Rock candy originated from India and Persia. They used it as dessert or treat for kids. Rock candies are used to flavor tea and coffee. They are made from cooled supersaturated sugar that creates extra large crystals. In the olden days people dipped string and twigs where the sugar crystals can grow. From the basic white, makers make added food color to make rock candies more appealing and interesting.
As a sweet treat you can add flavoring to rock candies. You can use many flavoring materials for the rock candies, some from bottled extracts and some from fruits and juices you have in the house. Some of the more common and well-loved rock candy flavors are lemon, orange, cherry, mint, lime, vanilla and cinnamon. Below are some tips on how to make flavoring for rock candy.
- If you are using fruits, make sure that you wash them thoroughly then dry them before you use them. Vodka is the main liquid that you will use to steep the infusion to extract the flavors from the fruits. You will need cleans and sterilized one quart canning jars.
- To make vanilla flavoring slice three to four vanilla beans in half to expose the seeds. Place the vanilla beans into a half-pint canning jar and fill the jar with vodka. Seal the jar tightly and place in a location that is cool and dry. After four weeks when the vodka has thoroughly infused, remove the vanilla beans and store them in a canning jar filled with sugar and leave it in a cool and dark place for a few months. The sugar will absorb the vanilla flavor and you can use this sugar to make your rock candy.
- Mint is also a very good and popular flavor for rock candy. You can make mint flavoring by washing one pound of fresh peppermint or spearmint leaves. Shake off the excess water from the leaves and then crush or bruise them. Place the leaves in a one quart canning jar and top the jar with vodka. Place the jar under the sun. After three or four weeks your flavoring will be ready. Strain it carefully so no leaves will remain in the liquid.
- Fresh lemons and oranges are very good fruits for rock candy flavorings. Zest or peel the rind from clean and dry lemons or oranges. Make sure that you do not include the pith in when you peel the rind, as the pith is bitter. Squeeze the juice from the fruits and remove the seeds and the membranes. Place the fruit pulp and the fruit peels in a one quart canning jar for one third of the jar and add vodka to fill the jar to the top. Place in a cool and dry place and check every few days to release the gases that will build up and to taste the infusion.
- Pomegranates may be an unusual flavor but it can give the rock candy a beautiful red color. To make your pomegranate flavoring, peel the skin from three to four fruits and remove the membranes to separate the seeds. Place the seeds in a one quart canning jar and crush the seeds with a spoon. Fill the jar with vodka up to the top. Store the infusion in a cool and dark location for about a week.
Steeping the fruits and vodka can take from eight days to four months. When you have filled the jars, seal them tightly and rotate them gently to mix the liquid and fruits. Sugar may be added at the ratio of one tablespoon per cup of vodka. Filter the liquid when the steeping is done.