Three-ingredients Easy Berries Congealed Salad Recipe in 15 minutes
This congealed salad is the perfect dessert for spring or summer, when fruits are starting to ripen. Its creamy texture and delicate taste make it suitable for any party you are throwing.
You can prepare it for backyard barbecues, potlucks, family reunions and for every day of the summer holiday.
Congealed salads become attractive around holidays, especially with those who spent their childhood enjoying the classic Jello dessert. The best news is that you can use any type of fruit you desire to create this treat. It doesn’t matter if you want to prepare strawberry congealed salad or lime congealed salad.
The result will be equally delicious. It all depends on your taste in fruits.
What is congealed salad?
A congealed salad is a dish made with flavored or unflavored gelatin and fruits or vegetables. Usually, people prefer preparing the sweet version.
Where did congealed salad originate?
You should know that gelatin was first used as a glue to make binders for cave-paint for example. Pliny, the famous Roman historian, writes about a strong fish glue obtained by scraping down the skin and boiling it to release hydrolyzed collagen.
Moving forward to the early 1400s, we can find gelatin in savory dishes called “jellies”. Pig feet and ears were boiled and then clarified through some special bags. In the beginning, jellies were only made with meats and vegetables. Catholics didn’t eat meat on Fridays so we could also find fish jellies.
By the end of the medieval era, sweet treats were also entered the jellies family. Many of them were stabilized by pectin, a substance naturally contained by fruits.
Back in the mid-19th century, gelatin dishes were the appanage of nobility. They were served as the centerpiece on the tables of the elites. The reason is simple: in order to have gelatin, someone had to collect it from animal bones and then clarify it. This process was extremely time-consuming and home cooks didn’t bother to do that. Families who had this type of dishes on their table were definitely rich and able to pay many kitchen workers.
In Europe, especially in France, chefs were creating clear savory jellies, called “aspics”. Antonin Careme, the most famous French chef of the time, prepared elaborated dishes which looked like architectural representations. He called the category of aspics “chaud froid”, meaning “hot cold”. He was referring to the fact that the dishes were first cooked and then served cool.
By the end of 19th century, instant gelatin was on the market. It served all the existing domestic principles: cleanliness, efficiency, purity and order. Being so easy to use, instant gelatin was perfect for encasing leftovers. You didn’t make a mess when cooking with it. It already contained sugar so you didn’t need some additional one.
In 1887, Pearle B. Waite, a New Yorker, made a mix of gelatin, sugar and food coloring. Following the suggestion of his wife, he named the concoction Jell-O. Many years later, this brand is still present in grocery stores. Nowadays it is a common dessert or used as an additive to a large variety of foods, from fried chicken to pork terrine or chocolate mousse to gummy bears.
How to make congealed salad?
The process of preparing this treat is easy, whether you are planning to make cranberry congealed salad or lime congealed salad.
You will need the following ingredients:
First, you need to mix the fruits with sugar and a bit of water and boil them for about ten minutes in a pot or deep ceramic pan. Puree the berries and run through a sieve to discard all the seeds.
Meanwhile, soak the gelatin in cold water for ten minutes. Stir the gelatin into the fruit syrup.
I like to use muffin silicone molds when preparing congealed salad recipes so I divide the fruits between the molds and then pour the gelatin mixture over them. You can prepare any type of salad using those molds, they also work for orange congealed salad, lime congealed salad or cranberry congealed salad.
Leave the molds outside until everything starts to thicken. Place all the molds in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.
How to use canned mandarin oranges for fresh in congealed salad?
Orange congealed salad is delicious and you can also use mandarin oranges for it. Their slices are smaller and it’s easier to use them for decorating. The taste is a bit different too, mandarins are sweeter and juicier.
There are two options: you may use either canned or fresh fruit. It’s easier to use them canned because they are already peeled and chopped. However, each one of these alternatives is good.
How to make a congealed salad using bananas so they do not turn brown?
As I previously told you, congealed salads can be made with bananas too. In case you are worried that the bananas in your kitchen will get brown, you should know that using them for strawberry congealed salad or blueberry congealed salad will give a smooth and creamy texture to these desserts.
You may prepare the treats in multiple layers: one strawberry layer, one banana layer and one more strawberry layer. As soon as it is mixed with gelatin, banana won’t turn brown anymore.
What is the Polish shredded meat with congealed salad?
There are a lot of dishes which use gelatin and not all of them are sweet. Savory aspics are well-known in Eastern Europe. Some of the Europeans, including Poles, prepare shredded pork meat encased in gelatin. This dish can be cooked even without gelatin, only by boiling pork legs and bones with vegetables and seasoning.
What can I serve with a chicken cranberry congealed salad?
This sweet and savory salad can be served at festive gatherings as a side dish or as a starter. You may enjoy it with a slice of banana bread, it will taste amazing because of the many flavors inside of the cranberry congealed salad.
For drinks, consider making an Aqua Fresca in 10 minutes or less.
What is a congealed salad utensil?
Congealed salads look best when you place them in molds. There are plenty of shapes out there and you may choose whatever suits you. I, for example, like to make them in muffin silicone molds.
How long to keep congealed salad?
Lime congealed salad, orange congealed salad, blueberry congealed salad, basically any type of congealed salad recipes can be kept in the fridge for maximum one week. Wrap the salad well in plastic foil so it doesn’t absorb the odors from the refrigerator.
How far ahead can you make congealed salad?
Gelatin salads can successfully enter the category of make-ahead side dishes or desserts. You can easily prepare them two or three days in advance. But don’t worry if you can’t since they set up pretty fast. If you are throwing a party or your relatives are coming over for Christmas, you can make the cranberry congealed salad or blueberry congealed salad the same day, since it will be ready quickly.
- small pot
- muffin silicone molds
- 10 oz. frozen berries mix (I used blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, red currants and cherries), divided
- 2 oz. sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- Place 8 oz. berries mix in a small pot. Add the sugar and pour the water.
- Bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10-12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl pour 3 oz. of cold water. Sprinkle the gelatin and set aside for ten minutes.
- Prepare the muffin molds. Divide the remaining berries between the molds.
- After the boiling time is done, remove the pot from the stove. Using an immersion blender, puree the fruits. Run the pot content through a sieve, to discard all the seeds and pulp. You will get a beautiful purple syrup.
- Add the gelatin to the syrup and mix until everything is well combined, for about one minute.
- Pour the mixture over the fruits in the muffin molds.
- Let them outside until the liquid sets. Transfer to the fridge and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- To take the dessert out of the molds, carefully run a knife around the edges of the muffin cases. Make sure it reaches the bottom. Turn the mold upside down on the serving plate and move it delicately so you don’t break the treats.
- Use any fruits you like instead of the berries. You may even not use any fruit at all. For example, if you are preparing lime congealed salad, lime and lemon Jell-O work just fine.
- Many home chefs use pineapple when preparing congealed salad recipes. It contains a lot of pectin and helps with the structure and texture of the desserts.
- Cranberry or strawberry congealed salad have a beautiful red color which makes them perfect for Christmas dinner. You may take these two into consideration in case you feel stuck and don’t know what to cook for this year’s holidays. Decorate them with a bit of whipped cream and some crushed nuts and you will get a festive treat enjoyed by everybody in the house.
- If you want to make the congealed salad in a bigger mold, feel free to choose whatever you like. Only be aware that you will need a longer period of time for the salad to thicken. You will need to leave it outside for about one hour and refrigerate for two or three hours so everything is set. The salad has to be thick so you can cut it without breaking. The longer you keep it in the fridge, the easier it is to cut in squares. It is probably best to refrigerate it overnight so the flavors will have time to mix properly.
- Make sure you never boil gelatin. It is vulnerable to heat so leave the syrup cool to 212F before adding the gelatin. For this particular recipe, it is for certain that the syrup is cool enough because you have to strain it first. If you forget to let it chill a bit when preparing other recipes, it is possible to obtain a soft or a bit runny texture that is not so pleasant for a congealed salad.
- Resist the urge of reducing the sugar quantity. Sugar improves the gelatin’s rigidity because it helps with the formation of shorter protein chains so your dessert will be tender and soft. A smaller amount of sugar will have the same effect as a high temperature: your dessert will have a gooey texture.
- These are a few ideas to take into consideration when preparing a gelatin dessert. The end result can be spectacular and you will definitely receive a lot of appreciative words.
- Try this three-ingredients berries congealed salad and you won’t be sorry!