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Making Gummy Bears from scratch?

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We love all kinds of food at our house, but since we prefer to eat organic we often find ourselves trying to figure out how to make many things from scratch. Recently I've been working on homemade gummy bears and could use some help.

The main issue seems to be finding the right "jelling" agent to make the gummies "gummy"...for that I found agar-agar, pectin and gelatin. I tried agar-agar first, and while they looked great, they unfortunately were mealy in texture and the agar's taste was noticeable and unpleasant. Next I tried pectin using a modified homemade jelly recipe, but I couldn't get the gummies firm enough to not fall apart in my hand. The taste was great though. Finally I tried gelatin, and the texture was pretty much what you'd expect for a gummy bear, but just a tad too rubbery. However, never having cooked with plain gelatin before, I almost gagged at the smell! It smelled like I was cooking pig hair! Fortunately I couldn't detect as much of the odor after it cooled and set.

If anyone has any experience making gummy candies like these, I'd love any tips you can give me. I also have a few questions:

1. Is there such a thing as "non-stinky" gelatin? I used Knox unflavored gelatin and the smell was hideous!

2. What's the trick to getting pectin to jell thick enough for a gummy candy? I know it can be done because I've had pectin jelly beans before.

3. My gummies weren't as tangy as the store-bought ones. Would I add something like citric acid to the recipes for that?

4. To get the gelatin gummies to be a bit less rubbery and a bit more smooth, should I just use a bit less gelatin or is there something else I can add to accomplish that?

Here's the recipes I tried:
Agar-agar recipe: http://ladymake.hubpages.com/hub/How-...
Pectin recipe (in FAQ section): http://www.pomonapectin.com/recipiesa...
Gelatin recipe: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_...

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  1. I can't help, but organic candy is very prevalent online if not in stores, and Knox isn't organic. If you keep trying anyway, I'd be interested to see your final recipe.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jvanderh

      Our local organic co-op has really delicious gummy bears...but at $11.69/lb. I was hoping to get away a bit cheaper making them myself at home so I don't find myself calculating the "per gummy" price every time a hungry hand reaches in the bag! I also found some organic gelatin online but before spending the extra money I thought I'd do my experimenting with the less expensive non-organic ingredients first. Thanks for the tip about the Knox.

      1. re: rswpub

        It expect that it will turn out too tedious or expensive to do it regularly, but I think it's a neat experiment anyway.

    2. For the gelitin stink, what if you use gelatin sheets, gold/platinum? It might not be worth it to spend extra money on sheets . . . but it will stink less. The only gummi recipe I've played with involved a box of flavored gelatin, 2 packets of unflavored gelatin and water, Texture was a harder jello (ha!). My nieces and nephews liked them though.

      I was looking at the ingredient list of gummi bears and, including the ingredients in the gelatin recipe, there was also starch. Maybe some type of starch with less gelatin?

      Sorry, I'm not much help. This topic interests me very much. I'll fool around too and see if something comes close to the store-bought kind.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Eat.Choui

        Thanks for the idea on the starch! I will definitely have to experiment with some of that in place of some of the gelatin. Now just how much?! Something tells me it won't be just like making gravy!

        1. re: rswpub

          The starch may be the molds some candy is made by creating molds in starch, then pouring the mixture in .Here is some info on doing your own http://www.instructables.com/id/Corn-...

          Here is an earlier Chow post http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/320693

          I saw this Instructable mentioned on lifehacker.com http://www.instructables.com/id/LeGum... It sounds pretty good.

          Here is another from lifehacker, but I'm not sure the recipe is much different than many others. http://www.skiptomylou.org/2010/01/06...