whoohoo, Yah willing, next year we will have sweetpotatoes with marshmallow topping :-D

  7. You might be interested to know that Kool-aid isn't kosher or *kosher* or anything of the sort. Kool-aid contains a dye made from crushed beetles (listed as "cochineal", "carmine", or "carminic acid").

  8. Elli~

    Thanks for your concern!

    However, the ingredients listed on Kool-Aid brand orange drink mix are:
    citric acid, maltodextrin, salt, calcium phosphate, natural flavor, ascorbic acid, artificial flavor, yellow 5, artificial color, red 40 lake, BHA.

    It also has the symbol for Kosher certification on the front of the package (K in a circle).

    So, I wouldn't call it health food by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it is clean.

    I would definitely watch out for other flavors and brands of drink mix, though. I am so glad you pointed out the cochineal junk! Thanks again!

  9. There is a brand of gelatin called "KoJel" and it is flavorless. It is derived from fish gelatin (no BSE worries there...) and can be ordered online or sometimes found in better kosher sections. It is kosher. Also, a number of apple/fruit pectins can be substituted for gelatin....unless using pineapple. The bromelain in it will break down the gelatin proteins.


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