Saturday, November 6, 2010


   You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by the way he eats jellybeans, at least according to the widely quoted logic of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
   Reagan was so enamored of Jellybeans that he maintained a year round supply in the Oval Office and a perpetual stash on Air Force One, displayed in a special turbulence proof container.  He even launched them into space, in 1983, when he ordered that they be sowed as a presidential surprise on the space shuttle Challenger, for the amusement of the astronauts.
   Reagan's conclusion about the personalities of fellow jellybean aficionados may or may not prove true.  Still, it appears obvious that Americans have a considerable collective craving for the clever creation.  These days it would hardly be a holiday without jellybeans.

George Clooney jelly bean art

   The exact origin of the jellybean is somewhat foggy likely lost to time and a lack of permanent record keeping methods.  Most historians, however, agree that in the United
States, they were first linked with Easter in the 1930's.  That is when people began tucking them into Easter baskets likely because of their resemblance to small eggs, according to the Jelly Belly Company, the manufacturer of Reagan's self professed favorite brand of jelly beans.
   Eggs have long been a symbol of fertility and spring renewal associated with Easter.  The jelly bean's beguiling resemblance to small bird eggs was evident, and that along with their colorful appearance made them a natural addition to holiday festivities.
   The American appetite for jellybeans seems to be ravenous and growing annually, in the US, candy makers manufacture approximately 16 billion jellybeans annually.

   The Turkish Delight, a Middle Eastern candy made of soft jelly, covered in confectioner's powder, with roots dating to biblical days, inspired the jellybean's gummy interior.
   When formulating the jellybean the pioneering twist involved adding various new flavors and covering the jellied center with a semi-hard shell.  The method for making the glaze on the outside of the jellybean, was invented in 17th century France, and is known as panning.  It is the same process prior used to make the thin sweet shell surrounding Jordan almonds.
   Jellybeans first surfaced in America in 1861, when William Schrafft, a Boston confectioner, urged people to send his jellybeans to soldiers during the Civil war.

Jellybean sculpture

   The first recorded advertisement for jellybeans was published in the Chicago Daily News on July 5, 1905.  It publicized bulk jellybeans sold by volume for 9 cents a pound.
   Jellybeans were initially sold in general stores as penny candy displayed in glass jars, separated by individual flavors, and scooped into paper bags after the patron handpicked their selection.  Demand for the candy declined at the turn of the century.  Interest in them re energized during World War II due to a shortage of chocolate.  Most chocolate was sent to soldiers overseas prompting the deficit.
   For years the reigning traditions jellybean makers such as Brach's confectioners boasted an appealing but limited range of flavors and colors.  In the mid 1970's, gourmet jellybeans emerged when the Herman Goelitz Candy Company, now known as the Jelly Belly Candy Company, made jellybeans that were different in taste and texture.

   The palate pleasing amplification in flavor and choices thrust gourmet jellybeans to new heights of gastronomic popularity.
   Both traditional and gourmet jellybeans can take between 6 and 21 days to make, according to various manufacturers.  Differences in recipes give both gourmet and traditional beans a distinctive taste.  Moreover, both styles of beans have a solid share of stubbornly loyal cohorts.  The gourmet beans are usually smaller and softer than the traditional candy.  In addition, the gourmet beans always have flavors infused into the center jell as well as the exterior shell.  In contrast, the traditional jellybean typically have flavoring only in the shell, according the NCA.
   The life cycle of a jellybean begins when all the deliciously addictive ingredients needed to form the bean's sweet chewy center are boiled, then piped to casting trays to solidify.  A few days later, the panning process begins.  The beans roll in a drum, while sugar is gradually added to build up the shell around the soft center.  At this point colors and flavors are also introduced into the mix.  Soon after, confectioners glaze gives the shell a shiny appearance.  Lastly, the beans get a final polish prior to shipping.

   The flavors available for gourmet jellybeans are every evolving, and continually tested.  The process is restrained only by the outer limit of the manufacturer's imagination and the new arrival's marketability.
   Promising new jellybean versions take root in a chemistry laboratory where test batches of new flavors are conjured, and mulled, based on the results of marketing studies.  The batches are then examined by focus groups for taste and visual appeal, before emerging as a new shelf ready product.

   Indeed American consumers are apparently so charmed by the mouth water, teeth clinging treat that April 22 is designated National Jelly Bean Day.
   To satiate the curiosity of inquiring health conscious minds, an ounce of regular jellybeans contain approximately 100 calories.  The calories are mainly from carbohydrates.  Jellybeans contain no fat, no cholesterol, no fiber, and no protein.
   There are about 26 jellybeans in an ounce.
   In case you were wondering, 70 percent of children 6 to 11 claim to prefer eating jellybeans one at a time, while 23 percent profess a preference for gobbling them by the handful.  Slightly more boy at 29 percent said they prefer wolfing down a handful, while 18 percent of the girls admit to inelegantly eating jellybeans by loading a mouthful.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you interesting article...If you would like to know more about the history of the Jelly Belly I might direct your attention to a documentary that will air on November 27 and December 25 on the Documentary channel...It is called Candyman:the David Klein story and it airs at 8:00 pm eastern and pacific...The reason I know this is that my name is David Klein. I had 800.00 and a dream to create the best jelly bean in the world...The dream turned into a nightmare......All the Best david klein