Grandma’s Sunshine Salad

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Years ago, in the sixties, my grandmother came to live with us. She loved to bake, especially oatmeal raisin cookies and lemon meringue pie.

She also loved to make Jell-O salads.

As kids we loved Jell-O in all flavors. Who were we to wonder when my grandmother put things like cucumbers, horseradish, carrots, and or pineapple in with the Jell-O?

One of her favorites was a Jell-O salad made with carrots and crushed pineapple. I had all but forgotten this salad until I met a woman at a counter at Logan Airport who told me about her favorite Jell-O salad, called a “Sunshine Salad”.

This is it, grandma’s salad!

Grandma’s Sunshine Salad Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 2 3-ounce packages lemon flavored gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 9-ounce cans crushed pineapple with juice (cannot use fresh pineapple)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots

Method

1 Empty gelatin into a small mixing bowl. Stir in 2 cup of boiling water. Stir thoroughly until the gelatin has dissolved.

2 Stir in 1 cup ice water, one can of crushed pineapple with its juice, lemon juice (or vinegar), and a pinch of salt. (Make sure you use canned pineapple. Fresh pineapple has an enzyme that will prevent the gelatin from jelling.)

3 Chill in refrigerator until the gelatin starts to thicken. Then gently fold in the grated carrots until well mixed.

4 Add mixture to a jello mold. Set in the refrigerator until firm, several hours. To unmold, dip the bottom of the pan in hot water for about 5 seconds. Invert onto a serving platter, and shake firmly to release. Slice to serve.

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Showing 4 of 13 Comments

  • Audrey

    I’ve been looking for this vintage recipe, my mother in-law used to make it, Thanks for sharing!

  • Connie Brown

    My mom made this with a couple of tiny alterations. She used 1 pkg lemon with 1 pkg. orange and left out 1/2 cup water to allow for the pineapple juice and the orange juice from the fresh orange segments she added. Mom felt it acted as a nice palate cleanser to balance the heavy gravy, butter, stuffing, etc. I’m still putting in on the table.

  • Sandra Bryant

    I still make this jello salad for the holidays. My salad has marshmellows on the top. My children and grandchildren really like this salad.

  • Kathy

    This is also very good using bagged coleslaw mix instead of all carrots…I love raw cabbage!!! My great-grandmother used the cabbage rather than carrots. Just chopped the coleslaw mix up a little finer. If you like fried or steamed cabbage use the rest of the bag as a main meal side dish….

  • Lori

    My husband has been told by his doc to eat gelatin for his injured back — yikes! Brings back some bad food memories. But, if you’re doing jello, it can’t be all bad. This is the first place I look for recipes. Thank you for being here.

    Hi Lori, oh, this is pretty retro. I mostly have it up here because my grandmother used to make it when I was a kid. For me the food memories are good. That said, it still is a jello salad. ~Elise

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