One of the best ways to spend a summer day is camped out at the beach. You can make the day even more special by packing some games, a good book, lunch, plenty of cold water and some sun safe treats.
There's nothing worse than coming in from a dip in the ocean - anticipating a cool drink and sweet sugary snack to rejuvenate you - only to find your treat has melted under the summer sun.
When you think candy, many people think of chocolate. But chocolate is not a smart choice on a hot summer day. Ideally, chocolate should be stored at around 63 degrees, with less than 50 percent humidity - conditions you certainly won't find at the beach. That's why you need sun safe candy - candy that will hold up during a long day at the shore.
You may think the label "sun safe" limits your choices of treats, but that's not true. There are entire lines of sun safe candies, including Australian red licorice, double bubble gumballs, Mega Candy Buttons, Jelly Belly jelly beans, rock candy in four flavors - and the ever popular Jolly Ranchers.
Rock candy is one of the most interesting candies out there. It's actually a sweet candy and a real life science lesson wrapped into one treat. Rock candy is the result of sugar water evaporating, leaving behind giant sugar crystals. It takes about seven days for the water to evaporate and the sugar crystals to form. Yes, you can make it yourself, but not in the four wonderful flavors that are available: raspberry, strawberry, cherry and grape. You choose the packaging for your rock candy treat - a fun paint can, a metal lunch box, a penny candy jar or a mini bin. The more unexpected the packaging, the bigger the smile on your children's faces.
Don't think that jelly beans are just an Easter treat. Gourmet Jelly Belly jelly beans are a year-round favorite. And because they are made with a hard candy shell, the gummy interior is safe from the effects of the sun during a day on the beach. If you're a true fan of Very Cherry jelly beans, then you may want to stock up with a 10-pound bag. There are approximately 400 Very Cherry Jelly Belly jelly beans in each pound, which means that 10 pounds would offer up 4,000 of the sweet beans.
Licorice, a candy favored around the world, comes in two basic varieties: black licorice and red licorice. Black licorice is actually flavored with licorice extract and manufactured into chewy ropes, tubes or bites. Red licorice does not contain licorice extract, but it is fashioned into the same ropes, tubes and bites. It has the same shape and consistency of licorice, but it is actually made with strawberry, cherry or raspberry flavoring. Australian Red Licorice is made with the sweet flavor of strawberries into bite-sized treats. For a variation on the theme, try Red Licorice bites, which are made from cherries and strawberries. There is also the classic Black Licorice Mix, flavored with real licorice and fashioned into bite-sized twists and twirls.
Mix It Up
If you have a big crowd with you on the beach, you probably ought to have a selection of candies from which they can choose. How about a mixture of three candies you will remember from your childhood - ones you will want to introduce to your children? This "Everything Under the Sun" collection includes Jolly Ranchers, Starbursts and Skittles. Again, find an inventive container to store your candies. How about a Chinese leftover box that can be found at a $1 store? Just looking at the container of sweet treats will put a smile on everyone's faces. And best of all, these candies can stand up to the heat of the day.
If your gang is more of a gummy crowd, then try the Sea Life Mix, which includes fruit-flavored gummy candy in a variety of sea life shapes. Fill a container with Swedish Fish, gummy alligators and mini frogs. OK, maybe you won't find alligators and frogs in the sea, but your kids will be delighted with these unusual shapes.
Any day at the beach should definitely include plenty of cold water to wash down your sun safe sweets. Before you head out, freeze enough bottles of water so that everyone has a drink. Pack the bottles in a cooler and use them as your ice packs. Then, as the heat bears down on your cooler, the ice will gradually melt and provide you with plenty of ice cold water. The ice will also help you keep your other foods safe. Your candy may be sun safe, but your sandwiches and other snacks will need some help staying cool in the sun.
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