How to Make Rock Candy


“We can?” One asks.

“Right now?” Another confirms.

“Let’s go!” The third decides.

Their voices are braided perfection. Excited and urgent and childhood all threaded together in what my summer has been like.

They run up the driveway and through the garage. I bite back the urge to remind them to put on their shoes. Running barefoot is a rite of summer. I wouldn’t dream of taking it away from them this late in the season.

My neighbor leaves for a jog, another is walking her dog, a group of cyclists speed by. I sit and wait and enjoy the quiet, the sun, the slow.

Moments later, my three carefully step outside, fingers wrapped around jars, colorful straws splayed, tools gripped in free hands.

They work as a team, which is the best part of summer for a family; The chance to reconfigure your fit.

And they do no, three months into summer, they fit.

They curl up and read – long arms and legs and pointy elbows and knees entwined. They create plays out of construction paper shields and masks cut with newly deft fingers and makeup “borrowed” from me. They run through sprinklers in birth order, head tipped to sky, mouth open wide, drinking contraband water on the go. It’s the most delicious kind, so I’ve heard.

Although there are bumps, their fit is smooth. A mother’s heartstrings on display.

So when they walk back to me — rock candy jars in one hand and silver spoons and butter knives in the other — and settle onto the driveway ready to dive into sugar, there’s nothing for me to direct or say or remind. I just sit back and watch them taste the sweetness of sharing summer with your siblings.

How to Make Rock Candy

You’ll need jars, thread or a wooden skewer, 1-2 clothespins, 1 cup water, 3 cups sugar, and (optional) food coloring.

Cut a length of thick cotton thread a few inches longer than the height of the jar, and tape it to a pencil. Place the pencil across the top of the jar, and wind it until the thread is hanging about 1 inch from the bottom of the jar. Or, clip a wooden skewer into the clothespin so that it hangs down inside the glass and is about 1 inch from the bottom of the glass. Set this aside.

Bring the water to a boil and begin adding the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all of the sugar is dissolved. Once no more sugar will dissolve, remove the pan from the heat.

If you’d like, stir in several drops of food coloring.

Cool the sugar syrup for about 20 minutes, then pour it into the jar. Lower the skewer straight down until it hangs about 1 inch from the bottom and isn’t touching the sides.

Carefully place your jar in a cool place where it can sit undisturbed. Your crystals should form in 3-7 days!

I should note that we did not do the first step of this process. We’re rule breakers like that. We put paper straws into the jars instead because we thought they’d be so pretty, and they were. So our rock candy was small and messy and needed to be eaten off of a spoon, which, for the record, was just fine with us.

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