Monday, October 18, 2010

Pacific Lime Mold

So, what makes this "Pacific" exactly?  The green colour?
Welcome to the second entry in my Season of Jellied Things series.  The Pacific Lime Mold is another recipe from Betty Crocker's New Good and Easy Cook Book (published 1962).  There was no picture  of the finished product in the cookbook, so I was a little perplexed about what made this lime mold "Pacific", per se.  Does the lime Jell-O take on the colour of the ocean when combined with the mayonnaise and other ingredients?  Or is it more of a [pineapple = tropical = Pacific] sort of equation? Oooo... venturing into unknown territory!  Here there be dragons!

As I'm following the directions for the first step of the recipe (add boiling water to lime gelatin; add pineapple juice to the gelatin/ water mix), I happened to glance at the Jell-O packaging.  It says "Do not add fresh pineapple or kiwi fruit. Jelly will not set."  (Emphasis theirs.)  The cookbook's recipe calls for me to add pineapple juice to the gelatin while in the liquid form, though.  So, it's a battle of wills, is it?  On one side we have the venerable Kraft food corporation: they should know the chemistry of their own product, right?  On the other side is the composite kitchen goddess Betty Crocker, with her nimbus of culinary omnipotence. 

Of course Betty thouroughly trounced Kraft and the gelatin set perfectly.  Maybe the pineapple juice won't interfere with setting, but fresh pineapple actually will?  Has anyone tried this?

Now, I know you're all dying to know what this tastes like so I won't leave you hanging any longer...  It tastes like super-sweet, fruity mayonnaise that has strange, unrecognizable lumps throughout (cottage cheese and pineapple).  It's not appealing to many (or any?) of the senses, really.  Goodness knows how this dish or others like it were ever categorized as "salads".  How much mayonnaise and Jello can a person eat and still feel like they're eating a salad?.  Ugh.

After all is said and done, I still don't have a clue what the "Pacific" aspect of this aspic is.  I decided that they were making a stretch for Hawaiian because of the crushed pineapple and so I stuck one of those tropical drink umbrellas in it to make it more exotic.  You're welcome.

Pacific Lime Mold
1 pkg. (3 oz.) lime-flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 can (9 oz.) crushed pineapple
1 cup creamy cottage cheese
1 tsp. horse-radish
1/2 cup mayonnaise or 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Dissolve gelatin in water.  Add juice from pineapple; chill until slightly thickened.  Beat until frothy.  Fold in remaining ingredients.  Chill until set.  6 servings.


  1. My Gram (aged 90) likes to make stuff like this. She also makes tomato aspic. It's a dying art! Maybe for good reason...

  2. Hi Anonymous! Thanks for the comment! When I was tasting it, I had a vague (partially repressed?) childhood memory of eating something like this. I suspect that my grandma made something similar to this, too. Maybe gelatin salads will make an ironic comeback with hipsters? It worked with eyewear...

  3. We should make it happen. Next dinner party I have you can be sure there will be an aspic or "salad" front and centre. That and a nice plate of wiener pate and crackers.

  4. My mom made this every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. We never called it Pacific Lime Mold (although that's the name my dad just found on the recipe card from about 30 years ago!). We just called it "Mom's Green Jello Thing." Good times. :-)

  5. I think I can shed some light on the "pineapple & jello" question. "Fresh" is the key. While I don't recall offhand the specific details, fresh pineapple (or fresh pineapple juice) contains a chemical which interacts with the gelatin and prevents it from setting. Canning, or any other processing involving heating, breaks down or transforms this into something inert with regard to gelatin. Thus, you can use canned pineapple or canned pineapple juice in Jello, but not fresh. When this recipe was published in 1962, fresh pineapple or pineapple juice was generally not available in most areas (unless you lived in Hawaii or somewhere else where pineapples could be grown), so it was safe assumption that you would be using canned pineapple juice and have no problems with the gelatin setting. The warning on the Jell-o package is probably there largely because so many older recipes call for adding pineapple to Jell-o without warning you that you have to use canned pineapple - when they were written, that was the only kind available for most practical purposes.

  6. Thanks, Anonymous! I love learning the history and science behind things like this.

  7. This has been at every Thanksgiving and Christmas for the last 40 years. We loving call it "Green Stuff"! My daughter's husbands family has the same dish for their holiday dinners, when she realized that we new she found the right guy.

  8. This is a traditional Jello Salad for our family. We omit the horseradish and also omit the mayo in favor of Cool Whip.

    1-8 oz. pkg. Lime Jello
    1-C boiling water/dissolve, then add Pineapple Juice
    from 15 ounce can of crushed Pineapple. Put in fridge or
    freezer until it thickens up, then whip with a hand mixer
    until foamy. Fold in remaining ingredients.

    1-1/2 Cups of Cool Whip
    Crushed Pineapple-drained
    1 Cup Creamy small curd Cottage Cheese
    1 Cup mini marshmellows - for the kids :o}
    1/2 - 1 Cup chopped walnuts Re: family taste

    Use Ring Mold add couple of parsley sprigs on sides and garnish
    with stemmed Maraschino cherries.

  9. I am getting sentimental and looked up this recipe because I remembered enjoying it a long time ago. I was led to believe (back then) it was special. I dont think my family actually believed in foods like this, so it did have a modern turn to it. I'll try it. I know my mom insisted the cheese be as smooth as possible, no lumps. I'm leaning towards using whipped cream, also.

  10. In a way, my mom laughed because this was called "mold," and it was green besides. I am surprised this is exactly the name we called it (minus "Pacific"). Lime Mold!

  11. This has been a Christmas staple in our family for more than 50 years and I'd have to say the "Pacific" is probably a reference to the origins of the pineapple. Some time ago my brother renamed it Specific Slime Mold after a somewhat less than perfect year - now the younger kids in the family only know it as Slime.

  12. Hilarious! As I type this, orange Jello is thickening in the fridge per the BC "Pacific Lime Mold" recipe. My Mom (age 85) can't eat the pineapple any longer, so I came up with 'Pacific Orange Mold'. Canned mandarin orange segments, orange jello, and 1/2 real orange juice with the cold water. No nuts, poor thing. She LOVES it!! Must have some home cooked food in Assisted Living at all costs!