J-E-L-L-O! Jello is one of those things that seems like it has been around forever. And since it was invented in 1897, to many of us it has been around forever. There is a ton of history associated with the delicious dessert. So let’s open up wide and get jiggly with 10 truthful facts about Jello!
10. There were 4 original flavors
You would be surprised at how many flavors are actually in existence today when it comes to Jello. Keep in mind, many flavors have been discontinued or pulled over the years. Not every flavor was a roaring success. When releasing a new product, usually things are kept very simple, especially when talking about food. Keep it simple right? At least when first starting out. Jello’s original flavors included: strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon. These four go-to’s are some people’s favorite still to this day and we do not foresee them going anywhere, anytime soon. The originals are here to stay forever. Like the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The classic Jello we all know and love is basically made from sugar and powdered gelatin. Some Jello flavors around today include grape, piña colada, mango, cherry, fruit punch and many, many more. It seems like every flavor or flavor combo has hit shelves at some point since the original 4 were released. You can also mix and match the flavors of each box and create something totally original and new. There is so much variety to choose from, especially today. Other fun flavors include apricot, island pineapple, peach and watermelon. Everyone has their own favorite flavor but the most popular ones seem to be lime and strawberry. Gelatin is a protein found in collagen which is extracted from boiling the bones of cows and pigs. Despite the questionable main ingredient in the delicious dessert, it continues to draw admirers from all over the world. I guess adding a bright color and a sweet flavor can make anyone forget the fact that Jello is indeed made from bones.
9. The Ads were made by artists
When it comes to selling anything, advertising is one of the most important factors when it comes to growing your sales and guaranteeing your business remains open. Over the years advertising has evolved greatly and this can been seen in the way Jello has been marketed. Jello started advertising on popular television and radio shows in order to get their brand name out to everyone listening or watching. Before Lucille Ball’s popular television show show “I love Lucy”, she had a radio program called “My Favorite Husband”. Her character would start the radio program with the catch phrase: “Jello Everybody!” Other Jello gags and tag lines included: “It’s Alive!” and “J-E-L-L-OOOOOOO”. Famous celebrities have also endorsed the product over the years, including Bill Cosby as spokesman for Jello pudding pops (looking back, Jello would probably reconsider that choice) and Lucille Ball’s co-star from I Love Lucy, Viviane Vance. Recently, Jello has created and released an animated series for YouTube and Amazon Prime Video called “Jello Wobz”. It’s amazing that a food product can evolve from four simple flavors to an actual animated series!
8. Jello was part of The Wizard of Oz
Now, everyone at some point has probably seen one of the most famous movies of all time: The Wizard of Oz! Even to this day, this classic movie with such grandiose sets and colorful visuals, can not be forgotten. The splendor of seeing the massive Oz castle in Emerald City, the sparkly ruby colored shoes and yes, the color changing horse! Believe it or not, Jello had a lot to do with this famous scene! Titled “Horse of a Different Color”, this scene depicts the color of the horse always changing. The original idea during filming was to just paint the horse, but naturally this caused animal rights’ groups to object very quickly! The challenge became to find a way to change the color of the horse safely and abide by ASPCA regulations while also allowing the vivid colors to show up as intended on film. After many attempts using food coloring, and even liquid candy, nothing seemed to be working. A paste made of Jello powder came to the rescue and gave the crew the exact coloring effect they were looking for. The only problem was that the horse actually kept licking it off, so they had to continuously do re-touches!
7. It is associated with cough syrup
Jello has always had an association with cough syrup throughout the years. Why you ask? Well this is because Pearle Bixby Wait, the inventor of Jello, was a cough syrup manufacturer. He and his wife May were the ones who trademarked the original four flavors. By adding the flavoring to the granulated sugar and gelatin, they basically created the Jello we all know and love today. They later sold the product in 1899. Believe it or not cough syrup continues to be associated with Jello because it is actually used as a home remedy for a cough or cold! The not-so-secret recipe (and cure for what ails you) varies but one recipe includes mixing 2 cups of hot water with a Jello powder packet and then adding honey. This home made drink is said to soothe your throat and decrease your cough immensely. Let’s make a toast to home remedies that are delicious and much cheaper than any over-the-counter cough syrup!
6. Immigrants had the first taste
Jello originated in New York at a time when the city was a hub for newcomers flocking to the States in search of the American dream. Jello saw this as an opportunity to grow its brand and make its product known to a whole new demographic of people! This could be one of the reasons Jello is known as “America’s Favorite Dessert”! The immigrants who were coming through Ellis Island were offered Jello as a snack. It wasn’t only just a snack, it was a warm welcome with an American gift! Immigrants would forever associate the Jello snack with a positive and warm feeling about this American company. It was a win – win all around. This gifting occurred around the beginning of the 20th century when there were many immigrants coming into America. This was an opportunity to win over new customers and allow Jello to brand the company as helpful and welcoming to new comers.
5. It is hugely popular
It is amazing how successful and popular Jello has become over the years. Sometimes keeping things simple is the key to long lasting success. People know what they are going to get, they know what it will taste like and they do not have to break their head trying to figure out how to make it. The best thing about Jello is that is can be used for a multitude of things. Some different options include: fruit platters, Jello shots, parfaits and so much more! It comes in very vibrant, bright colors which makes it really stand out at parties. It is sweet — oh so sweet! — and it jiggles, which adds a bit of fun to the dessert in terms of presentation and taste. Whether it be the right marketing, the famous endorsements or the welcoming gifts, Jello shows no sign of slowing down and will continue to be one of America’s Favorite Desserts. Jello was especially popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s because it suited the lifestyle of the times perfectly. Refrigerators were quite expensive before then and not every family could afford one. Gelatin requires refrigeration therefore if someone served up a Jello dish or mold, it symbolized wealth and status because it required a refrigerator to make. Jello molds were very, very popular during this time and were featured in almost every cookbook of the era. What was great about creating a Jello mold was that it was an easy way to use up leftover or canned fruit and still create something that had a nice presentation. Another thing that people really loved about using Jello molds was that it didn’t result in a huge mess! They were price friendly and efficient. Despite being relatively inexpensive, they provided a very elegant look. They might not be as popular today, but they definitely were hugely popular in the past.
4. A bad deal was made when it originally got sold
Little did anyone know, that in 1899 Jello was about to take over the world! It began as a simple creation by Pearle Bixby Wait and his wife May from New York. The married couple were barely making ends meet with their cough syrup company and laxative business. They were tired of being in a financial rut and decided to try something new. They decided to experiment with food and see what they could come up with. May was a real whizz in the kitchen and after searching high and low, the couple was able to obtain the patent for powdered gelatin. The only problem was gelatin did not really have an amazing taste. They needed to tweak it, so they began by adding sugar, sugar and more sugar into the powder. Eventually it was edible and once the flavoring was added, it actually tasted delicious. They then sold the product to Orator Frank Woodward who owned a food company at the time. The company was called Genesee Food company and it was quite successful. Purchasing Jello was just another smart business move on Woodward’s part. In 1899 he bought the formula for Jello for $450, or about $12,000 in today’s money. Little did anyone know that this $450 purchase would lead to billions of dollars in sales. It wasn’t easy but eventually with help from good advertising, Jello sales skyrocketed and the product came to be known as “America’s Favorite Dessert”. Some of the biggest businesses started out slow and ended becoming a huge success, and Jello is one of them!
3. You can make so many recipes with Jello
It’s amazing to think that the most simple ingredients can be turned into so many different things. Jello has the ability to be a dessert, a party favor and even a main dish. We must be truthful though, as much as everybody loves Jello, some concoctions look absolutely dreadful. If you’ve seen some of the Jello fails the internet has to offer up, then it’s definitely too late to un-see them. The most confusing one that may come to mind is the Jello salad. It just does not really make sense and the textures of it all just do not seem to go together. Jello has also been used in eating challenges or dares when mixed with other ingredients that can just make your stomach turn. Now for some good news, some recipes involving Jello will make your mouth water, including pumpkin pudding cake and a cherry cinnamon dessert ring. The most famous recipe of all though has to be Jello shots! Yes, you may have come into contact with this delicious and devilishly alcoholic treat that is served at many college parties. It is a great way to loosen up a crowd without the harsh taste of alcohol. The recipe is pretty easy to make: boil a cup of water, empty jello powder into a large mixing bowl and add the boiling water. You then continue stirring for two minutes or until the jello is completely dissolved. Add in 1/2 cup of cold water and 1/2 cup of vodka. Stir until mixed and pour into 2oz. cups filled a little more than half way. Lastly set it in the fridge to do it’s thing until your party is ready to get started!
2. Gelatin is kind of gross
Sometimes you don’t really want to think about the origins of your food, especially when it comes to something so delicious. There is a rule of thumb, the better the taste, the less you want to know about how it was made. Think about some of the best meat dishes out there and why they taste so good. Sometimes the food can be stuffed with artificial products to enhance flavor or in the case of hot dogs, it’s the process itself that you may not want to know all the details about. This is also true when it comes to gelatin. Not everyone wants to know the gory details behind the process of creating it. Although unflavored gelatin is tasteless, colorless and odorless, it goes through a process which you would think would leave a more pungent result. The boiling of cartilage and bones from animals is what makes gelatin what it is. When key players in the meat industry have used all of the parts of the animal that will go to consumers, the remaining surplus is then sold and used in other food product manufacturing. This would be the horns, cartilage and bones. It is good to know that literally every part of an animal is being used when it comes to using them for food, but it can still easily turn your stomach if you are not used to the idea of these animal parts becoming your dessert. I guess it helps when the final product is so tasty. Disguised in bright colors with sweet flavors may be the perfect distraction for people to forget exactly where Jello comes from.
1. Gelatin is amazing for your body
Today it seems like people are willing to do anything that will enhance their health or beauty, no matter how gross or how much the cost. The more natural something is, the more benefits for the human body. This makes perfect sense now that we know where gelatin comes from. Gelatin has a multitude of benefits for the human body when it come to the face, joints and brain. There are huge amounts of protein and amino acids in gelatin that, when ingested, provide an array of health benefits. Gelatin has been known to reduce joint and bone pain. If that wasn’t good enough, it’s also been known to improve brain function and reduce the signs of aging especially when it comes to skin. The protein found in gelatin is even beneficial to growth and strength of fingernails and hair. Beef gelatin specifically has been known to help with weight loss and has been proven to help with digestion. It’s funny to think that while some people squirm at the thought of gelatin and Jello, the possible benefits from this fun food can not be denied. The bottom line is that gelatin is all natural and despite it not being something that everyone eats all the time, it can improve your health. Pop open that pack of Jello and let the tasty and healthy treat continue to be America’s Favorite Dessert!