11 Fun Things You Didn’t Know About Jell-O

By 1904, Jell-O was "America's Most Famous Dessert"—at least according to its ads! Here are 11 things you never knew about the brand behind the box.

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Simple lime gelatin salad
Taste of Home

Utah eats more Jell-O than any other state

The people in Utah love their Jell-O! The state has an entire holiday week dedicated to the jiggly treat, and it’s even Utah’s official state food.

(Here are 25 retro Jell-O desserts you might see at a party in Utah.)

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Panna cotta with kiwi jelly in a vintage jar on a light slate, stone or concrete background, traditional italian dessert.; Shutterstock ID 1060742771; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home
Shutterstock / Liliya Kandrashevich

The inventor’s wife came up with the name

Peter Cooper invented Jell-O, but it was his wife, May, who named the treat. (There’s more—Cooper didn’t have enough money to advertise his product, so he sold the business to a man named Orator Frank Woodward. Woodward was the guy who was able to make Jell-O a successful business.)

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Stained glass gelatin
Taste of Home

It’s nearly 90% sugar

Did you know this jiggly dessert is made almost entirely of sugar? (This explains why you might not want to eat dessert every day!) But without the sugar, Jell-O would be colorless and have no flavor or smell.

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Newly arrived European immigrants at Ellis Island
Shutterstock / Everett Historical

It was a snack at Ellis Island

Many years ago, thousands of immigrants came through Ellis Island to find a better life in America. When they arrived, they were given Jell-O as a snack. It was a tasty treat used to welcome travelers to their new home.

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Pretzel Jello dessert
Taste of Home

75% of Americans have Jell-O at home

Three out of every four American families has Jell-O in the cupboard. It doesn’t take long to make a batch for dessert, and it’s perfect for making fun desserts and salads. It’s budget-friendly, too, which makes it a great option for any family.

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Sweet dessert in glass with cream, jell, raspberries and blueberries on wooden background.; Shutterstock ID 303953327; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home
Shutterstock / Cesarz

A full week in February is dedicated to Jell-O

Sure, Utah celebrates a week of Jell-O, but so does the whole United States! National Jell-O Week is celebrated February 12-18. Plus, there’s also a national holiday dedicated to Jell-O: National Eat Your Jell-O Day, which is celebrated every year on July 12.

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Fresh organic vegetable in season on old farm table.
Shutterstock / Arina P Habich

Jell-O used to make vegetable flavors

We know Jell-O has fruit flavors like Strawberry and Raspberry, but the company once sold vegetable flavors, too. Options like Tomato and Celery were on store shelves at one point, but not surprisingly, no one wanted to buy them.

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A child's drawing inks
Cherednichenko Aleksandr/Shutterstock

It doesn’t need to be eaten

Jell-O is usually eaten for a snack or dessert, but it doesn’t have to be. You can use a box to dye your hair, make finger paint or even create edible play-dough. We’ll stick to making fluffy and jiggly retro desserts, though.

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A colorful treat of rainbow layered gelatin dessert. Opaque layers are made with condensed milk.; Shutterstock ID 36610294
Shutterstock / Andrea Skjold Mink

Jell-O has 22 official flavors

When Jell-O got its start in the 1800s, there were only four flavors: Strawberry, Raspberry, Orange and Lemon. Through the years, more flavors were added. Today, there are 22 options for dessert, including Strawberry Banana, Melon Fusion and Tropical Fusion.

Julia Mullaney
Julia Mullaney is a writer, blogger and self-proclaimed macaroni and cheese connoisseur based in New Jersey. She is currently a health & fitness writer for Cheat Sheet and previously worked as the editorial manager of Edible Jersey Magazine. Her work has been published in Rachael Ray Every Day, Art Quench, RMagazine and Edible Jersey. She is the author of Man, you can Cook!, a cookbook full of simple recipes for men who consider the kitchen to be uncharted land. In her spare time, she also runs a food blog full of original, easy recipes. Chow down at simplydeliciousblog.com or on Instagram at @simplydeliciousblogger.