Make Your Own
Make Your Own Gummies out of seaweed! Everything you need is included in this kit and it's easy! You can make your own gummi bears, gummi worms, gummi fish or any other shape. Make gummies on the stove or with a microwave. Great for class room activities, scout troops, birthday parties, home school, or after school groups. Adult supervision is recommended. Makes a great gift for kids (ages 8 & up)!
Inside each Make Your Own Gummies Kit you'll find: sour mix, colored and flavored sugar, powdered seaweed, seaweed, molding starch, instructions and the story of carrageenan.
All you have to do is wash the seaweed and boil it for a few minutes until the carrageenan is extracted. Then take out the seaweed itself, mix in the sugar, boil it again, pour it in the molds, and then add the sour mix! That's it - you have made your own yummy gummies!
Gummi Bears From Seaweed?
We are all used to eating food from plants that grow in the earth - carrots, corn, raspberries... But how about food from plants that grown in the sea?
You might think of seaweed as the slimy green stuff you find on the beach. But it is more than that; in Japan and China people have been eating "sea vegetables" for hundreds of years.
Even if we are not used to collecting and eating whole seaweed, it is there hiding in many things that we eat and use every day – like toothpaste! With this Gummies Kit you get a chance to see seaweed work its invisible magic, yourself.
Divina's Family Grows Seaweed In The Philippines
Divina's family has a seaweed farm in the Philippines. They live near the shore of an island and her father, like most of the people in the area, used to make a living by fishing. But nowadays, there are so many people fishing, it's getting harder and harder to be a fisherman. Some kinds of fish have even disappeared as a result of all the fishing. Luckily, a few years ago, her family started a seaweed farm.
It's pretty simple, actually— first, they take some sticks and poke them into the sand on the bottom of the sea, tying nylon fishing lines to each one. Then, they wade out into the water, pluck some sprigs of a special seaweed plant called Eucheuma cottonii, and tie them to the nylon lines. It looks like an underwater garden, really.
It grows really quickly, and when the plants are big enough to harvest, Divina cuts the seaweed back so that it can grow again.
Why grow seaweed, you might be wondering? What can her family do with it?
Well, you probably use seaweed every day without even knowing it. Some people eat it, in salads or in sushi. But seaweed is also really important because it naturally contains a substance that makes liquids like water and milk get thicker or even become solid. We use two of these seaweed gels— carrageenan and agar— in our Gummies Kit. Just check the ingredient list on your toothpaste, cottage cheese, deodorant, dog food, pudding, even salad dressing or sandwich meat, and see if they have seaweed in them!
So, with lots of products needing gels, Divina's family and thousands of other families like hers can make money selling carrageenan. They boil the seaweed until it's like a goo, and then filter, dry it and grind it up into a powder, sort of like the process you're using in the Gummies Kit.
Now, let us tell you something you may not have known. Most gummy candies are made from gelatin, and lots of other foods have gelatin in them, too. Like marshmallows. Gelatin is a substance that is made by boiling animals' bones! You guessed it - we're using seaweed gels because seaweed is so cool- it just keeps on growing and growing, people like Divina can continue to make money, without wiping out the fish population, and it's a great alternative to gelatin!
SUGAR, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, SEAWEED (NOT FOR CONSUMPTION), VEGETABLE GUMS (AGAR, CARRAGEENAN AND LOCUST BEAN GUM), CITRIC ACID, BEET COLOR, NATURAL FLAVORS, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE. INCLUDES MOLDING STARCH FOR MOLDING PURPOSES ONLY.
|Serving Size 1 Tbs mix, 1 Tbs coating (22g)||2 pieces (38g) prepared|
|Servings Per Container||7|
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0 g||0%|
|Sodium 0 mg||0%|
|Total Carbohydrates 21 g||7%|
|Sugars 17 g|
|Protein 0 g|
|*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your calorie needs.|
Before you begin, check your ingredients and make sure that you have the following:
Colored, flavored sugar, powdered seaweed, sour mix, molding starch, and seaweed.
A note about making the molds:
You'll notice that we didn't include any plastic molds in this kit. Instead, we've included molding starch, which is corn starch with a little bit of mineral oil added so that it holds the impressions better. This is the way that real candy makers make gummy candies like jelly beans. We wanted to let you make your candies into any shape you want, you can use the molding starch over and over when you make new gummies, and, of course, it's bio-degradable! (Naturally, feel free to use molds if you have them...)
1) First, find some household objects you'd like to use as mold-makers. The best ones are small and shallow, with minimal detail, such as refrigerator magnet numbers and letters, or the back of a teaspoon. You can also use plastic animal or people figures, fingers, or even your whole hand print to make shapes. (hint: flexible straws make great-looking worms.) Wash and dry all of the figures before you start!
2) Now, pour the molding starch onto a dinner plate and lightly smooth out the surface with the back of a spoon. Push your shapes or fingers firmly into the molding starch, and lift them out carefully so that the impressions are clean and the details are clear.
Now, you're ready to make the Gummies:
If you're using a microwave: 3) Empty the powdered seaweed (it's agar and carrageenan) into a transparent, microwavable bowl or glass measuring cup with sides at least 3" tall.
4) Add 1/2 cup water and stir thoroughly so that there are no lumps.
5) Rinse the seaweed well under running water so that you remove the salty taste and add it to the water.
6) Heat the mixture for 2 minutes at high power in the microwave. The mixture must foam up. If it hasn't foamed after 2 minutes, try intervals of 30 seconds until it foams.
7) Lift the seaweed out with a fork and shake it a little so that the carrageenan clinging to it stays in the bowl. Notice that clear gel around the seaweed- that's carrageenan! (You can dispose of the seaweed at this point- it's done its work.)
8) Stir the flavored, colored sugar packet into the hot mixture. Stir it and put it back into the microwave for 1 minute or until it foams up again (you may need to stir it if it only foams up on one side of the bowl)
9) Pour the mixture into the impressions you made and let the candies cool in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
10) Remove the gummies from the molding starch. Run the gummies quickly under water and dry them.
11) Cut open the bag containing the sour mix, and put your gummy candies in the bag. Shake so that the gummies get coated lightly. By the way, if the sour mix is too sour for you, you can dilute it by simply adding some sugar.
12) You will probably have extra gummy mixture, so simply smooth out the molding starch again on the plate, make new impressions, heat up the mixture until it dissolves and pour. One really interesting thing about seaweed gels is that they are "thermally reversible", something gelatin is not. That's why you can heat them again and again- gel, un-gel, gel, un-gel.
13) Admire and enjoy your gummy creations!
Now that you know how easy it is to Make Your Own Gummies from scratch, we know that you're going to want to make more!
Order a new kit for your friends, class, scout troop or your next birthday party: Order Now for only $13! They also make great gifts for kids (ages 8 and up)!
The Educator’s Guide To The Make Your Own Gummies Kit
I. Guide to using the Make Your Own Gummies Kit with a group
Verve’s Make Your Own Gummies Kit can be a terrific, interactive classroom activity for a wide range of ages and class sizes. We provide a sample lesson plan intended for grades 5 – 8, but the kit may be used with children from age 5 up, with adult supervision. It has also been used to great effect with high school home economics classes and college science classes as a fun end-of-term project.
The Gummies Kit relates to many topics, including coastal ecology, social sciences, chemistry, geography, and more. We recommend using the kit in conjunction with our sample lesson plan, or creating your own lesson plan from the resources provided. To view the instructions and story that come with the kit, go to the Make Your Own Gummies Kit main page. You may also find The Gooey Tale of Gummies to be helpful.
Because this activity requires heat, a stove or microwave is required. You will also need a cooking pot, spoon, plate, refrigerator, and any small objects you would like to use to make molds (optional).
The Gummies Kit makes approximately 15 - 20 gummy candies, depending on their size, so it is plenty for groups of up to 20 students. We recommend that the teacher or group leader heat the ingredients and allow students to help add the ingredients, stir, and pour the gummies. Older students may be allowed to work in groups to make the gummies themselves, if appropriate.
II. Sample Lesson Plan for Make Your Own Gummies Kit Grade Level: 5 – 8
Science (Ecology, Chemistry)
Introduction: Flexible – 20 minutes or more
Gummies-Making Activity: 20 minutes
Assessment: 15 minutes
Students will learn about ocean life by exploring the properties of seaweed as they make a special treat – gummy candies!
1) Students will draw connections between ocean life and their own lives.
2) Students will understand that seaweed is used in many common food products.
3) Students will understand the phases of matter.
1) Students will understand the many ways in which ocean life is important to our everyday lives.
2) Students will experience changes in the stages of matter firsthand by viewing chemical reactions that occur during cooking.
1) Pictures/examples of seaweed
2) Food packages and labels containing carageenan, agar agar or beta carotene as an ingredient
3) Microwave or stove
4) Bowl or stovepot
5) A few plastic spoons
6) Paper plates for each student
7) Make Your Own Gummy Kit
8) Large sheet of white paper or whiteboard
Carageenan: An edible thickening agent made from red algae.
Seaweed: Not true plants, seaweeds are actually algae, of the kingdom Protista.
Algae: A type of organism that is neither an animal nor a true (vascular) plant, which gets its energy from photosynthesis. Algae grow in water or damp environments.
Begin with a discussion of the plant life that is found in the ocean. Students will be interested to learn that seaweeds are in fact not plants, but algae, which belong to the kingdom Protista. Ask your students how algae that grows in the ocean might be different from plants that grow on land. How do they get their energy? What other life feeds on them?
Now ask students if people ever eat seaweed, and in what foods. Ask if they have ever eaten seaweed. Even if your students have never had sushi, they might be surprised to learn that they probably eat seaweed every day in form of ingredients like carrageenan, beta carotene, and alginates (agar agar is a common one). These products are found in foods such as cottage cheese, chocolate milk, ice cream, yogurt, mayonnaise, salad dressing, margarine and cheese. They make liquid foods thicker, creamier, and more stable against changes in temperature and pH, and over long periods of time. For example, alginates prevent ice cream from forming ice crystals. Have students find food labels that contain carrageenan or beta carotene as an ingredient. Have a class discussion about the foods students have eaten recently that contain carrageenan.
Now tell them that they are going to see firsthand what carrageenan and alginates do to liquids. Ask them to pay particular attention to the consistency of the raw ingredients and how they change over time as they are mixed together and cooked. Tell them to classify the materials at each stage as a solid, liquid, or something in between. Now make your gummy candy from the Make Your Own Gummies Kit together as a class. Because this requires heat, you may want to do the cooking yourself, but have the students watch. Have each student create his/her own mold out of the molding starch, which will be the shape of his/her finished gummy candy.
Have the students create a flow chart showing the stages of matter the mixture passed through as ingredients were added and changes in temperature occurred. Have them list the causes and effects of these changes.
A final option is to have the class create a large diagram showing what would happen if the world’s algae were to die out. Make sure to list outcomes that would affect humans, other animals, our oxygen supply, etc. List as many as you can, using arrows to show causal links.
Resources and related lessons:
Excellent information on seaweed biology, designed for students.
An argument for why algae is the most important organism on earth. Fascinating!
Links to other sites with information on many ocean topics.
This site includes four excellent lesson plans that further students’ understanding of kelp forests, the food chain, and the role of aquatic and terrestrial plants.
This is an excellent interdisciplinary lesson plan that highlights the many products that come from algae. This site includes a wide breadth of information about ocean life and our connections with oceans.
This is an excellent lesson plan about algae products with plenty of background information about algae and alginates.
Lesson plan for lower grades: make an ocean food chain.
Interrelated lesson plans on algae.
• We recommend using a stovetop or hotplate rather than a microwave for this kit, if possible.
• Please read through all instructions before beginning.
• Check with parents to make sure all children are allowed to eat the final product.
• Coat the gummies with sour mix in small batches to prevent the candies from sticking together.
• Have fun!
The Gooey Tale Of Gummies
Gummies are delicious, with a texture unlike any other candy. What is the secret to this gooey, goopy, tasty treat? The answer can be found in the Philippines and other coastal regions of Asia. That’s where thousands of small-scale fishermen have taken up seaweed farming as a way to make extra money. And seaweed, as you will see, is what makes gummy candies so gummy!
The coastal areas of Asia have long been home to fishermen, since fishing traditionally provides both a means of income and food for families. But recently, too many people are fishing too much. As a result, the fish populations are shrinking at a rapid rate. This presents grave implications for the fishermen, the economy, the environment, and of course the fish! So some fishermen are searching for new, more sustainable ways to make a living. And seaweed is proving to be just the ticket!
Seaweed has actually been harvested and eaten in Asia for centuries. In places like China, Korea and Japan, seaweed is part of the everyday diet. In these countries, people often harvest the seaweed from wild-growing plants rather than cultivating it. But for many years in the Philippines and Indonesia, folks have been cultivating the seaweed in small underwater farms. This type of underwater farming is called “aquaculture”.
Seaweed is extremely nutritious. Some types of seaweed also have a unique capability: certain chemicals in them cause liquids to thicken and become gooey and gelatinous. One such chemical is called carageenan, and it is used in many foods to make them thicker and more stable at different temperatures. Now this might sound weird, but there are lots of times we want liquids to become thicker or even solid – like when making gummy candy, for example!
In the 1970s, a worldwide demand arose for carageenan and other seaweed extracts. Fishermen in the Philippines realized that there was a big market for special types of seaweed like Euchemia cottonii (which carageenan is derived from), and many of them took up seaweed farming as a result. Today, seaweed farmers in the Philippines grow 80% of the world’s carageenan, and they get a good price for it because of the high demand. Another benefit is that since most of the carageenan is grown by small-scale, independent farmers, the income goes directly to the families who grow it. And thankfully, since growing seaweed doesn’t hurt the environment like fishing does, it is a sustainable and eco-friendly business.
The process for growing seaweed is simple, but requires a good deal of knowledge about the environment. Choosing the right spot to grow the seaweed can be the most important step. The water depth, movement, temperature, and salinity (saltiness) must all be taken into account. And you’ve got to watch out for sea turtles, sea urchins, and rabbit fish – they love to eat seaweed too! Euchemia cottonii in particular grows best in warm, shallow, and salty waters.
Once an appropriate location is chosen, two bamboo poles are anchored there on the ocean floor, with nylon string strung underwater between them. Seaweed seeds or small pieces of actual seaweed are tied to the string and left to grow for a few months. Once they have grown large enough, parts are cut off to be processed into carageenan. The rest of the plant is left to grow back until it is again large enough to be cut.
The harvested seaweed is spread on a flat surface in the sun and left to dry for a few days. Once it is dry, the salt is removed by sieving the seaweed with mesh screens. Then the dried seaweed is washed and ground into small particles. And that’s it – you’ve got usable carrageenan! Now you can take it from here with your Make Your Own Gummies Kit, and see how carrageenan is made into gummy candy – just by boiling it in water and adding sugar and flavoring. Pretty neat, huh?
But wait, there’s more! Did you know that carrageenan is the secret ingredient in many of the products you use every day? That’s because carrageenan is capable of so many different things, from thickening liquids to making foods taste richer to keeping dairy products from separating. Here is just a small list of the types of products in which carrageenan works its invisible magic: ice cream, cottage cheese, toothpaste, soy milk, sandwich meat, and shampoo. And let’s not forget gummy candies!
Now, most gummy candies you buy in the store aren’t made from carrageenan – instead, they use gelatin, which is made from animal bones. Gelatin works just as well, but it leaves people who don’t want to eat animal bones (like vegetarians) out of luck. And we think that’s just not fair, because gummy candy is just so much fun to eat! So we’ve made our Gummies Kit using carrageenan -- it’s better for vegetarians, better for the environment, and better for the seaweed farmers in the Philippines. Believe it or not, a world of good can come from one yummy little gummy!