Making Chewing Gum at Home
I’ve been enjoying making candies lately. But one thing I discovered this year is how to make chewing gum at home.
It’s very easy to make and can be made in two different ways. Well, I’m not sure at this point if there are more ways to do it, but so far these are all I’ve got and I’ve done both without fail.
With so much time on my hands right now, it’s time for another kitchen activity with the kids. Of course, they are thrilled to do it, because what kid doesn’t like chewing gum?
I told them we’ll make chewing gum at home and they were all ears – and hands, too! It’s so easy to catch their attention if they like what they hear. So the kitchen has been busy the past weeks with rock candies and geodes and now with gum.
History of Chewing Gum
What I like to do when I involve the kids in the kitchen is to either give them a science experiment or at least give them a brief history of what we are making. It serves as a learning experience not just for them but for me as well.
And today here’s a brief historical background of the chewing gums we know today.
The first commercial chewing gum, according to records, was made and sold by John Curtis back in 1848. It was reportedly made of spruce tree resin with paraffin and some flavor.
But did you know that the world’s first chewing gum dates back to over 5,000 years ago?
During that time, the ancient people chewed tree sap, sweet grasses and leaves, tree resin lumps, grains, and even waxes. These elements served as the ancient gums.
Chewing gums had evolved since 1848 but they had issues with the gum holding its flavor. It wasn’t until 1880 when William White combined corn syrup and sugar with chicle and added peppermint extract when they resolved the issue.
He found out that among all the other gum flavors, it was peppermint that holds its taste the most. The first peppermint gum was called Yucatan gum.
There were other people who tried to resolve the issue in other ways, such as Dr. Edward Beeman who added pepsin powder and invented a gum that aids in digestion. This was the world’s biggest breakthrough in the world of chewing gums. Unfortunately, the production of these gums was discontinued in 2015.
Then there’s another discovery made also in 1880. Henry and Frank Fleer experimented with chicle found in sapodilla trees. They made small cubes of the chicle substance and coated the cubes with something sweet. These gums are the “Chiclets” we know up to this date.
From there, a few more discoveries were found in the next years. In 1888, Tutti Frutti gum was made and was the first chewing gum ever sold in a vending machine located in New York subway stations.
In 1891, William Wrigley founded Wrigley Chewing Gum. Then in 1983, Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint were introduced to the market.
In 1914, Wrigley’s Doublemint was created. And more of these gums were introduced to the world by establishing factories in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK.
Many other gums were developed further all those years, but it wasn’t until the 1950s when the first sugarless gum was created by Dr. Petrulis. He was a dentist who wanted to introduce something that will counteract the acid in gums and candies that causes tooth decay.
The long history of chewing gums now brought us all the gums we have in the market today. We now have hundreds of flavors and many types, including gums for medical purposes.
That, my friends, is how the world-famous chewing gums came to be. Something my kids gladly learned because some of these gums are still available in the market today.
And now, we will be making our own version of chewing gum at home.
How to Make Chewing Gum at Home
As I’ve said, I know of two ways to make chewing gums. We’ll try to cover as much as we can during our activity. You can try all of them or choose what you can do one at a time.
Natural Beeswax Chewing Gum Recipe
- ½ cup food-grade beeswax
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey or corn syrup
- 5 drops peppermint flavoring extract
Other things you will need
- Candy molds
- Parchment paper cut into 3×3 inch squares
STEP 1 – Melt the wax using a double boiler over medium-high heat.
STEP 2 – Add the honey or corn syrup once the wax is soft and gooey.
STEP 3 – Stir until well combined.
STEP 4 – Add the flavoring and stir.
STEP 5 – Add the sugar to the gum base.
STEP 6 – Taste the mixture and see if you need to add more sweetener and flavoring.
STEP 7 – Once your gum base is ready, pour it into candy molds and refrigerate to harden.
STEP 8 – Pop the gum out of the molds and wrap in parchment paper.
- You may use food coloring and other flavoring extracts based on your preference.
- For sugar-free gums, use the natural beeswax gum recipe and replace powdered sugar with Stevia and get rid of the honey. Add more peppermint flavor.