Don't leave this in your pocket for 28 years!

Candies like Starburst are made mainly from corn syrup, which doesn't crystalize. It's also hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water from the atmosphere. Because the sugars in the corn syrup aren't locked together in a crystalline structure, they dissolve easily when water is added. The water starts dissolving the corn syrup and creates a sticky syrup, which leaks out of the wrapper.

So if you're going to leave something in a jacket for 28 years--such as the pocket of your high school letterman jacket--make sure it's made from solid sugar. Mint Lifesavers have a stable crystalline structure and will last!

Dissolving edible candy grass

The Sea Turtle Conservancy reminds us that plastic Easter basket grass (left) lasts forever in the environment, often ending up in bird's nests and our waterways. BUt edible easter grass breaks down into starchy soupy water right away. No sea turtle danger here!

Snowman Candy Experiments

Candy decorations in a snowman not only brighten it up--they create a candy laboratory!

When candy touches the snow, the sugar starts to dissolve and mix with the melting snow. Since sugar water has a lower freezing point than pure water, it stays liquid, spreading colored streaks through the snow and melting whatever it touches.

The sugar water even melts the snow beneath the candy, causing it to tunnel downward.


The colored candy solution also spreads outward. Just as water soaks up paper towels, the candy water spreads up the spaces between the close-connected snow crystals, giving this snowman an orange halo around the eyes. Capillary action at work!

Frost feathers and candy frost

When our snow melted slightly in the sunlight, then refroze overnight, it made beautiful ice feathers. Apparently these hoarfrost* ice crystals are made from single tiny columns of ice, but since some of them grow at angles to the others, they create a feathered shape.

Here’s a way to make candy "frost" crystals in your kitchen from CANDY EXPERIMENTS BOOK 2:
Mix 1 tbps water with 3 tbsp xylitol, heating and stirring until the xylitol dissolves completely. Pour half the solution into a second bowl and put both bowls aside for several hours. The thin film of xylitol should crystallize into feathery patterns.

I also found a fun experiment for growing your own hoarfrost crystals at

*Hoarfrost (a new vocab word for me!): A deposit of interlocking ice crystals (hoar crystals) formed by direct deposition on objects