The gummi or gummy bear was invented in 1922 by Hans Riegel, a confectioner from Bonn, Germany. It was originally called the “dancing bear” and Riegel named his company “Haribo” from Hans Riegel Bonn.
American high school students were among the first ones to learn about the Gummi Bears from their German classes. The first American-made Gummi Bears were manufactured by the Herman Goelitz Company (renamed Jelly Belly Candy Company) in 1981 and the Haribo Company established an American branch the following year.
There are five flavors of Gummi Bears sold in the United States by Haribo: lemon (yellow), raspberry (red), strawberry (green), pineapple (colorless) and orange (orange). Other companies make gummi candies in other flavors and shapes.
The original ingredients for Gummi Bears are gelatin, sugar, glucose syrup, flavoring, food coloring, citric acid and starch. The manufacturing process is long. Artists are commissioned to sketch the character then carve plaster molds which are then machine-duplicated to make molds made of starch powder. The cooked candy mix is transferred into the molds and left for three to five days to set. Beeswax is applied to prevent the candies from being sticky. It also makes the Gummi Bears shiny. Only then will the candies be sent for packaging and shipping.
Gummi Bears are one of the favorite snacks by the young and old alike. It is one of those candies that are consumed rapidly. It is quite easy to make your own version of Gummi Bears with a few ingredients and more flavors that can be as good as the store-bought ones.
Here are the steps to make a batch of one flavor:
You need the following ingredients:
- 1 package of flavored gelatin, sweetened or sugar-free
- 7 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup water
You also need plastic candy molds.
- Mix the flavored and unflavored gelatin thoroughly in a saucepan.
- Slowly pour the water into the saucepan and gently stir. Do not worry if the mixture is a bit lumpy.
- Put the saucepan over low heat.
- Stir the mixture continuously as it cooks. Stir it slowly so as not to introduce air into the mixture and make it frothy. Continue cooking until the gelatin is melted and the mixture turns smooth. Do not let the gelatin boil.
- Remove the gelatin from the fire and pour the mixture into the molds. Let it rest and cool down before popping them in the freezer for a few minutes so the gelatin will be firmer.
- Remove your homemade gummi bears from the mold and serve.
Your homemade gummi bears do not have preservative so keep the leftovers in the refrigerator. You can do several batches in different flavors or experiment using a combination of flavors in one batch. If you work quite fast you can even do layers of different flavors in a batch, provided you do not allow the gelatin to cool in the saucepan. If you do not have candy molds, then you can pour the mixture in a baking tray and let it cool, then use cookie cutters in different shapes to cut your homemade gummi bears.