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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Craft Day: Rock Candy

In 7th and 8th grade I made rock candy as part of my science presentation. It was easy and impressive. So I thought I’d do it with my kids, so Daddy wouldn’t look like the only scientist in the family.

I looked online, and the recipe I found is pretty close to simple syrup, which I use to make a fabulous lemon drop (handy, since I usually need at the end of our home craft projects).

The recipe calls for one cup of water and two cups of sugar (or you can play with the amounts, as long as it’s a 2:1 ratio). Don’t do what I did and reverse the ratios, also pouring in the sugar without realizing that you don’t have enough. That’s just a waste of water, sugar and time.

So we did it again. Or rather I did it again when the kids were at school (I had to save face, you know). But in honesty, I made all the mistake so you wouldn’t have to. Nice of me, huh?

How to make rock candy:
Boil the water and dissolve the sugar in it. Let it cool a little and color it with food coloring, if you want, after you’ve poured it into glass jars. Wrap a piece of string around a pencil, and weight the end of the string down with something like a screw (wash it first). The recipe I saw called for dipping the string into the solution and letting it dry for a day or two, to help “seed” the string so crystals will grow faster.

Do not let the screw touch the bottom, or you will have to ram a knife down there to break it apart, like I did. Perhaps you can start with a taller jar. But it should be wide enough to get the crystals out.

The recipe said the rock candy would be done in seven days. So we waited and waited. And waited.

A month later we finally have something looking like a very short string of rock candy. And lots of crystals growing at the bottom and top of the jar. We’ll let it sit in there a bit longer before drying it out on wax paper, and eating it.

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