Tomato Surprise

I have to confess something…if I use the word surprise to describe any recipe…my children automatically beg to eat out or are suddenly struck by stomach aches. Why? I have no idea.

Allergy to the word surprise? Who knows. I, however, love a little surprise in my dinner.

This recipe seems like it will do the trick. Will renaming it coax children to eat it? Or will it suffer the fate of the Asparagus Jell-0?

From Joys of Jell-0, early 1960s I think by the look of it.
Note the fabulous economy of using the can from the tomatoes for the mold. Imagine the surprise the kids will have when I unmold a Jell-0 salad from a pineapple can!!!! They like pineapple! and tomatoes! and Jell-0! How could I go wrong?

Ok…so maybe they are not so keen on the surprise or the three combined.

Tomato Surprise

A can of flavorful stewed tomatoes becomes a tempting mold

1 can stewed tomatoes
1 3 oz package Jell-o lemon, strawberry or mixed fruit gelatin
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon vinegar

Pour tomatoes into saucepan, saving can to use as mold. Bring tomatoes to a boil, add Jell-o and salt, stirring until dissolved. Add vinegar. Pour into can. Chill until firm. To unmold, puncture bottom of can before dipping into warm water. Serve with mayonnaise, if desired. Makes about 2 cups, or 4 side salads, OR 6 relish servings.

If you increase the vinegar to 1 1/2 tablespoons and add a can of drained crushed pineapple, and a smidge of allspice, you can make Tomato Pineapple Surprise. You need to use both your tomato can and your pineapple can for molds in that case.


  1. Um no thanks.


  2. I actually made this once a real long time ago. So long ago that I don’t remember how it tasted, just that I made it. I guess if it had been real bad I would have remembered that so it must have been OK πŸ™‚

  3. Really Rochelle, you are right. Tomato and lemon Jell-o are not a bad combo, especially if you like a sweet tangy sort of food. But that could be because at some point I developed a taste for tomato aspic.

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