My kids and I recently had the chance to try two Glee Gum Candy Kits: Make Your Own Chewing Gum and Make Your Own Gummies.
These kits are a lot of fun and a great educational activity on rainy days (with a snack reward!), but they are best-suited for older children (recommended for ages 8+) to try with the assistance of an adult. Most of the steps were for children with some cooking experience and a knowledge of kitchen safety.
Each of the Glee Gum Candy Kits comes with an informational sheet about the natural resources used to make the products and the people who harvest the resources. On the Glee Gum website, additional information is provided for teachers who want to use the candy kits as an educational resource. I think this is a great idea, especially for an older elementary or middle school class.
The Make Your Own Chewing Gum kit requires you to melt chicle made from the sap of the Sapodilla tree in the provided microwave-safe bowl. This gets very hot and sticks to everything it touches. The directions recommend removing the chicle from anything it sticks on with butter, not margarine. I used peanut butter instead with some success. I don’t know what a dairy- and nut-free option might be. Coconut oil maybe? Commercial solvents can also be used.
You then mix in heated corn syrup and knead the gum on a surface coated with powdered sugar. After dividing the gum in two, cherry and peppermint flavorings are added and kneaded in and then you cut the gum into bite-sized pieces.
The gum tastes like chewing gum used to taste before synthetic ingredients widely replaced chicle. One of my children doesn’t care for gum but liked the taste of this! The other children enjoyed it, too.
The Make Your Own Gummies kit uses two kinds of seaweeds, one of which is boiled to release the
carrageenan, which my kids thought was cool. They asked me to save the seaweed to show their dad when he got home. The additional seaweed is powdered. The carrageenan and powdered seaweed are mixed with a flavored, colored powder and cooked. The mixture can be poured into the included molded powder, but since we had candy molds (and a three-year old helper) we used those instead. One neat thing we learned is that if the liquid gels too quickly it can be reheated and poured again.
Once the gummies firm up, you can toss them in a sweet and sour coating. We tried the gummies plain and found them to be very sweet, so we preferred them with the coating.
Overall, the Glee Gum Candy Kits were a big hit in our house. We learned a lot and had so much fun making our own treats! Now, if only they would make the Make Your Own Chocolate kit dairy-free, too!
Price: $13.95 per kit; $6.95 per chewing gum refill
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, the Glee Gum Candy Kits are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the Glee Gum website at www.gleegum.com.