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Homemade immune-boosting healthy gummy bears!
Were you a fan of gummy bears growing up? I sure was.
However, it's been a long long time since I've enjoyed a bag of store-bought gummies.
The reason? The ingredients. They're not so great. Let's take a quick look.
Some things you can find in the leading brand of gummy bears:
- corn syrup (aka sugar)
- and then more sugar
- and also, dextrose (even moreeee sugar)
- artificial flavors
- natural flavors (which by the way, are not natural)
- artificial colors like yellow 5, red 40, and blue 1 -
For a second there I forgot I was reading a FOOD label. Sounds more like something straight out of my chemistry book.
We can all agree store bought gummies are basically a mixture of sugar for flavor, artificial colors and gelatin to hold it all together.
Where's the real food???
That is why I make my own. With real ingredients.
If you have kiddos that love gummy bears I highly encourage you (urge you) to please put down that toxic store bought stuff and make some of your own. Get the kids involved - they'll love the entire process of seeing the gummy bears come to life. And it is so much better for them than the sugar-laden stuff in the stores, which shouldn't even be called food.
What do you need to make homemade healthy gummy bears:
My homemade version is made with real and simple ingredients. I included a very specific immune boosting recipe below, but you don't have to follow that version at all. You can make your own gummies which ever way you want! Feel free to experiment with flavors by using different types of juices!
The basic template for homemade gummy bears goes like this:
- You need one cup of juice - any juice preferably one that is not from concentrate and made with REAL fruit and isn't loaded with added sugars. I like to use apple juice, orange juice, carrot/ginger juice, and for this immune-boosting recipe I use this organic immune refresher juice from Whole Foods that has carrots, beets, cherry, elderberry, and echinacea. It's a powerhouse!
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of gelatin powder (I use Vital Protein Beef Gelatin and highly recommend because their products are very high quality and you can get them on Amazon) OR for a VEGAN version you can use 1 tablespoon agar agar powder which is a great substitute for gelatin. >> This is the agar agar powder that I use.
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of maple syrup or agave for sweetness.
That's it! Now, if you want to take it up a notch you can add certain "immune boosting" supplements to the mix. Read below.
For extra immune boosting power I like to add the following:
- A full dropper of echinacea liquid supplement - I use the brand Herb Pharm - It's organic and alcohol free! >>click here to see the one I use
- A full dropper of elderberry syrup liquid supplement - I had to search high and low for a good quality organic elderberry syrup that was ALSO sugar free. A lot of the syrups have sugar added and that to me negates all of the positive effects of the syrup. This brand, MaxImmunity, is organic and sugar free! >>click here to see the one I use
- 1 gram of vitamin C powder - >>click here to see the one I use
Like I said, these extras are totally optional and you can leave them out and still have delicious gummy bears!
*Remember when using supplements in your diet, always speak to YOUR healthcare provider first and foremost to make sure that there aren't any contraindications. Sometimes certain health conditions or medications can interact with supplements so it is best to speak to your doctor/primary care provider first before making any changes!
You'll also need some type of silicone mold. Amazon has a whole bunch of options to choose from.
How to make homemade healthy gummy bears recipe:
Making these healthy gummy bears at home is so easy - even your kids can help!
Step 1: You're going to start off by adding the cup of juice, your sweetener of choice, and any extra supplements if using, to a saucepan. Heat this mix over medium heat until you achieve a gentle simmer.
Step 2: Add the gelatin or agar agar powder WHILE continuously whisking the mixture. If you don't whisk, the powder will clump up together and it will become very difficult to dissolve.
Step 3: Once it is well dissolved, remove from heat and using a dropper (which usually comes with the molds), pour mixture into molds. Pro tip: place molds on top of a baking dish or something similar so that it is easier to transfer the molds into the fridge. The molds will be a bit floppy and the liquid mix will spill everywhere if you do not place it over something sturdy like a baking sheet or wooden board.
Step 4: Refrigerate until firm. You can eat gummies as is, or top with some lemon juice powder for sour gummies. Read more on that below.
how to make sour gummy bears:
I am all about that sweet and sour flavor - and therefore naturally I loveeee sour gummy bears. Luckily, this is super easy to do.
All you need is lemon juice powder, which you can order online on Amazon by clicking here. Once your gummies have set in the fridge, throw them in a bowl and dust them with some lemon juice powder and enjoy your sweet and sour gummies!
how much gelatin to use to make homemade gummy bears:
You'll notice in the recipe I give two options - 2 tablespoons vs 3 tablespoons. I tested the recipe out with both measurements and I found there is quite a notable difference.
If using 2 tablespoons of gelatin:
The gummies will be softer and more "jello-like", but still firm enough to stand on their own. They will also take a little longer to set because of the lesser amount of gelatin. I personally like my gummies on the softer side, so i enjoyed this version.
If using 3 tablespoons of gelatin:
These gummy bears will be a lot firmer and will be ready to eat within a few minutes (15 to 20 minutes). Some people like gummies that are more firm, if this is you.. then use 3 tbs of gelatin.
how to store these homemade gummy bears:
I like to keep these gummies stored in the fridge. I actually haven't tried storing them in room temperature so I cannot say whether they would stay fresh or not. I think it is best to keep them refrigerated. I have noticed that once they are out in room temperature for a while they get a bit soft and soggy.
How To Make Immune Boosting Homemade Gummy Bears (Elderberry + Echinacea)
How to make homemade immune-boosting gummy bears made with gelatin (or agar agar for vegan version). Optional echinacea, elderberry, and vitamin C supplementation for extra immune power.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
Basic Recipe Template:
- 1 cup juice (any juice of your choice – apple, orange, carrot, the options are endless)
- 2 – 3 tablespoons sweetener (I like using maple syrup or agave)
- 3 tablespoons gelatin powder OR 1 tablespoon agar agar for vegan version
For immune boosting gummies with elderberry + echinacea:
- 1 cup of Immune Refresher Juice from Whole Foods or similar elderberry/echinacea juice
- 2 full droppers of echinacea supplement – CLICK TO SEE WHAT I USE
- 2 full droppers of elderberry syrup – CLICK TO SEE WHAT I USE
- 2 scoops vitamin C powder – CLICK TO SEE WHAT I USE
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 to 3 tablespoons gelatin – I use Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin (read notes for difference between 2 and 3 tablespoons) OR 1 tablespoon agar agar powder for VEGAN version.
** If you want to make your gummies sour (think sour patch kids) – you can use lemon juice powder to coat the outside of the gummies. We love doing this!
- In a small saucepan, add all ingredients except the gelatin or agar agar and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat (usually takes 3 to 5 minutes). Turn off the heat and add gelatin or agar agar while stirring continuously until completely dissolved. If you do not stir, the gelatin/agar agar will clump up together.
- Using a dropper (the molds usually bring one), drop the mixture into the molds. These are the molds I use from Amazon.
- Place in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes or until gummies are set.
- Optional – if you want to make the gummies sour – use lemon juice powder to coat the outside of the gummies once they are set. Enjoy!
- I tested this recipe with 2 tablespoons of gelatin vs 3 tablespoons of gelatin. The gummies with 2 tablespoons were softer and more “jello” like, but still firm and chewy. They also took longer to set in the fridge. The gummies made with 3 tablespoons of gelatin were a lot harder and firmer and were ready much quicker.
- In order to make these vegan make sure to use agar agar instead of gelatin. All you need is 1 tablespoon of agar agar.
- If using echinacea or elderberry – always make sure to ask your healthcare provider FIRST before starting any supplement to make sure there isn’t any contraindication with YOUR personal care.