Turn lemonade into chewy, bouncy, lemony fruit snacks thanks to the magic of gelatin!
Heat lemonade mixture in microwave for 1 minute. Stir mixture. Heat in microwave until mixture bubbles and foams, about 1 more minute.
Use oven mitts to remove bowl from microwave (ask an adult for help—mixture will be VERY hot). Stir mixture until fully combined and smooth.
Place baking sheet with filled molds in refrigerator. Chill until lemonade mixture is firm, about 30 minutes.
Fruit snacks have a unique texture. They’re bouncy—you can gently squeeze them and they’ll pop back into shape—but not sticky. They’re chewy but also soft enough that you can easily bite into them. How do they get this special texture? From a kind of protein called gelatin. You’ve probably experienced the magic of gelatin in Jell-O desserts.
These fruit snacks use more gelatin than Jell-O. That’s what gives them a firmer, chewier texture. Here’s how it works: The powdered gelatin dissolved when you stirred it into the lemonade concentrate and heated the mixture in the microwave. Then, as the gelatin-lemonade mixture cooled in the refrigerator, the gelatin proteins formed a tangled net that trapped tiny drops of the lemonade inside. When the mixture cooled down enough, it turned from a liquid to a solid.
We tried making fruit snacks with bottled lemonade, but they didn’t taste like . . . anything. We needed to find an extra-flavorful liquid for our fruit snacks—juice concentrate to the rescue!
Juice concentrate is fruit juice that has been cooked until a lot of its water has evaporated, leaving behind a thick liquid with an intense, concentrated (get it?) flavor. To make juice to drink, you’d mix the concentrate with water. But using the concentrate without adding any water gives these fruit snacks the perfect puckery punch of lemonade flavor!