Q: Where did jelly moulds come from?
Fruit jelly has been made and served as a food since the 13th century, but became popular in the Georgian era when vintage copper jelly moulds began to become very intricate. Jelly itself was a major endeavour for the cook in a household as gelatine had to be created by hand from calves’ feet.
And then had to be mixed with sugar which was a seriously expensive item.
Of course, the shape was important too and the jelly maker had to come up with ever more inventive ideas and recipes while seeking inspiration in the mould market. As a result, the design and manufacture of the moulds developed in line with the public's interest and desire for entertaining shapes.
Q: What type to use?
As soon as they became popular in the late 17th-century copper began to be rivalled by the cheaper ceramic moulds as manufacturers like Wedgewood started production. Ceramic moulds could be pressed out in wet clay, and often the outside of the mould was left fairly rough because after all the jelly was the star of the show. Glass moulds came later and have the benefit of (usually) being easier to clean and eventually dishwasher proof. In the 20th century pressed aluminium became popular.
Q: What else can antique jelly moulds be used for?
A cursory look around Pinterest [phil: link to an example on Pinterest here example] reveals a growing movement for re-using or adapting jelly moulds to be candle holders and plant pots and lamp shades. However, a beautifully curated antique collection of moulds can look stunning as an art deco flourish in your kitchen.
If you have children you will have suffered that moment when you turn the mould upside down onto a plate and what emerges is a headless bunny rabbit. We have all been there. Here is how to get around the problem.
Keep your jelly moulds ultra clean.
Prior to adding your jelly mixture to the mould, spray the inside of the mould with a very small mist of cooking oil, ensuring that you get some into all of the little nooks and crannies.
If you are making jelly from a packet mix, add a little less water than the packet instructions so that the jelly dries a little firmer.
Once set, briefly dip the mould in warm water (not allowing any to go into the jelly) and run a knife around the edges of the mould.
Turn the mould onto your presentation plate and lay a warm damp tea towel over it for a few moments and then gently lift the mould from the jelly. Voila!
Our Vintage Jelly Moulds collection is part of our wider kitchenalia collection of retro kitchen accessories - We have some in excellent condition. Come and have a peak in our shop.