Fruits that Sink, Fruits that Float

Jell-O 2Jell-O for the holidays? In the 1930s, festive molds competed with cookies on many holiday buffets. Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone, hosts of a radio hour sponsored by Jell-O helped hostesses with ideas in Jack and Mary’s Jell-O Recipe Book (1937, reprinted by Coachwhip Publications). One of my favorite sections lists fruits that sink and fruits that float in Jell-O. Since I’m making Jell-O desserts for a talk I’m giving about the unexpected history of Christmas recipes this week, I wanted to experiment.

Jell-O 1Here’s the result of floaters (sliced bananas) and sinkers (peaches) and in lemon Jell-O. Though the bananas stuck to the bottom of the serving plate, it was fun to play with such sunny colors on a December day. This list should help you experiment with your own combinations! To learn more about the history of Jell-O visit the Jell-O Gallery Museum near Buffalo, NY, where this dessert was invented.

Fruits to Add to Jell-O (1937)
Make your own layered mold by dissolving Jell-O (any flavor) in hot water. Turn into a mold and add one fruit of each type. Chill until the Jell-O sets before un-molding.

Fruits that sink:
Canned apricots
Maraschino cherries
Canned peaches
Canned pineapples
Fresh grapes
Cooked prunes
Canned blackberries and raspberries

Fruits that float:
Diced apples
Sliced bananas
Fresh grapefruit and orange sections
Sliced fresh peaches
Sliced fresh pears
Halved fresh strawberries
Broken nut meats (chopped nuts)


About heritagerecipebox

I am named after my great-grandmother, who only prepared two dishes, according to anyone who remembers. Somehow I ended up with a cooking gene that I brought with me from Richmond, Virginia to my current home in Boston, Massachusetts. I have worked as a journalist and published three cookbooks plus a memoir and a novel. This blog gives me a chance to share family recipes and other American recipes with a past.
This entry was posted in cookbooks, Food, history, History and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Fruits that Sink, Fruits that Float

  1. trillfoods says:

    OK, this cracks me up. I remember the canned mandarin orange sections sinking in our red jello as a kid. I guess fresh fruit was not on our radar screen. Thanks, Clara!


  2. Canned fruit was considered new and modern at one stage in our culinary history! Good thing we’ve moved beyond that.


  3. Pingback: More Joys of Jell-O | heritagerecipebox

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 )

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