Homer's Travels: The Mysterious Mysteries of Jell-O

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Mysterious Mysteries of Jell-O

I like Jell-O.  There.  I said it.  I really like Jell-O.  The Wife makes fun of me but I still like Jell-O.  What's wrong with liking Jell-O?!?  I don't know.

Anyway, I have a mystery.  My favorite Jell-O is orange with mandarin oranges.  In my youth and on into my college years, I remember the mandarin oranges floating at the top of the Jell-O.  When Mom used to make it the oranges floated.  When the Mother-In-Law makes it, the oranges float.  When I used to make it in California, the mandarin oranges would sit, lifeless on the bottom of the bowl.  I had concluded the issue was the altitude.  Our Oxnard home was at 15 feet elevation.  Omaha is around 1,000 feet.  So, when it was time to make some Jell-O for the dinner we're having with Mom and "E" tonight, I was looking forward to lively mandarin oranges happily floating on the top of the Jell-O.  It was not to be.  To quote Bones: "They're dead, Jim."

If any of you know why my oranges don't float, let me know in the comments.


  1. I don't have an answer for that. It has to be something with the specific gravity of the water vs the oranges. Like maybe the mineral content of the water. The oranges have to displace more volume of Jello than their weight... uh... Heck, I don't know.

    I really like jelly too, but haven't had it in years. Maybe I should just go out and buy a package of it. But the MRS. would probably flip.

    Nice reference to Star Trek. It's always good to get one of those in a post.

  2. Let the jello cool a little before you put the oranges in them?

    LOL, I don't know!

    My sister called my other sister to find out how long to stir the jello before it hardened? And to think our dad was a chef!

  3. What if, after the Jell-O had set, they flipped the whole thing over onto a serving plate and removed the bowl?

    Nahhhh, I'm over-thinking it...

  4. I'm leaning towards Dobegil's suggestion that it may depend on temp as to the flotation.

  5. Norm: Mineral content?!? hadn't thought of that. I was a big Star Trek fan in the past. I've calmed down lately and I feel much better now.

    Dobegil: The Mom-in-law does it the same way as I do and hers float. Go figure. Would a chef if consider making jell-o?

    GH: That would be cheating.

    JaG: I will have to experiment with the temperature.

  6. Hmmm, how about carbonated water?

  7. Boil 1 cup water, add Jell-O and stir until disolved, pour juice off oranges into a cup and add water to almost a full cup, add this to hot water and Jell-O, then immediately add oranges and then place in the refrig.

  8. Anonymous: I did exactly that except for one detail. I put the oranges in the bowl first and then poured the jello-hot water-juice-cold water mixture over them.

  9. Maybe it's personal. Maybe the jell-o doesn't like or maybe it's the oranges ... huh, what about that idea? Huh, sure, it could happen.

  10. Wife: I'm sure that's it. The jell-o is out to get me. Or maybe it's the oranges.

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