Hi friends! Today, I’ve got a treat for you today (pun intended.) I’m sharing a recipe for my all natural, low sugar gummy bears. If you’re new around here, my husband is a Type 1 diabetic so our family tries to avoid high carb/sugar foods as a way to help support and manage his blood sugar. This is a great base recipe, but you can even add whole food Vitamin C powder and Elderberry Syrup for your own immune-boosting gummy vitamins. Keep reading to whip up a batch of your own.
I won’t sugarcoat it (last pun, sorry), even though I am calling these gummy bears, they won’t have the same consistency or chew as the ones you’d find in the candy aisle because they don’t contain any fillers, stabilizers, starches or waxes. They’re less firm than a traditional gummy bear, but more firm than a jell-o jiggler. This is also why I keep them stored in the refrigerator and not at room temperature. They don’t last very long in the fridge because our girls devour them. (If you decide to make gummy vitamins, PLEASE read the supplement label, make sure they are out of children’s reach and only given as you would any other supplement or vitamin.)
So let’s compare traditional gummy bears with the ones we’ll be making today. Here’s the ingredient list & nutrition facts for a very popular brand:
There are 23g carbs and 14g sugar per 13 gummy bears and they’re made from corn syrup (from wheat or corn), gelatin, dextrose (sugar), citric acid, starch, artificial and natural flavors, fractionated coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, carnauba wax, beeswax coating, artificial colors: yellow #5, red #40, blue #1.
With this homemade recipe, there are only 3g carbs and 1g sugar per 25-30 gummy bears, depending on the size of your gummy mold, and they’re made from water, grass-fed gelatin & true citrus drink packets (crystallized lemon, cane sugar, stevia, natural flavor and natural coloring).
The reason I no longer buy sugar-free gummy bears at the stores is because, even though theyre sugar-free, they use some of the worst sugar alcohols (maltitol) which can cause gastrointestinal distress and have a big impact on blood sugars, unlike other sugar alcohols like Erythritol and Allulose, which are much more blood-sugar and gastrointestinal friendly. So just keep in mind that not all sugar alcohols are created equal.
Before we get to the recipe, I want to elaborate a bit more on two of the key ingredients used to make our gummies: Gelatin & True Citrus drink packets.
Gelatin is an animal product made by cooking down the protein collagen found in the connective tissues and bones of animals. Like collagen, gelatin is packed with essential amino acids. The same beneficial properties that apply to collagen also apply to gelatin – glowing skin, strengthened hair and longer nails, but more than the cosmetic aspects, it has incredible gut healing properties and we’re learning more and more just how much gut health matters.
TRUE CITRUS DRINK PACKETS:
Other than the gelatin, the True Citrus flavored drink packets make these gummies possible. They make a variety of products, but the sweetened hydration drink packets are a staple in our home and what our girls call their “juice”. We don’t keep high carb or sugary foods in the house, other than to treat a low blood sugar, if needed. You may be surprised to know there are approximately 26g carbs in 8 ounces of unsweetened apple juice. Even though I’m calling it one ingredient – the drink mix combines the sweetener, flavoring and coloring all in one packet.
THE SWEETENER: There are two natural sweeteners in the True Citrus drink products, cane sugar and stevia. Even though cane sugar is the first ingredient listed, there is only 1g of sugar in each packet with the remaining sweetener sourced from stevia leaf extract, which is 300 times sweeter than cane sugar, thus only a very small amount is needed.
THE FLAVOR: The entire True Citrus line of products utilizes crystallized citrus fruits for flavor – whether it’s lemon, lime or orange. They also include other natural flavors, which is a term for various plant or animal derived sources.
THE COLOR: With True Citrus products, you don’t have to worry about Yellow #5, Red #40 or other artificial food dyes which have been linked to a number of health concerns. The coloring comes from sources like: turmeric, beet juice, spirulina, grapefruit & beta-carotene (found in carrots).
4 Tbsp. Gelatin
(We use the Great Lakes grass fed & pasture raised gelatin, but you can find smaller Knox packets in most grocers)
1 Cup Filtered Water
2 True Citrus Individual Drink Packets (Not Pitcher Packets)
You can find individual boxes in most grocery stores. To achieve a desired color, look at the drink photo on the box. I found that the limeaid was more of a neon yellow/green & to make orange, I just mixed limeaid and watermelon fresca to make a peachy orange color. Have fun experimenting.
1 Tbsp. Sweetener of Choice, Optional
2 Tbsp. Pureed Low Sugar Fruit, Optional
Vitamin C Powder, Optional
You will need a silicone mold to make the gummy bears. I like this one the best because you can make a lot at once and it’s only $9. If you want to make shapes other than bears, I have this one, too. It has bunnies, legos, dinosaurs, robots, ducks, bunnies and more.
1. With the heat off, add 1 cup of water and 4 Tbsp. gelatin powder into a small saucepan and stir well.
2. Turn the stove on medium heat and continue to stir until all of the gelatin clumps are dissolved, about 2 minutes. Now add 2 packets of your desired True Citrus flavor, turn the heat off and continue stirring until there are no clumps. Be careful because it’s hot, but you can sample the liquid mixture to see if you like the flavor – this is what it will taste like when the gelatin sets up. If you want to sweeten it up at this point, do so while it’s still liquid. See below for options. I find that some flavors are more tart than others so I’ll add a bit of my preferred sweetener.
I find that some flavors are more tart than others so occasionally I’ll add a bit of my preferred sweetener (usually Swerve). You could also puree a small amount of fruit (think 1-2 berries or 1-2 chunks of watermelon) and add to the saucepan – making sure there are no clumps and everything is super smooth. One last option is adding a pinch of Vitamin C powder for gummy vitamins.
4. Place your molds on top of a lipped plate. This makes it much easier to transport the molds in and out of the fridge without any spills or drips. Use the provided dropper or a container with a spout and pour the mixture into the molds.
5. Transfer to the refrigerator (do not freeze) and allow to cool for approximately 20 minutes. Do a test and if they don’t come out easily, allow to set up for another 10 minutes or so.
6. Pop all of your gummy bears out and store in a glass jar in the fridge if they’ll last that long! Enjoy!