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written by Sam Greenspan

Mixed vegetable imitation flavor Jell-O.

From mixed vegetables to coffee to maple syrup, explore the unusual history of totally random discontinued Jell-O flavors.

Jell-O has been a staple in American households for over 120 years. This nostalgic dessert once swept the country like a wave of pink, green, and orange. Because they were so loved, they started experimenting with weird flavors some of which were just awful.

I was recently enjoying — well, not enjoying, but perfunctorily eating — a small container of sugar-free Jell-O, and for a brief moment it whisked me back to a time when I loved Jell-O. I mean, Bill Cosby was the spokesman, who could resist?

Anyway, I got down a Jell-O rabbit hole (first time that phrase has ever been used?) and somehow wound up stumbling onto various horrifying varieties they’ve introduced and subsequently discontinued over the years.

11 discontinued Jell-O flavors that never should have existed

Not every Jell-O flavor was a stroke of genius. In fact, some were downright questionable. They never should have ventured into uncharted territories of taste combinations that simply didn’t belong together. I know this as I used to be a Jell-O fan.

And as for the company’s slogan, “There’s always room for Jell-O,” some flavors just don’t deserve a place on the table.

Here are 11 mostly awful-sounding discontinued Jell-O flavors…

1 | Mixed Vegetable and Seasoned Tomato Jell-O

Mixed vegetable Jell-O.

These flavors debuted in the 1960s, when it became so popular to incorporate Jell-O into salads that a few flavors were manufactured specifically for that purpose. (I’ll get into a few others later on the list.)

It seems, however, that might’ve been a fatal overdose to the concept. The flavor is so bad that it’s hard to even describe. It’s like a cross between a vegetable soup and a fruit salad, but with all the fun sucked out of it.

Now both the vegetable flavors AND the Jell-O-in-salads trends are dead.

2 | Cola Jell-O

A recipe exists in the South for “Coke Salad,” which combines Jell-O and Coca-Cola. And probably pimento cheese, although that’s unconfirmed. Eventually, Jell-O tried to capitalize by combining both into one flavor.

While that didn’t kill the idea of Coke Salad (like the vegetable Jell-Os did to their parent recipes), the flavor came and went within the span of 1942.

3 | Imitation Apple Jell-O

Imitation Apple Jell-O.

“Imitation Apple” sounds terrible, especially through the modern “no on GMOs” / “yes on organics” lens. But apparently, when this flavor was introduced in the ’50s, imitation wasn’t a pejorative term — in fact, it was a *marketing* term.

People were so enamored of futuristic technology that the ability to create an “imitation apple” flavor in a lab was lauded. It’s so futuristic that you can see a huge mouth eating the plate and box of Jell-O in their print advertisement!

4 | Maple Syrup Jell-O

Maple syrup flavor is extremely hit-or-miss. Seeing as I couldn’t even find a picture of a box of Maple Syrup Jell-O preserved anywhere on the Internet, I’m assuming it fell hard into the “miss” category.

This discontinued Jell-O flavor was not very popular and was only available for a short period of time. The combination of the sweet, sticky maple syrup flavor and the bland, gelatinous Jell-O texture was just too much for most people to handle.

I mean, maple syrup is perfectly good but turning it into a Jell-O is just a nightmare.

5 | Celery Jell-O

A box of the discontinued Jell-O flavor based on celery.

Another of the ’60s salad Jell-Os. And arguably the one that could still have a niche appeal today, as part of mixologists’ Jell-O shots.

Who wakes up in the morning and thinks, “You know what I need? A wobbly, gelatinous treat with the unmistakable taste of celery.” I bet their research department does.

6 | Plain Jell-O

Plain gelatin has usefulness in cooking. (I assume. There was an article saying that and I took it at face value. I don’t really know anything about cooking.) But Plain Jell-O has no usefulness.

7 | Passion Fruit Jell-O and Strawberry-Kiwi Jell-O

Strawberry-Kiwi Flavor Jell-O.

As a child of the ’90s, I remember the sudden influx of both passion fruit and kiwi-strawberry everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

Passion fruit and kiwi-strawberry were the ’90s equivalent of pumpkin spice today. And the fact that both Jell-O flavors were put out to pasture when the trends died down should be a stark warning to pumpkin spice.

8 | Italian Salad Jell-O

This is the last of the vegetable Jell-Os, although this one took it even further: It was flavored after pasta and dressing. Somehow that sounds even more unsettling than celery.

I understand the concept of fusion cuisine and the desire to create innovative dishes. But some things are just not meant to be mixed together. It’s as if the creators of Italian Salad Jell-O were playing a game of flavor roulette and thought, “Hey, let’s throw pasta and dressing into the mix and see what happens!” Well, what happened was an unappetizing disaster.

9 | Coffee Jell-O

Coffee Jell-O flavor.

Coffee Jell-O came out in 1918 and, somehow, a box of it still exists (as pictured). Do not eat it.

This was supposed to be the perfect marriage of two beloved substances: coffee and gelatin, bitter and sweet. Or so they thought.

Perhaps, they were targeting the coffee buffs of that time to try and maybe take a liking to this new product. But this culinary experiment failed miserably.

Two things: first, Jell-O is known for its sweet, fruity flavors. Coffee Jell-O was a departure from that. Second, Coffee Jell-O was a weird flavor that didn’t really taste like anything. It’s possible that people just didn’t like the way it tasted.

10 | Bubble Gum & Cotton Candy Jell-O

The now discontinued Bubble Gum and Cotton Candy Flavor Jell-O.

I’ve never, in my entire life, attempted to consume a combination of bubble gum and cotton candy in a single bite. And I highly doubt the folks at Jell-O did either. What kind of sorcery is this?

This dual flavor (what is this, Nerds?) is the most recent elimination from the Jell-O line. Apparently, it’s finally become too unfashionable to try to entice kids with sugar remixes.

11 | Lemon-Lime Jell-O

The last in our list of discontinued Jell-O flavors and for a good reason.

Just think: If it hadn’t been ceased, maybe your friend from back home’s mom who’s a nurse would’ve helped deliver twins named Lemonjello and Limejello.