Quick and easy

Homemade Gummy Bears with No Added Sugar PLUS 10 Tips for Making Them at Home

Homemade Gummy Bears in 4 whole food flavours: tasty, healthy and set in minutes!  PLUS 10 tips for making jellies at home and a vegan version as well! They are the kind of lollies you won’t mind your kids having.

Homemade Healthy Gummy Bears No Added Sugar-

If you walked into our kitchen the weekend before last, you might have found yourself in the middle of a lolly making frenzy. The countertops were covered in strawberry, mango and raspberry splotches – some set, some smudged and others just sitting pretty.

Excitement was brewing as the mixtures of whole fruit and gelatin warmed on the stove – no sugar in sight! Spoons and whisks exchanged hands at the right moments, gummy shaped moulds were filled with flavourful mixtures and great precision. We had four carefully picked flavours on the go at any one time.

The recipe is featured in my debut cookbook, The Wholesome Cook, alongside180 refined sugar-free recipes all with gluten-free options.

About Gelatin

Did you know that gelatin is a fantastic source of protein, promotes a healthy thyroid function? It is also great for joint-health, collagen production and gut healing.

Gelatin is recommended for people nursing broken bones, wounds and sprains. It is also said to suppress tumor growth and help maintain good liver health (source). I’m surprised it hasn’t re-earnt its stripes as a superfood yet.

In testing the recipe, we use either the Great Lakes grass-fed gelatin powder or Vital Proteins grass-fed beef gelatin powder – more on that in the tips. For a vegan option see notes below.

Homemade Healthy Gummy Bears No Added Sugar-

Add some probiotics

Sneaky me, to healthy things up a bit further, decided to get adventurous and make jellies using almond milk and vanilla powder. We mixed in with Lifespace probiotics for gut health. And, my oh my, were they something else! I give you some pointers in the tips below on how not to over-heat the probiotic powder jellies.

Homemade Healthy Gummy Bears No Added Sugar

10 Tips for making Homemade Gummy Bears

  1. We used both gelatin sheets and powder. The sheets were slightly easier to melt evenly, but they come in various sizes and even strengths so measuring them can get tricky. In the end we stuck with this grass-fed gelatin powder or this grass-fed gelatin powder, being the most natural gelatin source.
  2. We also tried a few different ratios of gelatin to set them and found that 3 tablespoons of gelatin per cup renders the best result. Soft and chewy, but not as temperature sensitive as the 2 tablespoon mixture, nor was it as hard as the 4 tablespoon one. See notes below for a vegan version.
  3. Non-acidic fruit is best for jelly making, otherwise jelly may not set (pineapple and kiwi fruit tend to be most problematic).
  4. For best results puree room-temperature fruit using a stick blender. Allow frozen fruit puree to come to room temperature also. You can strain the seeds away (from berries) if you like, but we quite like the added texture.
  5. Things you can add to the jellies are probiotic, protein or green powders, maca, cacao, mesquite, bee pollen, vitamins, fish oil. If adding probiotics, remember that they are heat-sensitive. Add these to slightly cooled liquid only or divide the liquid in half and heat only half of the content. This will also help preserve heat-sensitive vitamins into the gummy shapes.
  6. Use a silicone mould. We used this Homemade Gummy kit which comes with four moulds: two gummy bear, one gummy snake and one gummy fish. They are fantastic! So easy to peel off and the container they sit in holds ice for faster cooling and setting. You can also just buy the moulds: gummy bear moulds, snakes / worms moulds and lego moulds.
  7. To shorten the setting time, place silicone moulds in the fridge over a tray filled with ice.
  8. Add Natvia for sweetness. About 1 tablespoon per cup should be fine, but bare in mind that some of the sweetness does disappear once the jellies are set.
  9. Vanilla bean powder (I used Honest to Goodness brand) is great for flavouring strawberry or milk jellies. It may seem expensive but the powder is very flavourful so only a little, around 1/4 teaspoon, is needed to add the luxurious vanilla aroma to 1 cupof jelly mix. Not to mention the signature black specs.
  10. Milky layers or whole gummy shapes can be achieved using any type of milk really. My personal preference is for organic cow’s or homemade almond milk. Aussie brand Pure Harvest make a great organic almond milk that contains nothing but filtered water, organic almonds and organic rice syrup. They also have oat and rice milk which are great for this too.

Homemade Healthy Gummy Bears No Added Sugar-

Vegan Gummy Bears

Agar agar powder is the most common substitute for gelatin in vegetarian and vegan jelly-making. To make Vegan Gummy Bears, add 1 1/2 teaspoons agar agar powder to 1 cup liquid. Unlike gelatin, agar mixture should be brought to a boil to set. So, if you are working with heat-sensitive ingredients like probiotics or vitamins, perhaps only boil half the liquid.

One of the advantages of agar, apart from being plant-based, is the fact that it does not melt when stored out of the fridge which might make for better lunchbox treats.

Homemade Healthy Gummy Bears No Added Sugar-

The verdict? 

Homemade Gummy Bears are a quick to make and a healthy substitute for store-bought lollies. They don’t have the same stretch which comes from the sugar in regular jellies, but are fun to make and squishy enough for everyone to enjoy them.

The fruity gummy shapes were deemed the best by the kids. Liana’s favourite was the strawberry mango duo, while I preferred the slightly more sour raspberry. My all time favourite though was the airy vanilla almond milk jelly with the added benefit of dairy-free probiotics. Creamy, dreamy and delectable.

Homemade Healthy Gummy Bears No Added Sugar

Homemade Healthy Gummy Bears No Added Sugar-
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5 from 7 votes

Homemade Gummy Bears with No Added Sugar

Fruit: berries of all sorts and mangoes provide the best results when making puree gummy bears at home. If using frozen fruit, ensure the puree is close to room temperature before mixing with warm gelatin. You can strain the puree to get rid of the seeds or leave them in, we quite like the texture. Liquid: you can use filtered water, coconut water or milk of your choice for the remaining liquid. For Milky version, use cow's milk or any other milk you like - we used Pure Harvest Organic Almond Milk - it really is like homemade. For a vegan version: use 3 tablespoons agar agar powder instead (available from most Asian supermarkets). Things you can add: probiotic powders, protein powders, green powders, maca, etc. Always add to the cool liquid to preserve nutritional value. Moulds: if you don't have fancy-shaped moulds, pour the liquid into a baking tin lined with baking paper. Allow to set then cut into squares with a knife.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Total Time22 mins
Servings: 2 -4

Ingredients

  • For a Fruity Version:
  • 1/2 cup pureed fruit (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry or mango)
  • 1/2 cup liquid (filtered water, coconut water or milk of your choice)
  • 1-2 tablespoons natvia (stevia granules) or honey if you prefer
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin powder I used grass-fed gelatin

For a Milky Version:

  • 1 cup milk of your choice I used Pure Harvest Organic Almond Milk)
  • 3 tablespoons powdered gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon natvia (granulated stevia), honey or sugar if you prefer
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 2 capsules dairy-free probiotics powder such as Inner Health Plus

Things you might like to add:

  • extra probiotic powder protein powder, vanilla powder, green powder, bee pollen, maca, fish oil, etc

Instructions

For the Fruity Gummy Bears:

  • Place pureed fruit into a beaker for easy pouring into the moulds.
  • In a small saucepan whisk liquid with gelatin over low heat, until dissolved. It is not recommended for the mixture to boil.
  • Pour the gelatin liquid into the pureed fruit and whisk to prevent the gelatin from setting in clumps. Add anything else you might like and whisk to incorporate.
  • Pour the mixture into moulds and place in the fridge for 15 or so minutes to set (if you place the moulds on top of an ice-filled tray, jellies will set quicker).
  • Remove from moulds and store in the fridge in an air-tight container for 1-2 weeks.

For the Milky Gummy Bears:

  • Heat 1/2 cup milk and gelatin in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Whisk in remaining milk, natvia, vanilla powder and probiotic mixture.
  • Pour into moulds and place in the fridge to set for 15 minutes or so.
  • Remove from moulds and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholesomecook or tag #wholesomecook

This article contains some affiliate links. 

73 comments

Lizzy March 31, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Wow! Wow! Wow! Amazing! Love the almond milk and probiotic idea.

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Serafina March 31, 2014 at 11:32 pm

I’ve bookmarked these the moment I saw them. Fantastic simple recipe and tips. Thank you so much. :-))))

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Tiffany Balto April 1, 2014 at 9:28 am

Gorgeous! You are an inspiration to all mums out there who want to genuinely make their kids healthier and happier through real nutritious food! These bears look so cute! I think the vanilla ones will be my favourites too.

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Sheryl April 1, 2014 at 9:52 am

I’m adding this to the weekend projects to do with kids! I have some bunny moulds so might even make these on easter weekend and cover thtem in chocolate! Now that’s an idea. Thanks for sharing :-)

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Jo April 1, 2014 at 9:59 am

YUMMM Cant wait to try them :)

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JJ - 84thand3rd April 1, 2014 at 10:43 am

What great little treats! Love the moulds too :)

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Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas April 1, 2014 at 11:15 am

I have been intrigued by homemade gummies for a while now so thanks for the post. It is just what I needed to spur me on. Love the gummy bear mould. I may need to go shopping :)

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Mum to 4 April 1, 2014 at 11:27 am

Seriously??? Are you sure this is not an April Fool’s joke? If it’s not I am very glad! Weekend project here too. Kids will love this and I will be glad for them to have a lolly treat. You are an inspiration.

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook April 1, 2014 at 11:31 am

Hi Mum to 4, I can confirm, this is not an April Fool’s joke! We love these jellies and I hope your family will too! Enjoy!

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Bella April 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm

YES! Bookmarking for the school holiday project when I will be sitting my nieces. They love lollies but are hardly ever allowed them. Thank you so much for your experiments. They looked like fun though…

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Gaby April 1, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Hey Martyna, great job! I bet the family didn’t mind having to test all the batches :)
Gelatin is becoming more and more popular in the ancestral health circles, but there’s one thing to take into account and that is the origin of the gelatin. I don’t know what kind of animals are used to produce Australian gelatin so I prefer to buy an American brand (Great Lakes), which is made from grass-fed cows. The other thing to note is that agar-agar of course has none of the benefits than animal collagen has.

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook April 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Hey Gaby, thanks for your insightful comment! I recall eating loads of gelatinous food as kid back in Poland. Gosh, fish in stock jelly is still one of my favourite foods (and in the archives somewhere). When I broke my arm Mum fed me a lot of gelatinous meat to promote healing – it was a back to basics, old wives takes approach and it’s great to see it come back to light.

I actually have been using the Great Lakes grass-fed gelatin too (I mention it in the post). There are a couple of other brands around too. I guess for non-meat eaters there’s not really much choice but to go with agar.

And yes, Liana who has the lolly-tooth loved batch testing the gummies! She’s always asking if we can make more on the weekend. :-)

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Mel A April 1, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Oh my gosh, they are so cute! Love the moulds! But I think Lego figurines will be just as adorable. ;-)

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Bam's Kitchen April 1, 2014 at 8:58 pm

You are having so much fun with the kids and making these lollies for them. Where did you buy your moulds? Great flavor ideas but I guess there are so many options out there but avoid pineapple and kiwi, got it! Fun post and pinning it!

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook April 1, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Hi BAM, I got my moulds from eBay but they seem more popular on Amazon. I know your kids are a little older, but I still think it’s loads of fun to make these, even with them!

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milkteaxx April 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm

this is amazing! im so going to try hunt one of these down locally!

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Erica van der Walt April 2, 2014 at 6:54 pm

What a great idea! I have never thought of making these at home. I don’t have any kids yet to try them out on but luckily my husband loves lollies so I will definitely have to try them out and experiment with a few flavours. Yum!

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Danielle Hughes April 5, 2014 at 1:53 am

Jellies are great but I had no idea you could make them at home! How great is that! Kids’ll love them, but so will I.

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[email protected] April 7, 2014 at 12:24 pm

These babies are spectacular! What a great healthy treat – you definitely are the queen of healthy treats!

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Simon Staub April 8, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Hi My wife and I are writing a FREE ebook on living with G6PDD a Chromosome condition our children have. This condition effects over 20 million people world wide, but there is very little information available to people about this condition, especially parents who have to provide a restricted diet for their children. Our children have to have a diet that has no legumes ie no soy in any form. No food coloring, preservatives, or the many additives in most processed foods, so we make ALL our own foods from scratch.
Our ebook is to inform people about the things that people with G6PDD have to avoid as well as the things they can enjoy.
We would like your permission to include your recipe for “Gummy Bears” in our book/s. It is so hard to find “treats” for children with G6PDD (and Adults) all commercial confectionery is on the list of foods they Must avoid.
We will of cause acknowledge you as the originator of the recipe and provide a link to your site in our book
Thank You

regards Divine and Simon staub

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook April 8, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Hi Simon and Divine,
Thank you for your note. Of course I would be happy for you to include the recipe (and image) in the eBook as long as you acknowledge the source (wholesome-cook.com). I hope that your book is a success and that it helps families and people with the condition to live happier, healthier lives!

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Lionel May 15, 2014 at 1:51 am

Going to make these with the younger siblings! Thanks for the great idea!

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Paul June 16, 2014 at 11:58 pm

These look great. Such ingenuity!

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Karen June 22, 2014 at 9:54 am

Love this recipe! How many gummies does this make/how many cups etc?

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook June 23, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Hi Karen, each flavour makes up about 1 cup – so about 10-15 lollies depending on the size and shape of your moulds. :-)

Reply
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marlene August 28, 2014 at 3:56 am

hello. i have made them today, and mine were very soft and had a nasty consistenty. do you know what i did wrong? can it have something to do with that i used gelatine sheets instead of the powder?

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Pat March 5, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Please note that agar agar can be a choking hazard for children.

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook March 5, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Thanks for the tip pat! Having said that the consistency of these gelatine jellies, though softer, could also fall in the same category.

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Vicki Montague - The Free From Fairy March 20, 2015 at 10:42 pm

Brilliant!! Thank you so much for this recipe. My grass fed gelatin has just arrived and I have just started the SCD diet so am looking forward to some of these to speed up my gut healing!

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Jo April 4, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Hi there. Looking forward to making these with my grandson. Does the gelatin taste stay in the lollies? Because sometimes when I have used it in a cheesecake you can taste it and it’s not pleasant.

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook April 4, 2015 at 4:57 pm

Hi Jo, it shouldn’t – it depends a little on the brand you use as some can have a strong flavour, but the fruit is pretty good at masking it either way. I try to use grass-fed gelatin and find it fantastic for these.

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sofia April 7, 2015 at 12:15 am

Hi! Thanks for sharing! This is brilliant! I tried doing this with my son and we used agar agar. I’m not a big fan because I’ve never had good results. The tummies basically fell apart as I was removing them from the moulds. And then they started to melt on the plate. My son was a bit grossed out :-)
What did I do wrong? I used the agar agar flakes.
Thanks!

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook April 7, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Hi Sofia, sorry to hear that. When using agar agar flakes you have to double the amount used (when a recipe calls for powder). You may also need to bring the agar to a boil – it should set then. Hopefully they’ll work next time.

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sofia April 7, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Thanks Martyna! Will give it another try!! :-)

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Juliana En May 7, 2015 at 4:02 pm

I absolutely love the idea of homemade gummy snacks!! I use to love eating gummy bears until I realized that gelatin was made out of animal products. I just wanted to clarify with you that if I use Agar agar powder, I should add 1 cup of water instead of 1/2 cup like the ingredients list states? Thanks!

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Mike Harper May 15, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Kids will love this. Having them take healthy stuff in the form of a pill can be quite challenging. This is quite an amazing idea.

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ursulinatm May 28, 2015 at 12:42 pm

I was looking for an alternative to industrial lollies.
Thank you for sharing this!

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Alyssa June 3, 2015 at 12:48 am

I tried this a few times and every time it comes out runny. I am using unflavored artificial jel. http://abchealthfoods.com/index.php/unflavored-kosher-jel.html this one. any idea of what to do??
i’ve tried using double the amount of gelatin powder. didnt work. please advise!

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Elizabeth July 15, 2015 at 12:25 am

Thank you for the great post! I didn’t use your gelatin :(, but you gave me the idea to create my own! Yours turned out much better, so I will just have to keep experimenting!!

Elizabeth

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Karoline August 30, 2015 at 2:05 am

Hi there. I love the idea of these, but when I tried to make them they tasted quite bad. Very little fruit taste, and the agar powder gave a weird chemical after flavour. The consistency was very grainy though I strained the fruit purée to get out all the seeds. I sweetened with 1 tbs xylitol, 1 tbls honey.
What went wrong?!

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook September 1, 2015 at 8:29 am

Hmmm… I’m not sure. It might be the agar powder you used? What brand was it? And some fruit have stronger flvour than others.

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lucy September 18, 2015 at 6:12 am

Hello,

I am using a fruit pectin, do I also need to add Vitamin C powder or is this over kill?

is there another way to harden gummies if not wanting to use agar or gelatine (already using pectin?)

Thank you

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook September 22, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Hi Lucy, you could try to reduce the amount of water used or invest in a dehydrator. Alternatively, you could try dehydrating the gummies in a low (30-50C) oven.

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Veda November 1, 2015 at 6:23 pm

As soon as I added gelatine to coconut water it started to thicken up straight away and didn’t even get warm. I was a bit concerned as your directions were to add liquid to the moulds and mine was solidifying rapidly. I used raspberries and Great Lakes. They pretty much disintergrated once put in the mouth. Not gummy at all. Any idea why?

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Keren November 19, 2015 at 5:37 am

So I tried the recipe using agar powder instead of gelatin and just an FYI the amounts are not interchangeable… Agar has much stronger gelling properties than gelatin. which means you’d need to use much less to achieve same outcome which I learned the hard way…. I love the idea of a veagn gummy option though. I just have to play with amounts

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Alex November 29, 2015 at 7:52 am

What strength is your gelatin powder?? Where we live we have either Bloom 180 proof or 280 proof? Looking forward to making these

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Keren December 9, 2015 at 11:15 pm

I didn’t use gelatin. I used agar powder which is a lot stronger than gelatin. And you have to use a lot less then when using gelatin. Which I found out the hard way. If you use the same measurements as you would with gelatin of the product will be rock hard.

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patricia January 20, 2016 at 12:57 am

i was wondering what molds you use and how you get stuff in an out of it w/o it ripping?

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Roanna Pilgrim January 24, 2016 at 5:57 pm

Hi,

Our mango jellies turned out perfectly, but all three kids turned their noses up, even my middle child who LOVES mangoes. (Insert frustrated sigh!) I used a tablespoon of honey but suspect I will need to make them a bit sweeter if my lot are going to eat them. Any suggestions on what would be the best option for sweetening them differently?? Would rapadura work perhaps?

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook January 24, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Hi Roanna, oh! You could make them using a rapadura syrup (rapadura dissolved in a little water). Otherwise we’ve found that the strawberry ones taste sweeter. Hope that helps. A few stevia drops might also make it a touch sweeter.

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Claudine February 10, 2016 at 1:56 pm

I am such a big fan of healthy treats, and ones that are stable enough for lunchboxes!. I am being very unsuccessful though…2 batches of gummies using Agar Agar powder and both very stiff and horrible tasting….to be honest I had 1/2 cup of water in my pot and only sprinkled in the first Tablespoon of Agar to dissolve and it got all like wallpaper paste from just that small amount!!. Can someone help me with the correct ratio of liquid to Agar?. 3 TBL per 1 cup is too much I have found. Really want these to work!

Reply
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Holly moore March 17, 2016 at 5:50 am

Hi martyna
We just tried your recipe out but with agar agar and the results whilst delish are more typical jelly like than gummy bear. Do you use the same amounts of agar agar as gelatine?
Best
Holly and sapphire

Reply
Louise April 2, 2016 at 3:19 am

Hello!! I love your ideas but is there any way of doing this without refrigerating them? I like to keep sweet treats in my bag for when we’re all hungry for a sweet snack!

Reply
Danielle April 2, 2016 at 3:21 am

Hi,

Is there any way of doing this without having to refrigerate as we like to keep the sweet treats in my bag for when we are peckish for a snack :)

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christina August 6, 2016 at 6:08 am

thank you so much! I’m a kid, but I do all my cooking on my own. I’m also vegetarian, so thank for giving out the agar version. I haven’t tried these yet, but I’m sure they’re delish.

Reply
Tanya December 18, 2016 at 5:47 pm

I really want to try these but in your write up it states 1 1/2 tsp Agar Agar to 1 cup liquid. Yet in the recipe you state 3 tlbspn Agar Agar to the liquid.
which I right?

Thank you

Reply
Pip January 25, 2017 at 7:48 am

I tried some but they end up like ice cubes not gummy. Any ideas why?

I used agar powder (3 tablespoons), raspberry and water. (I’m sure it’s me by the way – not the recipe!).

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Pip January 25, 2017 at 7:48 am

I tried some but they end up like ice cubes not gummy. Any ideas why?

I used agar powder (3 tablespoons), raspberry puree and water. (I’m sure it’s me by the way – not the recipe!).

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Fernando April 6, 2017 at 7:51 pm

If you want to use Kiwi fruit then you must boil them first. A tip I learnt from anime.

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Martyna @ Wholesome Cook April 10, 2017 at 12:53 am

Wow! Thanks!

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Zana February 15, 2018 at 11:35 am

Thank you for posting the VEGAN version of this recipe!!! I don’t think many people realize the cruelty that comes to animals to obtain gelatin and while agar may not have health benefits, most of the things vegans eat do! There are so many options to add in vegan vitamins and probiotics as well! Cows milk has been proven in recent years to cause more health issues than we realize (and none of the benefits the industry claims). MUCH research has been done on this topic! All the health benefits mentioned above can be found in vegan foods, fortunately with none of the negative effects on humans or the animals they are derived from. Thanks again so much for posting this and I look forward to trying the recipe!

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Victoria April 22, 2018 at 7:32 am

These look so delicious and there are so many good things that you can add into them. However, I just wanted to let you know that adding the probiotic capsules is a bit pointless as probiotics are live bacteria and are activated by both heat and moisture so by adding them into this recipe the live bacteria would have died off by the time you eat them and therefore not do anything to help. This is only the case with live bacteria, so there are many other things you could put in there such as vitamins and minerals that would be very beneficial. Looks like a great recipe that I’ll have to try with my nephew though.

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