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Breaking the Mold: The Vintage Approach to Jell-O

Posted on 8th Feb, 2011 by Nicole Feliciano
Vintage Jello Molds

A staple of parties and open houses, the Jell-O dessert is a classic. Rather than simply plunking down your favorite Jell-O recipe on a bland white plate, take it up a notch and consider a vintage Jell-O mold the next time you whip up a Jell-O dessert.

The beauty of Jell-O is how the magical collagen (aka gelatin) works. Thanks to the binding nature of gelatin it can be shaped and molded with a bit of help from your fridge. While my family and I are fans of the kiddie-centric molds like LEGOs and Easter Eggs found on the Kraft/Jell-o website, we think splendid recipes such as the Almond-Cherry Mold deserve a special touch. That’s why we love to hunt down vintage Jell-O molds.

Finding your molds

Gathering a collection of Jell-O molds is as easy as setting aside a few Saturdays to visit estate sales or flea markets. Scour the kitchen section and look for copper or aluminum molds in good condition. Theses beauties can make gorgeous kitchen accents as well as being a chef’s best friend for when you try your hand at Mom’s Molded (jello) Salad.

The key is to always be on the lookout for a great mold. According to Martha Stewart, “Make sure the molds are thin; Bundt pans, teacups, and metal pudding molds work, but ramekins tend to be too thick for heat to penetrate efficiently.”

If online hunts are more your thing, eBay is a wonderful resource for Jell-O molds. Another online search led us to Etsy where we found this glorious set of five copper Jell-O molds. After all, if we’re going through the effort to whip up a crowd-pleasing Applesauce Jello
shouldn’t it look sublime?!

Tupperware still sells Jell-O molds, though today they are made of plastic ($15). Again, a quick eBay search for “vintage Tupperware molds” will certainly generate some options.

Listen to Martha

Martha Stewart has some great advice for building a perfect dessert and getting it out of the mold. Her tip: Let it set for at least two hours in your refrigerator. You wouldn’t want to wreck a beautiful dessert like the Rainbow Ribbon Mold by flipping it too soon. For this colorful treat, we like this set of six molds bearing the Jell-O trademark (also from Etsy).

Need more inspiration to whip up old-school desserts? There are food lovers who devote entire websites (check this out) to the mighty Jell-O mold and contests specifically for chefs that dream big with Jell-O as their muse.

Adding a designer aspect to your favorite dessert won’t dampen the appeal. Thanks to Bill Cosby and a clever campaign, moms across the globe associate Jell-O with frivolity and fun. I’m simply advocating a dressier approach to Jell-O.

Where did you find your favorite Jell-O mold?

Nicole Feliciano is the Founder and Editor of Momtrends.com an online resource for the latest news on things trendy and cool for families. Momtrends is packed with practical information and shopping tips aimed to help busy, style-starved parents find the best for their family.

Food, we love you.

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Comments (7)

  1. 8th Feb 2011

    Ah the joys of Jell-O this was such a colorful assignment–thanks!

  2. I really enjoyed this article and the links. One of the copper molds linked to (the round one) is identical to one of two hanging on my kitchen wall. They belonged to my Mom, and we used them regularly when I was growing up. I do use them on special occasions now, but not often enough. This article is a great reminder of what a beautiful and delicious dessert molded jello can be – and a great resource for some new recipes to try in my vintage molds!

  3. 9th Feb 2011

    Having not made a ton of progress on my quest to make every recipe in The New Joys of Jell-O I decided I needed to have another all-jello luncheon. I was pleased to have 5 returning guests from the last party plus 4 jellopalooza virgins.

  4. 10th Mar 2011
    by Marla

    Would like to know how to make the mold pictured please. Thank you

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