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A Sweet Look at the History of Jelly Beans

Nothing screams “Easter!” quite like a delicious handful of jelly beans, don’t you think?! Kids and adults alike love munching on these little sugary sweet treats, full of both sweet and savory flavors. While fruity tends to be the classic go-to, candy producers such as Jelly Belly have been a bit more creative in their tastes, with flavors such as toothpaste, glass, and lint!

Regardless of whether you opt for fruity flavors such as lemon or watermelon, or you dare to indulge on those unique tastes, it still remains a mystery as to where these little guys originated! However, we do know a few things…

Throughout the centuries, jelly beans have taken many forms before becoming what we know today. In ancient Rome, Turkish Delights were comparable to today’s modern jelly beans. Turkish Delights were made of a jelly-like sugar and rosewater mixture coated with powdered sugar. Over the decades this recipe was adapted to include different flavors and ingredients. Somewhere in history – though it is unknown where – a candy coating was introduced, which paved the way for jelly beans as we now know them.

Americans first began munching on today’s modern jelly beans during the Civil War when they were commonly sent to soldiers as a sweet (un-meltable) treat. In the 1930s, jelly beans made their way into Easter baskets. They were small, flavorful, and again, didn’t melt, making them the perfect spring-time treat! Today, Americans consume close to 16 billion jellybeans at Easter time.

While the true history of jelly beans remains a mystery, there’s no denying that we sure do love this classic Easter candy!

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