pineapple and jello in a can

- Jan 08, 2018 -

There’s something so quintessentially 1950s about this recipe. This one recipe from the folks at Dole Pineapples captures so many of the characteristics of America’s food traditions at this time. 

First of all, pineapple was incredibly popular during the post-war period, owing much to the soldiers who served in the Pacific and the increased availability of canned and even fresh pineapple in supermarkets. The fruit had this exotic aura in people’s imagination – that it somehow captured far away, sunny locales in every bite. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see a whole pineapple set by itself as a table centerpiece at a dinner party.

canned pineapple.jpg

Couple that with the popularity of gelatin products like Jell-o, and the cleverness and ease of using the can the pineapple came in and the recipe was a win-win. So much so that the Dole advertised the recipe in different variations and flavors for over a decade.

Now of course, I think Jell-o fruit suspensions remind people of school cafeteria lunches and they avoid it. But perhaps if you’re looking for a visually interesting and easy dish for summer picnics or pot-lucks, you’ll give this retro recipe a try!


After draining the juice from the can, center the pineapple slices in the middle of the can so that when the gelatin is poured in, it surrounds the rings completely.

You can use any flavor of gelatin that you desire. I chose lime simply because most of the Dole advertisements used this flavor.

I was slightly flummoxed by the directions to use half the water of the gelatin’s box recipe – as Jell-o gives three different ways to make it, each using different amounts of boiling and cold water. To complicate it more, I measured 3/4 cup juice from the can. So, knowing I could only get 3/4 cup of gelatin in the can, I boiled that much water to dissolve the Jell-o and it worked just fine.

Let it set in the fridge at least four hours just to be safe.

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