Food & Drink Magazine

Happy Jelly Bean Day!

By Marialiberati

guest blogger: Sarah Bauer

April 22 is National Jelly Bean Day!

Happy Jelly Bean Day!

Jelly beans are mostly made of sugar, starch, and glucose. This mixture is heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and poured into a starch mold to achieve the iconic shape. After that, they’re coated with another layer of liquid sugar and placed in a spinning machine where color and flavors are added. Another layer of sugar and edible wax are added to give the beans a glossy finish.

Jelly beans have an unclear history, but they first arrived in the U.S. in 1861. A Boston confectioner encouraged civilians to send jelly beans to the troops during the Civil War.

Jelly beans first became associated with Easter in the 1930’s.

Cherry, orange, lemon, lime, grape, licorice, lemonade and strawberry are the most common flavors, though a wide variety of other flavors are possible.

Gross jelly beans like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jelly Beans and the game Bean Boozled have become popular, but how do they get their gross flavors? Due to health and safety regulations, real vomit and snot are obviously not used. Instead, a lot of attention is paid to how the bean smells rather than how it tastes, as smell can have a huge influence on taste (there are even fruit-scented cups on the market that trick your brain into thinking you’re drinking fruit-infused water).

To make weird flavors of jelly beans, a gas chromatograph is used which analyzes a scent and reports its chemical or flavor makeup. This information is used to create the smell and thus the taste. It also goes through a taste test (which I would hope is a job that pays well).

The barf-flavored jelly bean was the result of a failure to make a pizza-flavored jelly bean.

The blueberry flavor was created for Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, and a jelly bean portrait of the jelly-bean-loving President hangs in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

For more food facts, great recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions- 2nd edition

Happy Jelly Bean Day!

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