In my daughter’s kindergarten class, they’ve been doing a “dance break” to this pretty obnoxious “I’m a Gummy Bear” song. Of course she knows all the words, sings it for me regularly and has gummy bears on the brain. With her recent gummy bear obsession along with the upcoming onslaught of Halloween candy everywhere, I decided to see if I could make my own gummy candy for the kids. But, I needed a version that didn’t include the artificial food dyes, artificial flavorings and high fructose corn syrup of today’s typical gummy candy and wanted to include some health promoting ingredients like grass-fed gelatin.
I found a few different recipes in some old cookbooks but most were for more of a jello type gummy. After playing with the recipe & amount of gelatin used, I found a winner. The recipe uses just 4 ingredients and is even autoimmune protocol, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and paleo friendly! Bonus that it includes gelatin which is great for gut-health and healing leaky gut.
100% Fruit Juice – this can be any juice of your choice but make sure it’s not a juice from concentrate that is loaded with sugar. Look for a brand with ingredients that include the juice you think you are buying and maybe a small amount of water. We used blueberry juice but I think cranberry or cherry would be really good. My next plan is to make these with elderberry syrup and maybe an apple cider vinegar version for immune support during flu season. Or maybe I’ll just try it with champagne…
Lemon juice – I used just a few tablespoons of this to give the gummies just a bit of a tangy kick. You could probably leave it out if you don’t have any lemons on hand.
Honey – we buy the highest quality raw honey that is usually the most reasonably priced at our local Natural Grocers but I also love buying from the local beekeepers guild when I can (check your local farmer’s market). Gotta support those that are trying to protect our honeybees! Plus it just tastes a million times better than cheap imported honey blends.
Gelatin – do not use that cheap boxed gelatin you can get at any grocery store, use the good stuff for true gut healing benefits. Look for a gelatin made from grass-fed cows, not cows whose hooves have stood in feedlot funk. We use Great Lakes Gelatin in the orange can that is easy to find on Amazon (same day shipping too!). Don’t substitute collagen, it won’t work.
I also scored these adorable tiny Gummy Bear Silicone Molds on Amazon for pretty cheap and they made all the difference in terms of kid excitement level. I’ve since had to agree to look for silicone trays in the shapes of snakes, unicorn, the Wild Kratt Brothers and Rapunzel (you can guess their current little kid fascinations). I haven’t managed to find any of the requested versions but did find these cute pumpkins for Halloween, Star Wars for your Star Wars fans, the always popular gummy worm and some fun fruit shaped molds.
The best part about using the little silicone molds is that it made this a project the kids were able to participate in. My son loved filling up all of the little bears using the included pipette and bonus was that it made him work on his pincer strength (he has handwriting challenges) and he didn’t realize it. My daughter was in charge of popping them out of the mold after they set, and sneaking a bunch of them in the process.
Natural, Gut-Healing, Gummy Bears
- ½ cup 100% blueberry juice (or base juice of your choice)
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
- ¼ cup of honey
- 4 TBSP grass fed gelatin
Combine the blueberry juice and lemon juice in a small or medium stainless steel pot and begin to heat on the stove on a medium-high heat.
After a minute, add in the honey and stir well to combine.
Allow the juice and honey mixture to heat until just it brings to steam but do not let it boil. If it boils, remove from heat and allow it to cool for a minute before continuing.
Stir in the gelatin one tablespoon at a time. Make sure each tablespoon is well combined. You may have to break up some gelatin clumps as you go.
Once the gelatin is dissolved, use a pipette to transfer the liquid into silicone molds of your choice. If you don’t have a mold, you can pour the liquid into any glass baking dish.
Place the molds or baking dish into the refrigerator to set. It only took about 10 minutes for our tiny bears to set. If you use a baking dish it will take a bit longer.
Pop the gummies out of their mold or if you used a baking dish, slice into small squares.
Enjoy! Then make more because you got carried away, ate a few too many and didn’t leave enough for your kids.