Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rock Candy

Photo courtesy of http://www.megahowto.com/how-to-make-rock-candy, photo editing & enhancement by ME.

Some how my children and I got onto the topic of candy, perhaps it was a plea in disguise for me to let them eat junk for bed time snack instead of the fruit they ended up getting. Regardless, they wanted to "do" something so we opted to take a rip at making our own rock candy. How hard could it be? 


Over to my good friend Google, I searched DIY Rock Candy and after reading a few articles figured I had it under my belt.  All we needed was some water and LOTS of sugar... you see, the goal is to super saturate the water with dissolved sugar molecules.  Eventually as the water from the prepared syrup evaporates off the crystals are supposed to attach themselves to what ever is suspended in the centre of the glass.

To keep things more interesting {and prettier} we added some gel colour to each of our 7 glasses...that's right we're gonna have a rainbow in our kitchen for a week people {and my husband better like it} because it's not going anywhere until next Tuesday  Friday (you will see later why)!  Secretly I am teaching my children a science lesson smoothered in a thick coating of P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E {a trait they appear to be running a little thin on} Fingers crossed, the crystals will grow and become larger every day.  I am little excited myself, but apprehensive too that I may have just washed away 6 cups of sugar, do you realize how many sugar cookies I could have made with 6 cups of sugar?  6 BATCHES!  

Let's do the math shall we?

6 batches of cookies X  24 cookies per batch {avg} = 144 cookies!

This better work! All in the name of science right?  Yeah, I'll just keep telling myself that.

Here's what we ended up doing to make our Rock Candy.  Parental assistance is a must on this one because you have to bring the sugar water to a boil, and we all now how hot boilling water is, add in some sugar and Yaowza!

What you need  {I scaled it back to save you sugar, make it smaller or bigger- just keep the ratio 2:1 or more in favour of the sugar}:
Stove
2 cups water
4 cups sugar { or any other 1:2 ratio of water to sugar for bigger batches} + a little extra to coat your sticks
food colour {or go au naturel and skip the colour all together}
Large pot
Wooden Spoon
Tall glass(es) (pickle jars, cleaned and dried work great too)
Shishkabob sticks {1 per glass works best...to allow for maximum room to the crystals to grow on} OR pipe cleaners
Clothes pegs {2 per stick} (or straws/pencils to tie pipe cleaners to).
Patience {7 days of it... straight... in a row}

PREP:   ATTEMPT #1
    An old folk legend said..."These sugar cyrstals will act as a base for the dissolved sugar to bind to once in the glass(es). They are SUPPOSED TO ATTRACT the sugar..."
    Attract sugar my (fill in noun here).
 Turn off the stove.
CAREFULLY pour or ladle the sugar water into your glasses or jars leaving about an inch of room from the top.  Add your food colour and stir to incorporate. {We used 7 shades from Wilton gel colours to make our rainbow: no taste red, lemon yellow, pink, leaf green, violet, orange, and sky blue}.



Let them sit for 7 days undisturbed and watch your cyrstals grow!

....um, I'm watching...still watching...WHAT THE HECK!?!  So, nothing happened...I haven't a clue as to why. We followed the instructions, waited the duration, but do you think we could get the rocks to grow on the sticks? NOT LIKLEY! What a pain in the rear this experient turned out to be...but, I couldn't just leave it.


Lesson Number 2: Perserverance (aka: The Do Over)Rock Candy - Round 2: 

I removed the sticks and tried using pipe cleaners. We read somewhere that this worked for some people as a good base for the crystals to adhere to. So,  we reboiled the solutions (1 colour at a time) back to fully dissolved and boiling, then transferred it back into clean dry glasses and now we're waiting again... for S-E-V-E-N more days, ugh!
Trial 2 has come to a close and would you know it...we FINALLY got our rocks to grow marginally... They were not as exciting as we (I) had all imagined them to be, but the fact that some crystals ACTUALLY grew was good enough for my kids.

Ideally you would "Remove your rocks and enjoy"!   I really wish the sticks had worked, eating sugar off pipecleaners seems a little wierd to me; at least there were enough other cyrstals on the rims of the glasses to provide samples of our week long experient.

I think I'll stick to what I know works best for me when it comes to confectionary wonders! Back to the basics next time. Better luck to you if you take a whirl at this science wonder.

5 comments:

  1. hello this page is lame

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  2. I think the idea is to make a 'saturated' sugar solution-
    keep adding sugar to the boiling solution until no more sugar disolves....
    then do the food colouring and suspend the sticks

    ReplyDelete