If I have one hindrance as a food writer, it’s my textural issues—my aversion to the gelatinous and the jiggly. As a child, they were so bad that I refused to eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (because of the jelly) and didn’t touch a gummy bear until I was in my 20s. I also had a traumatic run-in with Jell-O in Pre-K, but we’re not going to talk about it here.
I have mostly overcome this aversion to the jiggles—I can even eat oysters, provided they are small—but I still prefer my gummy candy on the chewy side, and routinely leave a bag Haribo Goldbears open so they can “cure.”
Last night, I decided to tweet about it and was heartened by the outpouring of support for the concept. It turns out, I’m not the only one who does this; many candy eaters prefer a tougher gummy. There are hundreds of us. Hundreds.
Curing—or intentionally staling gummy candy—removes some of the excess moisture, giving the gelatinous bear or worm a firmer body with less wiggly nonsense and more chew and chomp. And I need the chew and chomp.
G/O Media may get a commission
Up to 40% off
Samsung Smart TVs
Vivid colors and deep blacks
It’s Oscar season which means it’s time to binge all the nominations before the big day. Why not enjoy these pieces of art on a new TV from our friends at Samsung?
Other chew-seekers court a firmer texture in more aggressive ways: Some dry age their gummies on the plate in the fridge to take advantage of the cold, circulating air, while others store them in the freezer for maximum chomping.
I cure all of my gummies, from Twin Snakes, to bears, to sour worms, and even those fried egg things. If it has gelatin in it, I’m gonna cure it. Others, however, are a little more particular. Food critic Ryan Sutton prefers a “softer bear,” but cures his gummy cola bottles. To be fair, an extra chewy gummy cola bottle is an S-tier gummy that offers an elevated chomping experience.
Beyond gummies, the second most popular cured candy was Peeps (a practice that has had its popularity documented before). I don’t love a Peep, but curing them makes sense to me, as Peeps are too sweet and too soft—too easy—just out of the package. Curing them stiffens the sugar, giving the candy a granular, not-quite-crunchy skin for your teeth to break through, along with the heightened sense of chew we all crave.
Cured licorice, including Red Vines, Twizzlers, and the like, were also quite popular for good reason. I’m a big Red Vines fan because they’re naturally tougher, but exposing them to the open air toughens them even further, giving my mouth something to do.
Perhaps that’s all we chew chasers seek—a more engaging mouth experience, a candy for the un-coddled, a snack that offers a little resistance. We work for our pleasure, chiseling our jaws rather than suckle at pandering teat of soft candy. Or maybe we just really enjoy chewing. Chewing is fun.