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Friday, July 20, 2012

5 Tips for Preserving Candy

Bird's Eyes View of the initial "kid's candy basket"
The other day we were finally able to clean out our cabinets filled with candy. I've got to say, breath mints aren't as sweet after they've been sitting in a musky pantry for over a year...

Anyway, we started off with our Chinese New Year candy. I understand it's supposed to be good luck, but out with the old and in with the new, right? So, after debating on whether or not to just dump the entire lot of uneaten candy, my mom and I reached a compromise: The Chew and Spit.
Basically, we try and eat all of the candies while consuming as few calories as possible and limiting the inevitable sugar rush as best we can. I took this approach by chewing off a corner of a fruit chew or suspicious looking hard caramel colored object wrapped in a flimsy plastic foil. If it tasted decent (milk candy!) then I'd gladly spit it away, knowing that my taste bud fears had been conquered. Likewise, if the thing turned out to be disgusting, such as the happy penguin powder candy sitting alongside some lolipops, I'd throw out the entire lot, cleanse my mouth of the impurity, and proceed to throw away any matching chewies. There were a few incidents of chewies not actually being chewy, but accidents happen. I'm just glad our counter's been cleared.
Yay! M&Ms :3

As you can see, here's the entire lot of our candy. (Ignore the lone M&M if you want a clearer picture of our labor.) It took a while, and a lot of groans from my siblings, but we eventually managed to pride ourselves in saving the abandoned sweets from eternal boredom. At least now they'll have fun dissolving into their respective sugars in the land fill. Or be turned into mushy goo. Or be preserved for future generations to prod over and study.

Anyway, there were surprisingly a few lessons I learned from today.
1) Don't keep all of those Lifesavers from restaurants. Keeping an emergency stock in the car is always fine for immediate breath-purifying moments, but make sure to frequently purge the stock. You don't want a crushed up/mushed mess when you reach your hand in for a breather.
2) Jolly Ranchers should be eaten immediately, and preferably in the winter. Although there are certainly summer candy freaks (and we all love you) it's not too much fun for most people to open up the delightful plastic wrap only to find that it's been melted and misshapen. A flat Jolly Rancher isn't a happy candy. Treat your sweets right.
Another photo of the candy basket...just 'cause
3) Chocolate with white spots is perfectly edible. Keeping the cocoas in the fridge preserves them better over the long course, but if you ever receive premium Godiva or Lindt chocolates for, say, a birthday or new year, eat them within a week, because chances are you'll eventually forget about them and leave them to rot or they'll have melted into unrecognizable blobs (see #2). The hard chocolates can last longer, so make sure those truffles and caramels centers are eaten right away and enjoyed at their peak of flavor. Of course, cherry cordials can probably last a while (we had one from last Christmas that tasted as fresh as anything.) If you can't finish them, there's always the option of giving them to me ;)
4) Gum should never be ignored too long. If you want, keep it in a cool area, not in the open or in the car, where the sun's menacing rays will rip its little gummy flesh apart (again, see #2). It's chewability rating severely drops as the temperature rises, a phenomenon I've had the honor to witness myself. The "Extra" on the gum only applies to the moment it hits your mouth, not before. Unlike Twinkies or honey, gum expires. Once the flavor's gone, there's a fat chance of getting anyone to savor in its gummy goodness. Tip for expired gum that's still somewhat edible: Give them to a friend. They never know the difference if it's not in the container. Especially if it's in a wrinkle-free wrapping. (Even I can't put my finger on a gum that looks as if it's been taken out of the trast.)
5) Do not eat candy that smells funky. Period.
 

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