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  • Sara Thompson

Candy Heart Reactions

By Sara Thompson

Image credit, Scott Ehardt, Wikimedia Commons.

Special to the Enterprise


Most people are familiar with mixing vinegar and baking soda to get a reaction, but what would happen if we added candy hearts to each of those ingredients? In this first experiment, you will need a tray for any spillage, three containers (bowl, cup, etc.), vinegar, water, baking soda, and candy hearts.

Put ½ Cup of vinegar in one container. Pour another ½ Cup of water in another. In the last one mix ½ C water with ¾-1 teaspoon of baking soda, stir until dissolved. Place a candy heart into each of the containers and observe what happens.

The candy hearts in the vinegar and plain water will begin to dissolve, eventually, but not much else will happen. The candy heart in the baking soda-water solution will fizzle a bit and show more signs of a reaction. This brings us to the next experiment, what in the candy heart is reacting to the baking soda-water solution?

For this one you will need small containers (cups, bowls, cupcake tin, etc.), baking soda, and any other ingredients found in candy hearts. The ingredient list is sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, glycerin, gelatin, citric acid, tragacanth gum, and food dyes. Because not all of these are readily available, the suggested ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, citric acid (lemon juice will work), food coloring, and water.

In each container, add around ¼ Cup of water. Leave one container as just plain water as a control. In another add a few drops of food coloring of your choice. In the others add 1 teaspoon of the other ingredients you have, stir until dissolved. Predict what you think might happen if you add baking soda to the solutions. Once you have made your predictions, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to each container and watch what happens. Was your prediction correct?

The baking soda should have reacted with citric acid or lemon juice. Baking soda is a basic and the citric acid or lemon juice is an acid, so the two will react creating bubbles and fizz. The same thing happens when you add baking soda to vinegar. All the other ingredients of water, food coloring, sugar, etc are either not acidic or not acidic enough to cause a reaction.

As always, we recommend doing these home experiments with an adult present. And because this one has a fizzy element, place the experiment on a tray for easy clean up. Have fun!


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