February 27, 2015

Civil War Era Rock Candy Recipe: Historical Food Fortnightly

"Our children eat crystallized sugar, under the name of rock candy, and we ourselves us it in the loaf crystallized in another form." -Friend's Intelligencer, 1859

Civil War Recipe, Civil War Reenactor

For this Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge, I searched high and low in search of something blue. Blueberries were the obvious choice but unseasonal and disagreeable. I'm the only person in the world who doesn't like berries. I didn't think to make rock candy until a few days before the challenge ended, but I decided to make it anyway, even if it would be a week late.

 "Rock candy" was the name given to many different types of candies in the 1800s. One version of the candy, was a hardened syrup mixture, mixed with nuts and cut into pieces. Another form of rock candy was recrystallized sugar.  It was eaten plain, used in medicines, to flavor drinks, and as decoration for other edibles.

 Civil War Recipe

The Challenge: "Something Borrowed, Something Blue February 8 - February 21
It’s a two part challenge! Either create a dish that relies on borrowed ingredients, or create a dish that involves the color blue. Bonus points if you can achieve both!"

The Recipe: 

The Date/Year and Region:
1860s, Boston, although it's a simple, popular treat in use almost everywhere.

How Did You Make It:


-3 Cups Sugar
- 1 Cup Water
-Essential Oil and Food Coloring Optional


Bring your sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally. As soon as it boils, remove from heat, let sit for a minute to cool and pour into sterilized glasses. Mix in coloring and flavor if desired. Tie a string onto a stick or pencil and lay the stick over the glass, inserting the string into the liquid, being sure that the string does not touch the bottom of the glass. Cover the glass with a cloth and let it sit for a week. If crystals form on the top of it, just break them into the mixture with a butter knife. At the end of a week, remove string, drain off the extra syrup and rinse the string rock candy and the rock candy in the glass off with water. Lay it out on a cookie sheet to dry.    

Time to Complete:
10 minutes of prep and cooking, 7 days to form.

Total Cost:
Very inexpensive.

Civil War Recipe

How Successful Was It?:
Tastes delicious, I used a bit of Vanilla flavoring. I wish I made something else to put it on. It is very sweet.

How Accurate Is It?: The recipe called to bake the candy but I just let it air dry. It's blue, even though the recipe called for it to be a slate violet color, but I did borrow the glasses to make it in.


  1. Looks delicious! Great pictures.

    1. Thanks! It's a bit sweet for my taste but I love having "odd" things in my kit.


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