Dear Jeanne: I received this recipe many years ago and make it every year for our Christmas get-together. Can I use sugar-free gelatin and Splenda in place of sugar? Thank you! — J. Chaballa, Ephrata, Pa.

Dear J.: Yes, you can use sugar-free gelatin and Splenda in this recipe. However, I think it tastes much better if made with real sugar.

I have made this with two fewer apples, and it still is mostly fruit with a little gelatin. This makes it delicious, nutritious and festive, if you use a pretty mold. But you also could just put it in a pan and cut it into squares to serve.

A food processor would make this much easier, but if you don't have one, you can chop everything by hand except the orange. Although not included in the directions, I am assuming that the orange is ground, skin and all, as it is in some cranberry sauces; that could be done in a blender.

I changed the amount of cranberries to 12 ounces, because that's the amount that comes in a bag, and the pineapple must mean two 10-ounce cans or one 20-ounce can. If you use 2 cups of sugar, it will add 100 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving, but it's a much tastier salad.


3 cups sugar

2 large boxes strawberry gelatin

2 cups boiling water

2 cans crushed pineapple

1 pound cranberries

1 orange

1/2 cup nuts

5 large apples, chopped

Mix sugar and gelatin in boiling water. Stir over low heat to make sure it is all dissolved. Set aside to cool. Drain juice from pineapple and add enough cold water to pineapple juice to make 2 cups. It's a good idea to have the pineapple chilled, as it will help to jell the salad sooner. Grind the cranberries (frozen, if possible) in a food chopper. Mix the pineapple, orange, cranberries, nuts and pineapple juice with the gelatin mixture in a gallon container. Core apples and chop finely, with skins. Add apples to gelatin as soon as possible so they don't turn dark. Stir salad once in a while as it cools in the refrigerator so everything doesn't settle to the bottom. It usually takes all night to set.

Makes 16 servings.


2 large boxes (17 grams/8-serving size) sugar-free strawberry gelatin

2 cups boiling water

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice

12 ounces cranberries

1 whole orange, cut into cubes

2 cups granular Splenda or equivalent

5 cups chopped apples (about 3)

1/3 cup nuts

1. Spray a container that will hold 12 cups, or two smaller containers, with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. Drain the juice from the pineapple and add enough cold water to make 2 cups. Add to the hot water and gelatin, and stir until completely dissolved.

3. In a food processor, chop the cranberries until they are in very small pieces but not pureed. Remove the cranberries and chop the orange in the food processor until finely ground. Add the orange to the cranberries, then stir in the sugar substitute, or 2 cups sugar (add 100 calories and 25 grams carbohydrates per serving).

4. Stir in the chopped apples, pineapple and nuts. Add the gelatin and stir well. Pour into a mold or pan. Refrigerate and allow to set for at least 4 hours before serving.

Makes 16 servings.

Each serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 237 calories; 3 gm fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 55 gm carbohydrates; 3 mg sodium; 3 gm protein; 3 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 89 calories; 2 gm fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 16 gm carbohydrates; 2 gm protein; 3 gm fiber.

Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, Deseret Morning News, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (63 cents), self-addressed envelope. © King Features Syndicate Inc.