So, before the whole corn and coconut thing, I was an aficionado of fruit flavored pure sugar candy. If it had fake coloring, fake fruit flavors and was primarily made of out sugar (meaning corn syrup), then I was your girl. Skittles, Nerds, Sour Neon Gummy Worms, Sour Gummi Watermelon Slices, Jolly Ranchers, Starbursts (particularly the fave reds), Jelly Belly Sour jelly beans – anyway, you get the picture, if it was aimed at ten year old kid, I was a fan. Candy, caffeine and I had a love triangle going on while I was in college, law school and during my years of private practice. Candy was part of the fuel that I needed to get through the day while going 400 miles per hour, with generally little sleep. I seriously should have had stock in at least the top three, Skittles, Starbursts and Jolly Ranchers. At least maybe I’d have recouped some of what I was spending at Rite-Aid on candy. So you can imagine the horror when I had to give them all up.
A few l months ago, I started making citrus extracts, lemon, lime and orange in anticipation of one day making my own safe candy. (Most extracts use corn alcohol to make the extract. I used the zests of the citrus fruit and Luksusowa Vodka because it’s made only from potatoes, whereas some vodkas may also use grain or corn. See this post for directions.) After they were done, I let them sit for a couple of more weeks with a coffee filter over the jar to let them evaporate down a bit to try to concentrate the flavors.
Then I started poking around for gummy recipes. I love watermelon flavored candy. I love, love, love Watermelon Jolly Ranchers, and I used to love to drink Watermelon Schnapps Pucker with Sprite because it tasted just like a Jolly Rancher, only in liquid form. Now all three of those things are off-limits. But I came across a recipe for Lemon-Watermelon Gummies so I had to try it. I’ve modified this recipe because honey can be problematic for people allergic to corn if you don’t know whether your beekeeper is feeding his bees corn syrup or not. And then I had to try it with just lemon, so I further modified things. Both versions are provided below, but I think you could do any fruit juice if safe for you (most commercial juices are not safe for people allergic to corn). The gummies themselves result in candies that taste like real fruit and aren’t as sweet as store bought gummies, but they work for me and I probably shouldn’t be eating all that sugar anyway. I’m kind of liking the lemon as an after dinner palate cleanser, as it is a very refreshing pure lemon taste that melts in your mouth. If you want them to be more sweet to match the commercially available gummies, I’d up the sugar to about 1/2 a cup total for each recipe. Try it with the lower sugar though, you may find you don’t need it 🙂
Lemon Watermelon Gummies
- 4 cups of peeled and cubed watermelon
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice (or the juice of one lemon)
- 1 Tablespoon of lemon extract
- 8 Tablespoons of plain unflavored gelatin (I used Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin)
- 1/3 cup of sugar
Place watermelon, lemon juice and lemon extract in a blender. Blend it until the watermelon is completely pulverized. You want this as smooth as you can get it. Wish I had my friend Mary’s Vitamix for this, but my plain old blender did okay. Using a fine wire mesh strainer, strain out any remaining pulp so that you just have juice left.
After straining out the pulp, put one half of the watermelon liquid into a sauce pan with the sugar. On medium low heat, stir until all the sugar is dissolved and then add the gelatin and whisk until it is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining watermelon liquid. Whisk again until smooth.
Spray silicone molds or ice cube trays with a neutral, safe for you cooking oil. I used a light olive oil in a mister. You don’t want an oil that tastes like anything. (As a side note, apparently there is some debate about whether or not to grease silicone. I have always greased silicone baking molds with oil, shortening and margarine when I could still eat it, and have had no problems whatsoever, but I also don’t use non-stick cooking spray on them. According to this article, if you over grease when baking you may get a sticky residue that’s difficult to wash off. I had no issue cleaning these molds after this recipe, but if you do, use some baking soda with your dish washing detergent when handwashing, and it’ll likely be fine. Also, if you try doing it without oil, let me know how that goes.) Make sure your silicone mold is on a cookie sheet because you are going to move it into the fridge or the freezer and you don’t want a big mess all over your floor and counters. Carefully pour the mixture into your molds. I also ended up having enough for a a couple of gummies in a silicone ice cube tray as well.
Put the silicone mold in the refrigerator or freezer. The gummies will set up in about 15-20 minutes in the freezer and about 30-40 minutes in the refrigerator.
This version makes about half of what the Lemon Watermelon version did because that seemed like a lot of gummies of one flavor to me. If you wanted, you could replace the lemon juice with lime juice, grapefruit juice, or orange juice as well. If I did any other kind of fruit juice other than citrus, I’d probably just use 2 cups of juice and skip the water.
- 1 cup of lemon juice (took about 3 lemons)
- 1 cup of water
- 2 Tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/2 Tablespoon lemon extract
- 4 Tablespoons of plain unflavored gelatin (I used Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin
Juice your lemons. After straining out the pulp, put the lemon juice into a sauce pan with the sugar. On medium low heat, stir until all the sugar is dissolved and then add the gelatin and whisk until it is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and add the water. Whisk again until smooth.
Spray silicone molds with a neutral oil as described above, and place the silicone mold on a cookie sheet. Carefully pour the mixture into your molds.
Put the silicone mold in the refrigerator or freezer. Again, the gummies will set up in about 15-20 minutes in the freezer and about 30-40 minutes in the refrigerator.
Having smelled your extracts I can only imagine how wonderfully these must taste. Can they be stored at room temperature or do they need to be kept cool?
Mary, if they weren’t make with real fruit juice, I’d say store them at room temp, but I think it’s safest to store them in the fridge. They don’t appear to stick together as I’ve had them jumbled up in a bowl in the fridge. I’d have put them in a jar with a lid, but they are almost gone anyway…oops 🙂
Oh! Weren’t you talking about a corn-free Skittles recipe way back when? Or was it something else? Anyway, glad you’re able to get your food-colored sugar fix in. I may try one of these sometime but with vegan gelatin (?!?!). Though that might actually contain corn, come to think of it. It’s EVERYWHERE. 🙁
Molly, I know there are recipes that use agar-agar, which I believe is corn-free as well as vegan. I have some, but I have to admit I haven’t played with it yet, but I”m working on a recipe to use it this week. Not candy, though. Pie.
Still haven’t managed to think of a way to do Skittles, but I have a couple of possibilities for experiments for Starbursts and Jolly Ranchers 🙂
How neat to make something like that.