Juicy Gel Bubbles

Juicy Gel Bubbles

Make fruity gel bubbles that pop in your mouth! The magic ingredient is agar powder. Agar powder is a gelling agent that comes from a type of algae. Make multiple batches in different colors!


Ages:
5 - 104
Est. Time:

How we did it:

Materials List

  1. vegetable oil (1 1/2 cups)
  2. tall glass container
  3. colorful fruit juice or sports drink (1 cup)
  4. agar powder (1 teaspoon)
  5. glass or beaker (2 cups) (1)
  6. pippette (1)
  7. colander or fine mesh strainer (1)
  1. Step 1

    Gather your materials.

  2. Step 2

     Pour the oil into the jar or beaker and place it in the freezer until really cold (at least 30 minutes).


  3. Step 3

    Pour the fruit juice into a small pot and stir in the agar-agar powder. 


  4. Step 4

    Place the pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly,  until the powder dissolves and the mixture just begins to boil.


  5. Step 5

    Remove the pot from the heat and pour the mixture into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature for at least 20 minutes.


  6. Step 6

    Remove the glass of oil from the freezer. (If it is cloudy, let it sit at room temperature until the cloudiness clears.) Fill the medicine dropper with the juice mixture, hold it about an inch above the surface of the oil, and squirt a small amount into the oil. As soon as the juice hits the oil, it should form a little ball that will sink to the bottom of the glass. Continue until you have about 20 beads (don’t crowd the beads at the bottom, or they will smash).


  7. Step 7

    Set a bowl under a colander.  Slowly pour off the oil into the colander to capture the beads.  The remaining oil can be reused for additional beads (though you may have to chill it again after a few batches). 


  8. Step 8

    Spoon the beads onto ice cream or straight into your mouth! 


  9. Learn More!

    Agar is an edible gelling agent. This experiment is a cool example of how gelling agents work: The agar dissolves in the hot juice and, as it cools, traps the juice in a web of molecules. This gives the juice less space to move around, and it “sets” into a semi-solid substance. When you drip the juice mixture into cold oil, it gels on contact. Because oil and juice (which is water-based) don’t mix, the juice drops cling to one another, forming smooth spheres.