If you remember, I mentioned buying a bag (or really a bucket) of gummy bears for the younger children to experiment on. It didn't come with the big guy pictured above, I made that one myself, for the children to enjoy when they were done experimenting with its smaller cousins.
With those, we performed the usual experiments - soaking them in water, and tonic water (for added fluorescence), weighing and measuring them before, and after they soaked up the liquids, to compare how much each one absorbed, and how much our control gummy bear in an empty bowl lost, during the same time period.
We checked the gummy bear soaked in tonic water under a UV light, to see if it still glowed.
And, it was about then, one of the children wondered out loud what the bloated bears would taste like.
I knew from past experience with the older children, that it was a predictable question. I also remembered the answer from the last time around - terrible, yuck, eew, really gross! That's where the big blue bear came in.
I knew seeing the big, water filled, bears would make the children want to taste them (it's only natural), but knowing they wouldn't be any good to taste, I thought wouldn't it be fun to have a big (really big) gummy bear on hand to offer them, instead?
What does it take to make a really big gummy bear? Not much, other than some kind of bear mold or pan (such as the small, bear, cake pans purchased on some sale years ago, then banished to back of the pan cupboard from that day on) to pour the gummy mixture into.
The gummy mixture itself is just gelatin and water. There are a number of recipes out there for homemade gummy candies, my favorite so far has been one recommended by Not So Idle Hands. I intended to follow it this time too, but for some reason, cut the unflavored gelatin amount in half. The resulting bears were still very good, and gummy-like, so maybe this is my new favorite.
In a medium sauce pan (or ideally a double boiler), mix together:
* 1 - 6 oz package of flavored gelatin
* 3 - 1/4 oz packages of unflavored gelatin.
* and 5/6 of a cup of water.
Let the pan sit for 10 minutes, until the gelatin absorbs all the water.
Then, place the pan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin melts (just until it melts - don't let it cook). Pour it into molds or pans. One batch will fill two, approximately 5''x3'' bear shaped cake pans with about a sixth of a cup left-over.
Foam will rise to the top, just skim it off as you might when making jelly. Keep it, and let it set up too. It still tastes good, just with a different texture. I skimmed the foam into the same measuring cup I had the left over gummy mixture in, and let it set up as a gummy disk (you can see the foamy part on the bottom).
Pop the pans into the fridge for five or ten minutes, until the gelatin sets up, and you will be able to pull it cleanly out of the pans.
Our bears not only tasted great, but weighed in about 45 times heavier than their average sized, store bought, cousins. The biggest bloated bear wasn't even 4 times as heavy as the original, so all in all, it was a good exchange.
It's great to be a homeschooler.