The Story of Jelly Beans

The Story of Jelly BeansJelly beans are small bean-shaped sugar candies with soft candy shells and thick gel interiors. The confection comes in a wide variety of colors and flavors, and is primarily made of sugar.

History

The Story of Jelly BeansIt is generally thought that jelly beans first surfaced in 1861, when Boston confectioner William Schrafft urged people to send his jelly beans to soldiers during the American Civil War. It was not until July 5, 1905, that jelly beans were mentioned in the Chicago Daily News. The advertisement publicized bulk jelly beans sold by volume for nine cents per pound, according to the book The Century in Food: America’s Fads and Favorites. Today, most historians contend that jelly beans were first linked with celebrations of Easter in the United States sometime in the 1930s for their egg-like shape.

The American National Jelly Bean Day is on April 22.

Manufacture

The Story of Jelly BeansThe basic ingredients of jelly beans include sugar, corn syrup, and pectin or starch. Relatively minor amounts of the emulsifying agent lecithin, anti-foaming agents, an edible wax such as beeswax, salt, and confectioner’s glaze are also included. The ingredients that give each bean its character are also relatively small in proportion and may vary depending on the flavor.

Most jelly beans are sold as an assortment of around eight different flavors, most of them fruit-based. Assortments of “spiced” jellybeans and gumdrops are also available, which include a similar number of spice and mint flavors. The colors of jelly beans often correspond with a fruit and a “spiced” flavor.

The Story of Jelly BeansSome premium brands, such as Jelly Belly and The Jelly Bean Factory, are available in many different flavors, including berry, tropical fruit, soft drink, popcorn, licorice, and novelty ranges, in addition to the familiar fruit and spice flavors. While these are also sold as assortments, individual flavors can be individually purchased from distributors. A version of the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans from the Harry Potter series was made commercially available and included flavors described as earwax, dirt, pepper, and vomit.

Slang

In the electronics industry, a “jelly bean” component is one which is widely available, used generically in many applications, and has no very unusual characteristics—as though it might be grabbed out of a jar in handfuls when needed, like jelly beans. For example, the μA741 might be considered a jelly bean op amp.

The Story of Jelly BeansIn United States slang in the 1910s and early 1920s, a “Jellybean” or “Jelly-Bean” was a young man who dressed stylishly to attract women but had little else to recommend him, similar to the older terms dandy and fop and the slightly later drugstore cowboy. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a story about such a character, The Jelly-Bean, in 1920. In William Faulkner’s 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury, Jason complained bitterly about his niece Quentin’s promiscuity, remarking that even “the town jellybeans” gave her the “go-by”.

The song “Jelly Bean (He’s a Curbstone Cutie)” was made popular in the 1940s by Phil Harris. It was written by Jimmie Dupre, Sam Rosen, and Joe Verges and published in New Orleans in 1920 by Universal Music Publishers, Inc.

Should you by any chance fancy a look at Jelly Bean (He’s a Curbstone Cutie)  lyrics you can check it out HERE

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