Insects in Amber – A Prehistoric Party Treat for Halloween

Dinosaur Birthday Party Food (Also a Tasty Halloween Treat)

With Halloween approaching the thoughts of many mums and dads might be turning towards preparing for the visits of trick or treaters on all Hallows Eve.  Here is a simple recipe our palaeontologists have come up with that gives a little bit of a dinosaur themed flavour to the night’s festivities.  This recipe also makes a smashing alternative to jelly when it comes to thinking about how to customise food for a dinosaur themed birthday party.  Whether it is creating some delicious treats to hand out to the children who come knocking at your door, or whether its a dinosaur themed birthday party you are planning, why not offer them some prehistoric preserved insects in amber, bite-sized treats that have a little bit of science behind them.  Time to link up the monsters associated with Halloween with another favourite children’s topic – the dinosaurs.

 Bite-Sized Party Treat – Prehistoric Insects in Amber

A fossil themed treat for Halloween or a dinosaur themed birthday party.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Amber Explained

Amber is the hardened remains of tree sap.  Certain types of trees, such as conifers for example, produce a sticky, scented resin which flows from damaged parts of the tree and helps to prevent against the spread of disease or the invasion of fungi into the living tree.  Trees have been producing tree resin, some of which has been turned into amber since the Jurassic geological period, a time when famous dinosaurs such as Diplodocus, Allosaurus and the armoured Stegosaurus roamed the Earth.  As the sap flows down the tree, it traps insects and other animals inside the sticky substance.  Plant remains too, can be caught up, pits of twig, bark, leaves and in later types of amber from the Cretaceous period even pollen from flowering plants can be captured.  The amber preserves these tiny organisms in exquisite detail providing palaeontologists with a unique and rich treasure trove of prehistoric remains to study.

To read an article about the remains of a spider’s web being preserved in amber: World’s Oldest Spiders Web Preserved in Amber

Preserve some prehistoric fossils yourself this Halloween with this simple version of a Halloween party treat that is fun to make and you can even get your kids to help you with this fun recipe idea.

Things You Will Need

  • Small pack of orange or raspberry jelly
  • Pair of kitchen scissors
  • Handful of raisins, currants or dried cranberries
  • A jug with a pouring spout and a mixing metal spoon
  • A couple of plastic ice cube trays
  • A shallow dish which is slightly bigger than the ice cube tray

The Things that You will Need to Make this Recipe

Prehistoric Insects Trapped in Amber Recipe.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Make up the jelly in the pouring jug.  Make sure you follow the instructions on the packet and mix the jelly cubes with the hot water according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Also check that the jug is suitable for holding hot water, a stout plastic jug or a kitchen jug is ideal. Put the jug with its liquid jelly aside to cool down.

Start by Making the Jelly

Palaeontologists get busy making jelly.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Creating the Fossilised Insects

To make the fossilised remains of the insects and other such prehistoric beasties, simply take the currants or raisins and cut them up roughly with the scissors.  If you are using cranberry pieces as well these can be chopped up nice and small using a kitchen knife.  The more frayed the better, they will look more realistic with your trick or treaters, or even your birthday party guests imagining that these are the petrified remains of prehistoric insects from the age of dinosaurs.

Making up our Prehistoric Insects Preserved in the Amber

The more frayed the better!

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

When the jelly has cooled down a little, but is still liquid, carefully pour the mixture into the ice cube trays ensuring that all the individual cubes have roughly the same quantity of mixture in them, but do not overfill.  Then simply drop in a few pieces of the chopped dried fruit (currants, raisins etc), into the jelly.  Let the mixture cool a little more and then place on a shelf in the fridge to allow the jelly to set.

Placing our Insect Remains into the Jelly Amber

Ideal for parties or Halloween.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Of course, you don’t have to make up individual bite-size portions, handling jelly pieces can lead to a lot of sticky fingers so you can make up a big bowl of jelly instead.  We added candid peel to our big jelly mix, this looked like the remains of plant material that had become preserved in the amber too.

Take the ice cube trays out of the fridge and place them carefully into the shallow dish which you have prepared by putting in a small amount of hot water into it.  The hot water in contact with the sides of the ice cube trays will help to release the now set jelly pieces from the tray.  After letting the trays warm up in the water, the ice cube trays can be turned upside down and each container can be patted to release the jelly “amber” cube.  If the jelly proves a little reluctant the cubes can be slid out using a knife.

Use a Shallow Tray with Warm Water in it to Help Release the Cubes

Steady as she goes, cubes ready for turning out.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Arrange the amber cubes with their fossils inside on a plate, with perhaps a couple of small, plastic dinosaur models for decoration and there you have it, a cheap and fun party treat for Halloween with a dinosaur theme.

One standard pack of jelly makes about twenty fossils in amber pieces and that’s all there is to it.  A simple and cheap Halloween or dinosaur themed birthday party treat that can either be made up in bite-size portions or a single dessert dish.

To view Everything Dinosaur’s range of party products: Dinosaur Party Items and Birthday Party Products

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