This is definitely a project for all ages. You don't need to be a parent to enjoy this one. Chemistry and candy all in one, a perfect rainy day project that will satisfy your sweet tooth a week later.
I'm sure everyone has eaten or at least seen rock candy. I recently discovered that it is very fun to make. I won't say it's foolproof because it's definitely finicky. But lucky for you I've put together a step by step tutorial here so you can try it out for yourself.
What you'll need:
- 1 cup Water
- 3 cups Sugar
- Clean Jars or Glasses
- Rough string or skewer sticks
- Food colouring (optional)
- Flavouring (optional)
- Assemble your string or stick suspension: Fasten your stick or string to a pencil, forming a T. Test the height by placing it in your glass or jar. Ensure that the string or stick does not touch the sides or bottom of the jar. I used a small hair elastic to fasten the skewer stick to a pencil.
- Heat the water in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir constantly until it has dissolved into a syrup. It is important to dissolve all of the sugar otherwise crystals will form on the undissolved sugar instead of on your string or stick.
- Pour the syrup into your glass or jar. I used three jars for this quantity of syrup, which produced short rock candy clusters on sticks. If you want a longer rock candy cluster than pour the syrup in only one or two jars. The crystals will form as high up on the stick or string as the surface of the syrup.
- Add food colouring and flavouring, if desired. The combinations I used were: Green food colouring with Peppermint extract; Red food colouring with Almond extract; and Blue food colouring with no flavouring.
- Place your string or stick "T" into the glass or jar. If the pencil tilts due to the weight of the stick you can use small pieces of masking tape to secure it in place. Set the jars in an area where they will be undisturbed for 7 days.
- Cover the jars with paper towel to protect the syrup from dust particles.
- Watch the crystals magically grow!
- After 7 days the crystals are fully grown and you have rock candy. Crystals will likely have formed on the surface of the syrup and bottom or sides of the jar. To remove the rock candy break away the surface crystals and lift out your stick or string. If crystals have built up too much on the bottom of your jar so that the stick or string is stuck simply place the jar in a very shallow hot water bath , this will help dissolve the crystals on the bottom of the jar loosening them from your rock candy stick.
- Allow the rock candy to dry. Along with your stick or string of candy, you can save the clusters that have formed on the sides or bottom of your jar. They may look something like these.