Last night, my husband and I were watching a video on YouTube on jelly beans and how they’re made.
It brought me back to our dating days when we used to visit Candylicious, the sweet shop in One Utama and KLCC. We browsed the rows and shelves of candies, chocolates, chewy dinosaurs, gummy bears, and other miscellaneous sweet treats as far as our eyes could see. Rainbow pops of colours filled our vision, jumping out at us from every corner of the store. You could get diabetes and toothaches just by physically being there. Sadly, a friend had informed me that the Candylicious store in KLCC has long ended its business. Now if I wanted any more jelly beans, I’d have to find another way to get my paws on ’em.
But what is it about these tiny candied treasures that get us all tingly with pleasure? How were they made? Who was the candy-coated genius behind these miraculous little babies?
Well, the history of the jelly bean is a little sticky (pun intended) as it is not clear exactly who founded it nor where it was made. But we can still dip our fingers into the gooey pot of the World Wide Web and trace our steps back a little … back to the 17th century.
The Mysterious Origin of the Jelly Bean
Some believed that jelly beans were a combination of the luscious, soft and chewy Middle Eastern sweet called Turkish Delight, which had been around for thousands of years and the hard candy shell of Jordan Almonds, a product of the 17th century.
Others believed that the origins of the jelly beans could be associated with Boston candy maker William Schrafft. He encouraged families to send his jelly beans to the Union troops during the Civil War as a form of saccharine support. After all, there is nothing better than a bagful of jelly beans to help take your mind off the psychological, mental and physical torture of war.
During the 1930s, jelly beans were popularly associated with Easter, most likely due to the shape of eggs and eventually became firmly rooted in the American culture. In the early 20th century, jelly beans became a widespread American treat and were sold along with other penny candies.
Even the former U.S. President Ronald Reagan could not keep away from the sugar-coated pull of the jelly beans. These jelly babies became his favourite treat and strong reason to stop him from smoking his pipe (whether it was a successful method, we did not know). The maker of the famous gourmet jelly beans, Jelly Belly, had created the Blueberry Jelly Belly, specially for the President.
Source: Candy Favourites
Well, that pretty much wraps up a rather brief history of the jelly bean. You can read up on National Geographic for more interesting titbits on jelly beans. If you want to know what they’re made with (besides the obvious fact that it is not made of jelly and consists wholly of starch and sugar), then you can find it at The Spruce Eats.
Here are the top 3 fun facts on jelly beans to treat your case of jelly bean withdrawal symptoms:
- U.S. manufacturers produce a whopping 16 billion jelly beans for Easter each year.
- Jelly beans became a regular penny candy in the 1900s and were the first candies to be sold by weight instead of price.
- Jelly beans were President Ronald Reagan’s favourites. A new flavour, Blueberry, was created by Jelly Belly solely for Reagan’s first inauguration. About 7,000 pounds of jelly beans were distributed for the event.
Source: Groovy Candies
Now I shall leave you to dreaming of these jelly belly babies while I kickstart a scavenger hunt for jelly beans. I just love the chocolate, toffee and vanilla flavoured ones! Oh yes, don’t forget to pay a tribute to jelly beans on April 22!