The Gelatin Diaries: Ruby Cranberry Ring

This is the continuing saga of me trying to figure out the popularity of gelatin recipes from the 1920s to the 1970s. Each month, I randomly pick a recipe from a jar filled with the good, the bad and the savory gelatin recipes to see which ones were worth it and which ones should stay forgotten. I post the recipe at the end if you are so inclined (or super brave) to try one out for yourself.



I will admit I did not randomly pick this out of a jar. I found this recipe in a 1951 newspaper about cranberry salad rings. The recipe is called Ruby Cranberry Ring. It promises that it will be “made in minutes, the day before the big feast with ready-to-serve cranberry sauce” and that it will be “a salad treasure for the meal”. The article does not lie. This does come together quite easily and when unmolded it makes quite the centerpiece. Just look at that deep red color! Also, it feels like forever and a day since I have done such a large molded salad and boy did it fight me on the unmolding. I clearly won in the end.



The original recipe calls for it to be served with mayonnaise which is pretty normal for the time period. I left it in for posterity’s sake but sour cream, whipped cream or even cool whip can be substituted. In case you were wondering I used sour cream as that is what was already in my fridge.

This recipe also makes A LOT but I guess it goes on the assumption that it is being made for a huge Thanksgiving meal. It could easily be cut in half and instead poured into a four-cup mold. If individual molds are desired, make sure you cut the tangerines/oranges into smaller pieces.

So would I make this again? Yes, I would. I quite liked it and it would make an amazing statement piece on a holiday table.

Ruby Cranberry Ring

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An easy cranberry gelatin ring from the 1950s


  • 2 3oz packages of raspberry gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 tangerines or two small oranges, peeled and separated into segments. (If using the oranges slice segments in half.)
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, well-drained
  • 2 14 oz cans whole cranberry sauce, slightly mashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • Optional: Lettuce leaves and sour cream, mayo or whipped cream for serving. Extra tangerine/orange segments, chopped nuts and fresh cranberries for decoration.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the gelatin into the boiling water.
  2. Add the cold water and chill until partially thickened (about an hour and a half)
  3. Fold the tangerines or oranges, cranberry sauce, and chopped nuts into the thickened gelatin.
  4. Pour into a eight cup ring mold. Chill until firm.
  5. If using optional ingredients: Place a layer of lettuce leaves on a serving platter and unmold the gelatin on top. Place a small bowl of sour cream, mayo or whipped cream in the center. Decorate with extra tangerine/orange segments, chopped nuts and fresh cranberries if desired. If not using, then unmold onto platter of choice and enjoy!


  • I used raspberry flavor but any red flavored gelatin can be used especially if you are able to get the cranberry flavor. Just keep in mind that the gelatin flavor is going to one of the primary flavor notes.
  • If you want to achieve the circle of oranges on the top, spoon a little of the gelatin on the bottom of the mold and arrange the orange slices. Then with a spoon carefully cover the oranges making sure not to move them.

Gibson, Josephine. “Sparkling Gelatine Salad Ring”. The Pittsburgh Press. November 20, 1951.


5 thoughts on “The Gelatin Diaries: Ruby Cranberry Ring

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.