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Question: How to preserve M&Ms

In a couple of months my sister is getting married. She wants to get M&Ms with names and the date on them. She also wants to save some to put in a shadow box. Which brings me to my question:
How do you preserve M&Ms?
I figure you would coat them with polyurethane or nail polish... but what about the chocolate inside? If it gets hot in the house, would the chocolate inside melt?
Could I coat the M&M with sealer, then somehow get the chocolate out like when you blow out the insides of an egg, then fill it with something else?
Does it really matter that chocolate will be inside once it is sealed?
I guess if worse comes to worse I can encase it in resin inside a small frame, but I would really like to hear your opinions on how to keep the M&M shape without the candy becoming melted, disfigured, or exploding.

EDIT: Although the hard candy shell will not melt into a puddle, the dye will adhere to whatever touches it when the candy is warm... your hand, paper, fabric. I have had m&m "tattoos" on me before and in cars where they had sat on the seat.

The reason I wanted to seal them with something is because the apartment I used to live in would get really hot. Last summer I had 2 bags of m&ms (the pound size) that .... sweated... if you touched them they felt slightly oily. They did melt, inside, so if you ate them they were all squishy once you broke the shell. When the weather got cooler the candies went back to a solid inside state and the "sweat" beads turned a milky color that resembled hard water stains on glass. That is what I am hopeing to prevent... that and the fine crackle appearence the shell had once winter came. I think the extreame heat and the fine cracks from the chocolate inside expanding may have allowed the fat inside the chocolate itself to leak out in the form of the small oily beads that turned whiteish when they cooled down. But, that is just my theory. They also tasted really weird when I tried to eat them before christmas... like m&ms that are in ice cream taste.

The apartment I lived in would reach above 100 degrees (being the top floor, without cross breeze because the door opened into a protected hallway.) and the heat lasted for months. The candy's insides was in melty state for almost 3 months before the apartment cooled down enough for the chocolate to go completely solid. My sister's apartment is similar and I was just worried that the same thing would happen to her very special M&Ms.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 27th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
I don't know. This sounds weird, but I've saved M&Ms before for crafts, and they never melted on me over the past few years. (I swear I don't eat them! haha.)

I'm sure if you cover them in polyurethane or nail polish you'll be A-okay and wouldn't have to worry about the chocolate inside. The candy shell should be enough as well as the nail polish.

M&M's are meant to not melt! It's the chocolately treat that doesn't melt in your hands! It was one of their advertising gimmicks in the past. : )
Mar. 27th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
That's why they were INVENTED--the coating was a mechanism to ship chocolate to the men fighting WWII in hot countries without it melting.
Mar. 27th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't try to preserve them at all. The heat isn't an issue when you make cookies (and an oven is far hotter than a house ever would be) so there shouldn't be a problem. Especially with them behind glass (ie: nobody touching them). Also, the writing on the candy might come off when you try to coat it with resin, sealer, etc. Just my 2 cents..
Mar. 27th, 2008 10:34 pm (UTC)
M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand. ;)
Mar. 27th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
Mar. 27th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
If you attempt to put anything over them, it will smudge the candy writing.

Honestly, you don't need to do anything for them.
Mar. 27th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
i second everyone else, just leave them be. sealer will rub off the writing.
Mar. 27th, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
not only will the sealer affect the writing it will probably react with the sugar over time and turn yellow. thusly, I second everyone else's opinion to leave them alone.

However, I've been in the framing industry for nearly 9 years now and you managed to come up with a question I've never heard. Congrats!
Mar. 28th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
Giggle! Well, thanks :)

Mar. 27th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)

fact: I cleaned my room yesterday and found a tube of holiday mini M&M's that must be over 10 years old and they are as vibrantly coloured as ever.

Mar. 27th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
fact: I had a pack of m&m's in a drawer for 6 years and in a violent PMS driven fit, I ate them. They were delicious and if it weren't for me knowing why i was saving them (they were one of those silly limited edition packs) I would have thought they were bought just then.
Mar. 28th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
I made some accessories (earrings, hair clip, ring) with M&M's for my Halloween costume one year; I was a big pack of peanut M&Ms. I just coated them with nail polish. It did not smudge the writing, although I was careful with the first coat, and after that it didn't matter. They lasted quite a few years, although they did eventually crack from being kicked around in my jewelry box, so I chucked them.

However, if you're going to put them behind glass, I doubt you'll need to do much to them. I'd spray them four or five times per side (do the backs first, then the fronts) with shiny spray acrylic and call it good. You do need something on the backside to be a good base for whatever adhesive you're going to use to stick them down to the backing for the display, otherwise the candy shell will deteriorate over time.

Tip for using spray sealants or paints: Use a box with shallow sides as the backdrop for your spraying. The top of a copy paper box is perfect for smaller items, and you can cut down the sides of a larger box if necessary for larger items. You'll avoid overspray and it'll be really easy to move your just-painted project around while it's wet, without screwing up the finish. I've saved some large shipping boxes just for this; they store easily standing up in the garage next to the workbench, and can be used over and over.
Mar. 28th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! You are the first to offer info on how to preserve them and not just tell me they won't melt... because, although the hard cany shell will not melt into a puddle, the dye will adhere to whatever touches it when the candy is warm.

The reason I wanted to seal them with something is because the apartment I used to live in would get really hot. i had 2 bags of m&ms (the pound size) that .... sweated. They did melt, inside, so if you ate them they were all squishy once you broke the shell. When the weather got cooler the candies went back to a solid inside state and the "sweat" beads turned a milky color. That is what I am hopeing to prevent... that and the crackle appearence the shell made once winter came.

Thank you for the info on the glue too!
Mar. 28th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)
i'd at least spray-seal it, but that's because roaches and mice are unavoidable where i live.
Mar. 28th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
Good idea! i didn't even think about bugs....
Mar. 28th, 2008 12:37 am (UTC)
If it's helpful, I support deployed troops. M & Ms are one of the few things that can be shipped in the heat of the Summer months to Iraq (or similar locations). That's not to say that they don't sometimes break/melt but the temps are often in excess of 120.
Mar. 28th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
You could do an experiment - keep some as they are, keep some with a sealer and keep some encased in resin, then report back!
Mar. 28th, 2008 01:09 am (UTC)
I think I agree with you! This calls for an experiment... one that involves the freezer, cars parked in the sun, nail polish, varnish, and lots of m&ms that mostly will end up in my tummy before I have a chance to even seal them.

I love your icon and name, by the way! Turtle lovers unite! My name is a mix of Turtle and Fraggle!
Mar. 28th, 2008 01:30 am (UTC)
if all else fails how about a quality up close and personal picture of the M&Ms, especially of the writing. that way if something happens to the actual candies (ie in 5 years of wedded bliss they do crack) all is not lost.
Mar. 28th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
Mar. 28th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
What a good idea! This is why I like asking things here, you all have such wonderful minds that can solve any problem!
Mar. 28th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Try casting resin.

Otherwise, use polyurethane (many coats) and keep out of direct heat, seriously, in two years or less, your sister won't be nearly as sentimental about them. I'm not saying that to be a downer, just trust me that this will happen. Take really good macro photos for longevity.
Mar. 28th, 2008 12:40 pm (UTC)
here is a stupid thought .. but yanno my 2 cents worth and all...
could you make them in poly clay get them as close as you can in size and color... I have no idea how you would get the words on them... I dunno it was a thought... I am just thinking what will hold up ...I would worry about them getting moldy ...

also I remember years a go being in a craft store... and a woman had an actual COOKIE pinned on her jacket...I am to polite to mention it but another woman asked her how she coated it ... she said there was some sort of spray over in isle "insert isle number here" There very well may be some product out there just for that.
Mar. 28th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
Wow, a cookie? that would be too dangerous for me... I would keep looking at it, fighting temptation to take a bite.
Mar. 28th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, apparently at one time, women would bake goods and then spray them with some sort of sealant and use them as house decoration. (I've heard stories from my mom and dad about one of my aunts that kept a basket of coated biscuits on her coffee table for YEARS.)
Mar. 28th, 2008 06:28 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that gives me an idea! It would be really cute to bake a cookie using a few of these special M&Ms, and hand-placing them in the dough so that the words were face-up and legible. Probably you would want to find a recipe online for "decorative cookie recipe", since those do exist for cookies you're supposed to hang on trees etc., rather than eat. Then you could seal it and put it in the frame with the plain M&Ms. Just sounds really sweet and cozy to have a cookie with the wedding M&Ms in it. :)
Mar. 28th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
Oh! This is an awesome idea! A heart shaped cookie! Now I really have to find out what sealers are good for doughs....

My sis, to whom I am forewarding all of these ideas, is over the moon excited about all the things she wants to do with the m&ms now. One of the girls above said she made jewelry out of the peanut m&ms... now my sister wants some with her m&ms to wear on her anniversary and to maybe go around their wine glasses.
Mar. 31st, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure about M&M's but some candy will break down over the years because of the sugar and it breaks down many craft glazes as well. When I was a kid my mom's friend made some magnets out of candy and used the kind of varnish you use on furniture. I still have one and it's well preserved even after 25 years.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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