Posted in Daily, Food

Jelly with the Beans

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jelly beans.”  Ronald Reagan

What happens on hybridization of Turkish Delights ( sweet, chewy candy with powdery sugar coating) and Jordan almonds ( almonds encased in a crunchy sugar shell) ? Possibly it may lead to the creation of “the classic candy with a soft chewy center and thin crunchy coating” , famously known as “jelly beans”. For avid Harry Potter readers, “Bertie Botts” may sound familiar with flavours of Banana, Black Pepper, Blueberry, Booger, Candyfloss, Cherry, Cinnamon, Dirt, Earthworm, Earwax, Grass, Green Apple, Marshmallow, Rotten Egg, Sausage, Lemon, Soap, Tutti-Frutti, Vomit and Watermelon.

The exact origins of jelly beans aren’t known. While the Mid Eastern confection of Turkish delight has been there since B.C.; the shell coating process known as “panning” can be traced to the cooks of the Royal Court in 17th century France. Over time, as the two process made its’ way to the Americas and the earliest known appearance of Jelly Beans has been credited there. One commonly cited but unconfirmed proof was an advertisement (1861) for William Schrafft (Boston) promoting the delivery of jelly beans to soldiers in the Union Army duting the Civil War.

Initially, (late 1800s, early 1900’s) jelly beans were sold by weight as penny candy in general stores and taken home in paper bags. By 1930s, jelly beans became part of the Easter holiday partially as it fit in well with its’ round egg-like shape, which was a symbol of the renewal of spring.

Why “jelly” and “bean” ? With candy-makers trying out novelty shapes for candy, the Goelitz family candy-makers has archive lists with candies as vegetables, chestnuts, carrots and turnips as well as bunnies for Easter. Once the bean shaped soft jelly came with shell that won’t let them stick, the name “Jelly beans” have stayed on.

Ever since 1976, there have been two types of jelly beans, gourmet (smaller, softer with shell and middle both flavoured) and traditional (only shells are flavoured). Their basic ingredients include sugar, tapioca or corn syrup, pectin or starch with relatively minor amounts of the emulsifying agent lecithin, anti-foaming agents, an edible wax (carnauba wax, beeswax), salt, confectioner’s glaze and flavouring agents. Depending on the type and flavours, jelly beans take approximately six to ten days to be made. National Jelly Bean Day has been celebrated (April 22nd) by foodimentarians worldwide. With endless flavour possibilities available as well as satisfying the palate and creating edible works of modern art, their popularity still holds true today.

“Jelly beans! Millions and billions of purples and yellows and greens and licorice and grape and raspberry and mint and round and smooth and crunchy outside and soft-mealy inside and sugary and bouncing jouncing tumbling clittering clattering skittering fell on the heads and shoulders and hardhats and carapaces of the Timkin works, tinkling on the slidewalk and bouncing away and rolling about underfoot and filling the sky on their way down with all the colors of joy and childhood and holidays, coming down in a steady rain, a solid wash, a torrent of color and sweetness out of the sky from above, and entering a universe of sanity and metronomic order with quite-mad coocoo newness. Jelly beans!” ? Harlan Ellison (“Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman)