12 April 2017

Jelly jests

A-Z challenge - My memories of life on the farm in the nineteen fifties and sixties


Jolly jelly everywhere. Jelly with fruit, fruit in jelly, jelly and trifle, jelly in trifle, jelly and cream.

These were some of our regular desserts served after the main meal. Jelly was quick and easy to make and came in a wide variety of colours and flavours. I guess it was also a way of stretching the meal as cooking for seven hungry children can not have been simple. Jelly cakes – now these were delicious and made for special occasions. A current recipe reveals they are still popular.

Port wine jelly was a reddish colour so plums, nectarines and occasionally cherries found their way here. Orange jelly went well with apricots. Green lime coola, well I guess it was just another colour for variety. Other varieties were raspberry and strawberry.

Lemon jelly was my favourite. We often needed two packets of crystals to make enough jelly to feed the family. First, the kettle was boiled and the jelly crystals emptied into a heatproof bowl. The boiling water was carefully measured before being stirred into the crystals. Too much water resulted in wobbly soft jelly, too little water, hard rubbery jelly. The cooled bowl of jelly was placed in the fridge. There were no leftovers after the meal.

Who can forget beetroot in jelly and peas in green gelatine? These were cut into cubes and made an exotic addition to a plate of salad!

The rubbery jelly served at boarding school had little flavour but bounced well on refectory tables. Full page advertisements for jellies appeared in The Australian Women's Weekly of the time suggesting a variety of recipes using jelly. Visit All Down Under for the background story to the Aeroplane Jelly song and story. YouTube video of the original advertisement is here.


Junket was the healthier alternative to jelly. A junket tablet was dissolved in warmed milk with a small amount of sugar added. When it had cooled it was put aside to set in the fridge. A sprinkling of nutmeg on top was really the only thing that added any flavour. 

Jokes and jests

There was always room for laughter in our lives and practical jokes were my brother's forte even from an early age. He even claims to have stirred up the bull in the paddock before we got near it as referred to in this previous post.
Then, of course, there was the inevitable retribution when we short-sheeted his bed, always a good prank. The top sheet on the bed was folded back on itself then the blankets placed on top as normal. All was folded and tucked in and when the victim got into the bed feet hit the sheet.
The bed had to be stripped of blankets and remade before retiring for the night.
What childhood pranks and jokes did you get up to?

Next K - Knitting, kneeling and killing


  1. Ah...another bit of proof that we don't really speak the same language. Over here, jelly is jam without seeds. The stuff you were eating was Jello, which is a brand name. Generically I guess it's gelatin.

    1. We generally follow UK patterns in speech hence jelly. but there are still many local variations in the naming of some things between the states in Australia.

  2. Jelly - I used to love getting the little concentrated blocks and watching them dissolve in boiling water - and there is nothing better than the combination of Jelly and ice cream :) My dad once played a trick on me and my sister, he replaced the cola in the bottle with cold tea, it was not even nice cold tea ;)
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries

    1. I remember being tricked into dipping my finger into plain flour having been told it was icing sugar - also not nice. :)

  3. Hi Carmel - jelly - I loved it ... my Ma used a jelly bag - I guess before packaged foods came out ... and we never really got into jelly that way. I do love a real jelly ... fruity one preferably - and oh yes those squares of jellied beet, or peas in green, or tomato jelly ... good to remember back to those days - where there seemed to be time for jellied carvings! Long ago ... fun - together with jokes and jests... cheers Hilary


    1. Jelly moulds in different shapes too became quite a trend but much later I think.

  4. Jelly is still popular with my grandkids. They devoured the jellies I "cooked" this week.

    1. I shall have to check if it is an approved food nowadays! :))

  5. We hardly ever eat dessert now (which is probably a jolly good thing given that libraryland is a sea of cake during the day)...but yes, jelly was a staple in my youth. Now if we ever have dessert it seems to icecream. Maggie Beer's icecream is pretty hard to beat but just plain icecream is pretty good too.

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  7. Always loved jelly. What about in trifle? Yum.


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