Do you remember making Rock Candy when you were a kid? The basic material of rock candy is sugar dissolved in hot water. When the solution cools and begins to slowly evaporate at room temperature, the sugar will crystallize. A string or swizzle stick will attract the crystals, forming rock candy. You can see a "how-to" video below.
For centuries Rock Candy has been recognized as having marked therapeutic and preservative qualities. In fact, in the West, sugar was used only as a medicine or preservative up to the middle of the 18th century when people "discovered" it made a sweet treat as well.
The earliest known date that white sugar was refined was about 200 C.E. so it is probable that the further refining into what was later known as "Sugre Candie" was at about that time.
There are many references to what we now call Rock Candy in literature. There are several references to it in the poems of the Persian poet Jalal-ad-Din Rumi who lived in Turkey in the middle 1200's. One early English reference in 1584 seems to sum up the virtues of Rock Candy where it is quoted "White sugar is not so good for phlegume, as that which is called Sugar Candie." Shakespeare in Henry IV (1596) referred to its therapeutic value as a throat soother for long winded talkers.
Rock Candy Memories
One of my favorite memories, of all time, involves rock candy. There was nothing like walking on the brick walkway from our house, in the South, to my grandparents house, through the back screened porch and down the polished wooden hallway to find my Grandmother in the kitchen making rock candy.
I was always enthralled by the fact that she could make something so wonderful, and I believe she was equally thrilled to share that beautiful clear candy with her granddaughter with the sweet tooth! Those memories still bring warmth, and a feeling of joy and contentment! I was blessed to be able to have that experience more than once in my life. ~ Juanita from Michigan
When I went to elementary school in Iowa, we used to take a field trip to Living History Farms in Des Moines each year. I remember that I had just 5$ to spend at the Old Country Store. I would always buy the pink Rock Candy Sticks because they were 2/1$ and there was something about the flavor of the pink dye that I just loved. I would then use the wooden stick with the ball on the end as a scepter for He Man and Skeletor! ~Sandy from Georgia