Under the Sea Salad
Under the Sea Salad is a dessert salad containing lime jello, pears and pear juice, cream cheese, lemon juice and cinnamon. Under the Sea Salad was popular in the 1960’s and was published in the Joys of Jello recipe book around 1975. This attractive salad has two layers: first a layer of lime jello mixed with water, pear juice and lemon juice that is allowed to firm up in the refrigerator and secondly a mixture of lime jello with cream cheese and diced pears spiced with cinnamon that is added on top of the first layer and chilled for at least 4 hours.
In the past gelatin salads were often a common feature at potluck suppers, church socials, family reunions and other large gatherings. Cafeterias and buffet-style restaurants often offered at least one kind of gelatin salad selection. F. W. Woolworth’s lunch counter had gelatin salads on their menu.
I struggled with the idea of Under the Sea Salad being a “salad” until I realized it was a “dessert salad.” Dessert salads are sweet salads containing fruit, gelatin and one or more of the following ingredients: whipped cream, softened cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. Examples include Watergate (pistachio) Salad, Perfection Salad and other gelatin-based molded salads. I also dislike thinking of food as being “molded” or “congealed” but these are the descriptive words often applied to gelatin-type salads!
Fruity, cool gelatin salads are inexpensive, fun, and easy to make. The secret to achieving separate layers of gelatin is to let each layer get semi-firm before adding the next layer.
The Recipe for Under the Sea Salad
- 1 can (15-oz.) pear halves in their own juice
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 pkg.(4-serving size) lime flavored gelatin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Drain pears, reserving 3/4 cup of the juice or syrup. Dice pears; set aside.
- Stir boiling water into gelatin and salt in medium bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved.
- Stir in reserved syrup and lemon juice.
- Pour 1 1/4 cups gelatin mixture into a 8" x 4" loaf pan or 4-cup mold sprayed with cooking spray.
- Refrigerate about 1 hour or until set but not firm (should stick to finger when touched and should mound).
- Beat remaining gelatin mixture gradually into cream cheese until smooth. Stir in pears and cinnamon. Spoon over clear gelatin layer in pan.
- Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Unmold. Cut into 8 slices. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
- Serving suggestion: Whipped cream and a maraschino cherry
- Try other flavor and fruit combinations!
To remove a gelatin salad from a mold or pan, first dip the mold or pan in warm water for 5 – 10 seconds. Gently pull gelatin from around the edges with moistened fingers. Place serving plate on top of mold or pan. Invert mold and plate, holding mold and plate together, and shake slightly to loosen. Gently remove mold and center gelatin salad on serving plate.
To double the recipe for Under the Sea Salad, just multiply all the ingredients by 2 and use a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
The origins of gelatin salads can be traced back to Mrs. John E. Cook of New Castle, Pennsylvania to her dish called Perfection Salad which won 3rd prize in a Better Homes & Gardens contest. Another fun fact is that Jello is the official state snack of the state of Utah!
Try Under the Sea Salad soon for a cool, refreshing and delicious trip back to the 60’s!
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
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