It’s nearly upon us now: Halloween — the time for carving Jack-o'-lanterns, trick-or-treating, and gorging yourself on garden produce.
No, that last bit isn’t a typo. And no, I’m not talking about candy corn.
Halloween may be best known as an excuse to consume regrettable amounts of sugar, sure. But this year, what if you tried something different? What if you made your own healthier holiday treats with real food from your garden?
Admittedly, calling any kind of candy “healthy” may be a stretch. But sweets made of whole foods inherently offer more nutritional value than Fun Size Snickers® bars. And by containing more fiber and substance, such homemade candy may even fill you up faster (so you ultimately eat less sugar).
If you’re open to attempting a healthier Halloween this year, here are a few fun recipes to try.
Glazed Fruits and Vegetables
Turns out, you can make candy out of almost anything simply by crystalizing it in a mixture of sugar, water, and light corn syrup (at a 4:2:1 ratio). The resulting treat will have a sweet, crunchy outer shell.
Though apples are a common choice, many other foods — including strawberries, ginger, chili peppers, and even citrus peels — make excellent candidates for candying.
The process is pretty straightforward: Bring the ingredients to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, and then quickly dip your fruit or vegetable. After the shiny glaze hardens, your candied produce is ready to eat!
For more details, check out this candied strawberries recipe from The Spruce Eats.
Caramelized Seeds and Nuts
Planning to carve out homegrown pumpkins
to accent your spooky porch décor? Be sure to save the seeds. Not only are they highly nutritious — they also make great candy.
Like most other seeds and nuts, pumpkin seeds (or pepitas) pair quite well with maple syrup and brown sugar. Roast this modest combination, and you’ll end up with an irresistibly crispy, protein-rich confection.
Try this caramelized pepitas recipe from Treehugger to see what I mean.
Sugared Flowers and Herbs
Vibrant and often zesty, edible flowers are a unique treat in their own right. But a little sugar transforms them into fantastic dessert toppers and novel snacks. And the same can be said for herbs.
To make flower and/or herb candy, you’ll just need egg white, water, and ultra-fine sugar (in addition to your chosen edible flowers or herbs, of course). Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, get step-by-step instructions on the process here.
Happy Homegrown Halloween!
I hope these recipes have helped you think of new and interesting ways to use your garden harvests. For even more ideas (including how to make tomato marshmallows), check out this free candy-making e-book.
Do you have any favorite homemade candy recipes to share? Let’s chat in the comments below.