Whether it’s a refreshing elderflower and champagne number on a hot day, a vast strawberry-flavoured rabbit at a children’s birthday party, or concentrated squares of Hartley’s eaten gleefully by the cube, jelly is integral to British food heritage. As such, the shaped moulds in which they are made have become iconic of childhood celebrations and happy gatherings.
The history of jelly
The distant origins of jelly were recorded back in the 1300s, where simple set meat and fish dishes were served. By 1517, the likes of Henry VIII entered the scene with sweet shaped jellies, with the Tudors and Stewarts beginning to use natural moulds like scallop or egg shells to shape their puddings. But it was the early Georgians who first introduced the decorative mould, using tin shapes or shallow trays to make ribbons of jelly for fruit flavoured ‘breakfasts’… jelly eggs and bacon on jelly spinach, anyone?
By the late 1700s, mould makers were becoming experimental with grafity-defying vertical shapes and and copper moulds. However, it was the Victorians who took jelly-making to the next level, creating towering architectural moulds with turrets and spires and multi-layed designs for several different coloured jellies.
Today it’s not hard to introduce the fun copper or ceramic shapes of antique jelly moulds into your own home either. With these six easy ideas to help you show off antique moulds in fine style, you’ll see that these shapely wonders make great display pieces whether you like jelly or not!
Clustered on a shelf or scattered across a work top, jelly moulds can make a subtle statement in any kitchen
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