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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Homemade gummy candies using real (canned) fruit and/or fruit juice

A couple of weeks ago, we got to talking in the comments' section about making gummy candy. My friend, Sara, (if you read the comments' section, Sara is a frequent contributor) mentioned making gummy candy with her grown sons. Sara is quite an accomplished cook, so I trust her ability to search out recipes, then tweak them to work even better. I asked her to share her method and recipes for gummy candies, and to our good fortune, she agreed and has provided them, here, today. Thank you, Sara! 

If you have questions or comments, Sara has agreed to make herself available to answer them.

"Good morning, everyone.  I'm very flattered that Lili asked me to share our recipes for gummies with all of you, after the recent discussion of uses for lifetime supplies of unflavored gelatine.

One of our sons originally found a recipe for fruit-and-juice gummies from The Undressed Skeleton site.   I have done a banana version, and it was very tasty.  This time we used leftover canned fruit; and this would also be good for over-ripe/imperfect fruit that is flavorful but not pretty. This makes a medium-soft gummy with a little tiny bit of texture, in a generous batch.

The recipe for all-juice gummies is from  the Elana's Pantry site. Elana Amsterdam has many good recipes for other items there, as well.  The first time I used her recipe with papaya juice, it was excellent; but this time we wanted to try and get a stronger fruit juice flavor. For those of you with kids or grandkids who will want the most recognizable, "authentic" gummy, I think that this style may be a better choice, though both types are fun and tasty.  This recipe is fairly small, probably to accommodate the size of molds.

You can buy cute gummy bear molds, but on this blog, I imagine I don't have to apologize for being happier to just use something I already had.  In this case, I used the smallest-circumference cutter from a biscuit cutter set I already had to cut shapes from a sheet of set gelatin in a casserole dish.  If you're going to use molds, please refer to Elana's directions for how much to cool the mixture before putting them into the molds, etc.

Unlike the original recipes, we actually didn't sweeten either of our recipes this time.  We do not eat stevia, and did not think we needed additional sweetening with these flavors.  If you want a sweeter result, however, I did use a little touch of honey for the gummies last time, and they set up just fine. We also altered the order of preparation steps to an order we felt would reduce potential clumping.

Apricot-Pineapple Gummies

1 1/2 cups canned apricots
1 1/2 cups canned pineapple slices
3/4 cup pineapple juice
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup water
5 1/2 packets unflavored gelatine

Put apricots and pineapple into a medium-sized saucepan, and cook and stir over medium heat until hot and softened some.  Transfer carefully to blender and puree.

Measure pineapple juice, lemon juice, and water (cold or room-temperature) in a 2-cup measuring cup.  Then add the packets of gelatine fairly quickly and efficiently, sprinkling it around the surface and jiggling the liquid to keep it dissolving in and keep it from clumping.  (This makes more sense as you do it than when you explain it.)  It should be fairly firm by the time you've poured the last packet.

Return the warm fruit puree to the saucepan, and add the soft-gelled gelatine/fruit juice mixture, whisking constantly until softened and fully-blended. Pour into rectangular casserole dish (ours is metric, but approx. 7" by 11").  Let set in refrigerator until firm (this happens quickly!) 

Cut with knife or shaped cutter. Loosen the first pieces at the edge, if your cutter doesn't pick them up, as ours did some of the time.  The rest should pry up easily with the tip of a fork or little flat spatula.  Store in the refrigerator in a single layer on a plate covered with plastic wrap or in ziplock bags.

Black Cherry-Elderberry Gummies
(We use these two juice concentrates for health reasons as well as taste. You can find them for fairly economical prices on-line at places like

1/4 cup unsweetened black cherry juice concentrate
2 tablespoons unsweetened elderberry juice concentrate (a.k.a. sambucus)
enough water to make 1 cup of liquid total
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 packets unflavored gelatine

Measure juices into 2-cup glass measuring cup, then add water to equal 1 cup.  Pour 1/2 to 2/3 of this mixture into a saucepan and heat to a simmer over medium heat.

Meanwhile, add contents of gelatine packets to remaining cold or room-temperature juice mixture, as described above.  When juice is heated, pour gradually back into measuring cup, whisking constantly.  Then continue to whisk until gelatine is dissolved and fully-blended.

Pour immediately into a 1-quart  square casserole (for thicker gummies) or 1 1/2-quart round casserole, and chill in the refrigerator until firm. 

The top surface of this batch was frothy. Flip them over for best presentation.

Cut, move, and store as above, except if your mixture was frothy, flip gummies to display the slick, shiny underside on top.

The number of gummies you are able to make from each recipe will depend on the size of your pan and your cutter, as well as the amount of waste in-between cuttings. 

DO be frugal, though, and plan to eat the "waste" strips and bits.  They may not look cute, but they taste just as yummy (and gummy!)  See photo of our bowl of gummy "ends and pieces"."

Looks good, Sara! I can't wait to try my hand at making these!


  1. Yum! Looks like a yummy treat for lunch boxes. I haven't made these, but have done something a bit similar to make vitamin C gummies for the kids. Makes it easy for them to take.

    1. Good morning, Cat--

      Vitamin C gummies sounds like a great idea! Did the kids like them? We're hoping that the black cherry/elderberry ones will be a little bit medicinal, as well as delicious. :)

      We actually made these to go in lunch boxes for a road trip. They seem to travel well for a day or two, if they stay cool. So one day in the lunch box would probably be fine.

      We've also been pleased that they don't seem to stick together much. Once they are loose from the pan and one another, they seem to stay loose nicely.

      Have a good one! Sara

    2. Well, I have only done one batch so far and got them a bit tart. I think I tried to put too much vitamin C in each one....will scale it back a bit next time. :)

    3. Well, Cat, around here we figure we haven't had our daily C tabs unless our eyes are watering; so yours probably would have been a hit with my kids. :)

      But I can understand that you might want to tone it down a little, so they didn't need to get every milligram for the day in just a gummy or two. Probably more practical!

      If you try another, and like the result better, I'd be very curious about the process/dosage/etc.!


  2. Lovely guest post Sara!

    Might someone know what the measurement is for the amount of gelatin in a packet?

    Thank-you for the detailed post with photos:)

    1. Good morning, Teresa--

      Our son and I were a little confused about this. We saw a couple of places, including the Knox website, that said "use one packet for a recipe calling for 1 tablespoon." I think one of the recipes we looked at also seemed to be using the packet/tablespoon as interchangeable.

      However, we measured a packet and got considerably less than that. I saw a site called "Eat the Evidence" that said they always got less than 2 teaspoons.

      We stuck with packets for the measurements, because that was the packaging we were dealing with; but we'd say definitely, for those of you using bulk gelatine (all gelatine quality issues being assumed to be the same) to start with something closer to 2 teaspoons per packet.

      We'll actually be anxious to hear if Lili or anyone else has a more-definitive answer/experience with this!

      Have a good day! Sara

      PS... Food posts aren't any good at all without photos, are they!?

    2. Hi Teresa,
      My canister of gelatin says to use 1/2 teaspoon of gelatin per 1/2-cup of liquid, or 2 teaspoons of gelatin per 2 cups. A single packet of gelatin sets 2 cups. So, that would be my estimate of hw much is in a packet, about 2 teaspoons.

    3. Thanks, Lili. That's what we needed! :) Sara

  3. Great post Sara, and thanks Lili for hosting this. I am excited to try and experiment with these recipes!! I do think our grandkids will love this better than jello. I noticed lemon juice added to some of the recipes, any idea why? I often yearn to buy myself some gummies to snack on but hesitate because it is a sticky sugar candy that is not good for my teeth and health, now II can definitely have gummy and eat it too lol. Judging from the many versions of recipes, it seems the sky is the limit as to what fruits and juices can be used (except kiwi perhaps as noted by Lili). Also being that sugar is used sparingly or notr at all makes this a good snack food for diabetics, just 2g of carb per 20 gummies as noted on one recipe. Thank you for sharing Sara!!


    1. Hi, YHF--

      Our son and I were talking about the lemon juice, too. I think that the lemon juice in the original fruit one might have been because of the fresh banana, as a color preserver.

      Personally, I just like the effect of lemon juice on most fruit flavors. It makes a lot of them more spritely. Also, a squeeze of lemon juice is a great tonic for a number of health reasons. So, that was probably why we chose to add it to everything.

      As for teeth and health, these are definitely more firm than sticky. You get the satisfaction of that little gummy/jujube suction when you bite into them, but they really don't seem at all sticky to me.

      And for lower carb/sugar, I'd say, just plan for fruit and/or juices you like that are naturally lower in natural sugars; and it ought to be pretty darned low.

      I will mention, though, in case I wasn't clear about this in the description (and I hope others will also catch this tip, as well)-- because there is a LOT of gelatine in these, your fruit and/or juice needs to be pretty strong to compete with the gelatine flavor. I actually wonder if that is the reason (more than just plain sweetness?) that the original recipes added sugar/stevia?

      What I mean is, probably my favorite fruit juice gelatin dish is apple cider gelatin, because it's very light and refreshing. But I'd never try to make apple cider gummies for the same reason... I think that the flavor would be too delicate to compete with the gelatine taste.

      I think that's what made the batch of gummies from the unsweetened (and strong) fruit juice concentrates so tasty. They really stood up to the gelatine flavor!

      That may also be an advantage of doing the recipe with pureed fruit (flavor-wise, even though the texture isn't quite the same)-- more fruit flavor, less-diluted before you "dilute" it with gelatine flavor.

      I hope that you have good results if you try them. As you said, I think that the sky probably IS pretty much the limit, as long as it's a fruit (or cooked fruit) or juice that physically will gel. :)


    2. Thanks, good point about choosing fruits that can compete with the gelatin taste. Isn't it neat that these are unsticky gummies!! Shucks, wish I had more kitchen time, but we're out of bean patties and have an overabundance of basil that needs to be used, so more pesto making this weekend (freezes well). I showed your post and the links to my husband and he's definitely interested. He has a sweet tooth, so he will probably like the gummies better than eating the fruits by themselves. Can you freeze the gummies?

    3. I know what you mean about your kitchen time being stuffed full, already. We're in an extra-economizing phase right now, and trying to get the freezer stocked back up with home-made "convenience" food right now (after we used up a lot during a busy period recently+. So, I have a list of stuff I can/need to make from ingredients we already have; and I'm trying to cross off about two-three a day, beyond normal kitchen activities and chores. Yikes!

      I will say, though, that the gummy project is amazingly and gratifyingly "instant" gratification-- especially if you're working from just juice or have super-ripe bananas you don't really need to puree. There just isn't that much mixing or heating, and they set up FAST! I forgot to check the time, but it seems like it can't have been more than a half-hour or 40 minutes before we were sampling the results... and we were done with the preparation a lot faster than that.

      So, if you have a little lull between other cooking projects (you know, while something's simmering or that sort of thing), you might be able to squeeze this in. That's actually what our son and I did. And isn't it fun to be able to sneak in a little something fun between our more-serious daily tasks? :D

      I'm going to the kitchen right now to throw a half-bag of gummies into the freezer! I'll let you know later how we thought that they came out! :)


    4. PS.... I was thinking that another juice that would probably be good for this ... lovely color and pretty strong flavor ... would be a pomegranate. I only had it once, but does anyone here drink that "POM" brand juice? Seems like I remember that was quite strong. Lots of good nutritional aspects, too.... but as I recall NOT very frugal. Sara

    5. Thanks for all the good info and freeze test!!

      I agree with you that POM juice is not frugal or easy to drink, but may be good for this. I don't think I can cook two different dishes in the same kitchen time....not coordinated ha! I can barely read and follow a one recipe at a time.


    6. LOL, YHF! Okay, maybe multi-tasking this into your day isn't the solution for you.

      Do you have room to have multiple people work in your kitchen? Maybe you can get hubby excited enough about them to take them on while you do something else? Divide and conquer? :)

      Hope your pesto comes out yummy! :) Sara

    7. It's only my husband and I in the kitchen. Usually we split our kitchen tasks in half. Last time, he made the bean patties from memory and forgot to add chopped onions. I had the task of frying the 30 patties and individually freezing them for Ziploc storage. My husband packs our lunches, and every day I noted to him as we're eating the patties that something seems missing but couldn't quite figure it out at first. So I'm convinced it takes two of us to cook per recipe!!


    8. Oh, dear! LOL I'm convinced! :) I guess you'll just have to wait until you have fewer kitchen chores!

      But your husband's "from memory" mistake reminds me of a month or two ago, when I was making some crackers I make all the time from memory... and forgot the baking soda! They were just as crispy as usual, but WAAAAAAAY "sturdier" than usual. We laughed all through eating that batch!

      Have a good one! Sara

  4. I made gummies with zucchini and fruit juice last year. I had some extra zucchini to use up and found that recipe. I made one batch according to the recipe and one batch making a simple variation and we liked that one better. I'm going to make some more this year. Oh and by the way I dehydrated them after cooking in the juice and I understand most people don't have a dehydrator.

    1. What a great way to use and disguise excess zucchini! How very timely for some of us!

    2. Hi, I wouldn't have thought to add zucchini, but it sounds intriguing, and certainly another welcome way to use up notorious zucchini overage!

      I happen to have a dehydrator. Can you explain what you used the dehydrator for? I'm not sure I'm understanding so far. :)


  5. I see one comment about keeping them cool. Do they melt with warmer temperatures? Would they be a good snack on a warm hike?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I believe Sara said, in another post, that she kept them in a cooler, for the long drive to her son's. My guess is it depends just how warm, and for how long. We've packed knox blox for snacks, without a cooler, before, and those had less gelatin to keep them firm.

      Sara will be along later to answer more questions, for anyone wanting more information.

    2. Live and learn, after reading the recipes (through the links) more closely, it appears that these can be kept at room temp for a couple of days. So, it really does boil down to just how warm of a hike. Desert Southwest, like your last vacation -- probably not. You could probably use a small ice pack, in an insulated pocket in your day pack. What I'm wondering is if these can go on airplanes in carry-on bags? Yep! I'm planning my winter escape, already!

    3. This time of year, we have to worry about hot cars also. I think to be safe, I'd pack them in a sealed container like Tupperware.

    4. Hey, there, Live and Learn--

      I think that they taste best cool, so my preference would be to try and keep them that way. Hot cars are an issue for us, too; so we generally keep a little ice chest lunchbox along for most daytrips/roadtrips. The ice doesn't always last, but at least it keeps things cooler than outside.

      That said, Lili's recollection is correct. The first time I made these as a treat for a son at university, I sent them in an ice chest all day (I think I originally told YHF I must have mailed them, but I forgot we actually were able to deliver them in person.)

      We've been carrying around some of the apricot-pineapple batch the past two days in our lunchbox, and I haven't noticed ANY softening of their structure. They're just not as cool as from the fridge. They also aren't sticking together at all.

      So, I'd say, like Lili's knox blox, you could probably throw them in a backpack without ice for a couple of hours in moderate temps, no problem.

      I've not tested leaving them out at room temp for any extended period of time, and we suddenly have cool weather here, so not in the heat, either. But they're pretty solid. I'm not even sure what they would turn into, if they ceased to be gummies. There's a LOT of gelatin in them, so I don't expect they'd liquify again, if they stayed dry but just hot. Maybe we need to do gummy stress tests? :D

      You probably can't treat them like packaged candy, but could probably treat them like most "fresh food" that can be room temp for a while (if you know what I mean.)

      So, I personally would probably risk them on a "warm" hike, if it was a shorter one. I think I'd want a little ice pack for a hot or extended-length hike. I plan to test them on a longer road trip in a few weeks, but the temps are going down, so not sure how much that will tell us about their hot weather usefulness.

      If I find out anything useful, I'll have Lili pass it alnog!

      Have a good day! Sara :)

    5. I'm really eager to make these, Sara. Since Cat mentioned using gelatin more in her diet for nutritional reasons (joint health being one, I believe), I've been using our own gelatin more. And these would just be so handy. And I like Cat's idea to make a Vit C gummy as a supplement. I use a liquid Vit C, but it's not so portable. Gummies would be great. Hmmm, I wonder how a calcium gummy would turn out. One daughter has a high need for calcium for the time being, and those commercial calcium gummies are kind of expensive (and the solid calcium, as I take are just too huge for someone not experienced in swallowing large caplets).

    6. Lili, it does seem like there could be some extra uses to these, if you get creative. The success of a calcium gummy seems like it would depend a lot on the form/taste of the supplement you tried to use. Sure would be a great thing if you COULD work something out!

      Gelatin is also part of some digestive health diets, and thankfully okay for a lot of other special diets.

      We were hoping that by using juice concentrates that we use regularly for health reasons, we might be able to get those benefits in a little less-messy form, like your vitamin C liquid. I haven't had a chance to test these on the real black cherry drinker of the family, yet; but I'm going to be very curious what they think when I do!

      Take care-- Sara

    7. When I was checking out chewable or powder calcium the other day, I was looking at a canister of powder to mix with a liquid, and with these gummies, I'm thinking it might be doable to make a calcium gummy, using the powder. I'll have to price it out. The commercial calcium gummies get expensive. But the powder is already flavored. There was a vanilla and a chocolate flavor. Something to think on.

    8. I wonder if you might be able to do more of a vanilla or chocolate "pudding" gummy, using gelatine and a milk/cream base? Sounds like that's what the commercial ones are?

      I wonder if you were doing something like that anyway, if you could do it with a less-expensive calcium source (maybe a powdered milk/buttermilk from food storage?) I've mixed powdered milk/buttermilk into hot milk drinks for a super-rich, more-nutrient-dense drink lots of times. Tastes yummy, too.

      I have a #10 can of buttermilk open right now. I will have to look at the nutrition facts for that. Seems like it would have to be cheaper than the calcium powder, but it tastes good. If it wasn't nutrient-dense enough, maybe you could at least stretch the calcium with something like that?

      Now I'm really wondering about this! Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... :)


  6. Thanks so much, Ladies, for the warm welcome and fun discussion today! It's been lovely!

    And now, back to your normal, frugal blog programming! :)

    Take good care, everybody! Sara :D

    1. Thanks so much, Sara! I know you put a lot of work into writing this post. I really appreciate it! I'll let you know how my batch of gummy candies turns out!

  7. Those sound great, I will have to give them a try!

    1. Don't they, Rhonda?! Im looking forward to making some myself. We have a surplus of pears, this year.I'm thinking pear gummies.


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