Sweet. Salty. Sour. When channeling your inner snacker, you’ll probably notice a pattern in which flavor profile you reach for when a hankering hits. If you’re an ice cream connoisseur or a potato chip junkie, you may want to skip this post to get a head start on filling your goPuff cart with your favorite go-tos. If you live for the puckering punch of tart lemon or a hit of cherry gummy goodness so sour it makes your stomach twist, then we’re speaking your language.
While candy is supposed to be sweet and enjoyable, there is no doubt that its sour counterparts have an enthusiastic cult following. Read on to challenge yourself with the most sour candy offerings.
Why do we like extreme sour candy?
An excellent question. You pop some atomic sour suckers into your mouth and suddenly your face tenses up with pain and your eyes hold back tears as you endure the emotional roller coaster of flavors. But why do we always go back for more?
The answer lies in Halloween, the most candy-centric holiday of the year. In the 1950s, food manufacturers began creating ‘spooky’ and ‘horror-themed’ candies to capitalize on the holiday. Halloween, which already promotes scary happenings, allowed extreme candies like sour jawbreakers, acidic fruity chews and gross novelties like gummy ‘brains’ to be consumed with excitement. Thus, the obsession with sour flavors began.
Psychologically, people find pleasure in doing things that spur displeasure. If this sounds zany, it’s because it kind of is. Similar to a roller coaster, part of the fun is the stomach-turning drops and screaming throughout each flip and dip. People enjoy sour candy as an experience of pushing themselves through challenging experiences.
What makes sour candy, well…sour?
Diving into the chemistry of it all, how do we transform a sweet gummy into a sour treat? This is done through a strategic combination of organic acids—it’s no wonder that consuming too many sour candies in one sitting can cause a sore mouth.
The most common acids used to make sour candy are citric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid and fumaric acid. The combination of these core acids (as well as a few extra depending on the brand) is what creates the different levels of zing experienced across various sour candies. These acids have hydrogen ions that spark sour receptors on your tongue.
Citric acid in sour candy
Citric acid is found in fruits like lemons, limes and other citrus like grapefruit, which is why most sour candies will rely on these fruit flavor profiles.
Malic acid in sour candy
This acid adds longevity to the sour taste experienced when you enjoy sour candies. The malic acid is typically coated in palm oil during the candy making process. This is done to support a prolonged tartness as the oil melts slowly, releasing the malic acid over an extended period of time.
Low pH, high acid
Who would have thought candy would be so scientific? pH is a scale that runs from 1 to 14. The middle ground is a pH of 7, which is that of pure water. Anything below this is higher in acid. Anything higher is lower in acid. Strong acids used in sour candy making have a pH of 1 to 2. Because of this, most sour candy will have a pH of around 1.6 to 3, depending on its range from tart to truly sour.
The most sour candies on goPuff to make your tastebuds pucker
Ready to zing your tastebuds? Try these sour candy staples:
1. Fun Dip
The ultimate sugar rush. Each package of Fun Dip comes with a hard candy stick for dipping into an envelope of tart, powdery sugar.
2. Baby Bottle Pop
Easily one of the most nostalgic candies on the list, the Baby Bottle Pop provides a lollipop shaped like the top of a baby’s bottle, which you flip over and dip into a tart sugary powder. Be warned: Challenging yourself to finish this duo in one sitting will leave your taste buds strained.
3. SweeTarts Extreme Sour Chewy
Much like the original candy, SweeTarts gimmick is delivering a blend of flavors in one single piece of candy. While the original product is already tart, the SweeTarts extreme sour version intends on turning up the dial for its most adventurous followers.
4. Sour Patch Kids
When you think of sour, you can’t not get visions of mischievous sour gummy children wreaking havoc on everyone in their path (before inevitably turning sweet). Undoubtedly a favorite amongst all sour loving folks, Sour Patch Kids consistently pack a sharp pucker that fades into a sweet and chewy gummy sensation, which will keep you coming back for more.
5. Jolly Rancher Sour Gummies
You may know the brand as being exclusively hard candy. However, the sour gummies line has the same tart flavors in a softer, bite-sized package. Unlike other sour candies in the goPuff offering, the Jolly Rancher Sour Gummies flavors include green apple and lemon for an extra tangy and tart experience.
6. Life Savers Sour Gummies
Each bag of Life Savers Sour Gummies comes filled with tangy cherry, strawberry, orange, watermelon and black raspberry, all coated in sour sugar that will leave your tongue tingling.
7. Starburst Minis Sours Unwrapped
The fruit leather chews that deliver a juicy experience as you snack lean on sour cherry, strawberry, blue raspberry and watermelon flavors, which pack tartness in every handful. The Starburst Minis Sours come unwrapped, eliminating the pesky middleman wrapper so you can get to snacking.
8. Sour Skittles
The electric lime green bag that we can’t wait to tear open and dunk our hand into. Sour Skittles take the original rainbow and coat it in a generous layer of sour sanding, composed of citric and tartaric acid.
9. Airheads Xtremes
The Rainbow Berry Bites from Airheads offer a soft, chewy fruit leather coated with a sour dusting. Enough sour sugar to make your taste buds perk up, but not so much that your face tenses up.
10. Sour Punch Straws
The original form from the Sour Punch candy line, these straws are generously coated in sugar that balances the tart and fruity flavors of the gummy itself. Featuring both strawberry and blue raspberry flavors, this sour candy pick is similar to the Sour Big Chewy Nerds, in that it’s a milder in terms of zing.
If you are looking for a candy with a big fruit flavor that you can eat a lot of before your tongue taps out, add these to your next goPuff order.
11. Sour Punch Bites
The bite-sized sister to Sour Punch Straws, the Sour Punch Bites have a similar level of sourness. Get the classic assorted bag with strawberry, green apple & blue raspberry from goPuff. Adventurous snackers can also find flavors like cherry cola lime and spicy mango, pineapple, cantaloupe and watermelon.
12. Sour Big Chewy Nerds
If you love the pure sugar rush from Nerds’ rock candy crystals but with a slightly tarter taste, then Sour Big Chewy Nerds should be on your list.
Flavors featured in each bag include strawberry lemonade, watermelon, blood orange and blue raspberry. This ranks lower on the mouth-puckering scale, allowing the least adventurous of sour candy-goers to still indulge.
13. Trolli Sour Gummies
Right up there with the Sour Patch Kids, Trolli Sour candies are some of the most well known within the sour genre of candy. The original Sour Brite Crawlers come in additional flavors like Very Berry, Watermelon and Fruit Punch, as well as other varieties like Sour Brite Eggs, Sour Crunchy Crawlers and Peachie O’s rings.
14. Haribo Sour Goldbears
If you’re a loyal fan of the original Haribo gummy bears, then you may want to reach for its sour cousin. The Haribo Sour Gold Bears are the same pliable, fruity bears you love, but coated in a mouth-puckering sugar to keep your taste buds alert. Haribo also offers Sour S’ghetti as well as Twin Snakes gummies, which walk the line between sweet and sour.
15. Gushers Super Sour Berries
If you are looking for a texture away from the standard chews, Gushers have never failed to deliver. Gooey with a soft chewy outside, the sour filling in the Gushers Super Sour Berries hits you with a burst of tartness.