During the 1950s and ’60s, an epidemic of island fever swept the United States. Tiki-themed restaurants, drinks, and decor were all the rage and the height of classy dining and entertaining. Now viewed as decidedly kitsch the Tiki fad became a uniquely American pop culture trend.
The Pineapple appealed to the tropical island-obsessed 1950’s American as it came to symbolize the Hawaiian Islands and Polynesian Culture. At the time pineapple was seen as an exotic fruit and represented far off beaches, and sunny tropical islands.
It wasn’t long before housewives were encouraged by Dole Food Co. to combine their already established love for all things Jello, and the exotic pineapple. By replacing the juice in a can of sliced pineapples with green lime gelatin, and allowing the fruity dessert to set in the can, a jello dessert could be made with relatively little effort. This recipe seems to have been rather popular at the time, in fact, Dole continued publishing this recipe in print ads well into the 60’s.
Retro Lime Pineapple Gelatin (1955)
- 20 ounces Can of Sliced Pineapple
- 3 ounces Box of Lime Jello
- 1 cup Boiling Water
- Open the can of sliced pineapple from the BOTTOM with a can opener. You don’t want to use the top because the newer cans today have a lip around the top edge which will tear your finished jello roll and damage it’s perfect can shaped appearance.
- Pour off the liquid from a can of sliced pineapple and discard.
- Dissolve a 3oz. box of lime Jello in 1 cup boiling water (you could also use the pineapple juice and water to equal 1 cup liquid)
- Pour hot Jello water over pineapple rings in the can.
- Chill until set. Run hot water on the sides and bottom of can to loosen. Then cut the bottom of the can and push the mold out. Cut between pineapple slices and serve.
Dole has changed their cans since the 1950s. Now instead of fiddlng around your swing-away can opener, there is a pull tab on the top of the can, that you use to easily open the can. While the new method of opening saves you from digging around in your kitchen drawer of rarely used gadgets, it also exposes a sharp a metal rim on the inside of the mouth of the can, that will tear your finished jello mold and take away from the unique presentation of pineapple slices suspended in lime gelatin in the shape of a tin can, so definitely open your can from the bottom, the pull tab opener will come in handy later when it is time to slide this dessert out of the can.
The end result of this unique combination of jello and canned fruit is surprisingly good. My kids actually really enjoyed all aspects of this dessert. From making it, to sliding it out of the can, and eating it, it definitely has fun factor. And if cranberry jelly can be served cylindrically why not pineapple lime jello?