Jelly Beans: What’s Your Favorite Color?

Jelly beans —  little nuggets of sweetness that come in multitudes of colors and flavors.  Their gummy insides might have originated centuries ago from the treat, Turkish Delight.  Their outsides are basically the same as the colored hard candy coating, developed in the late 17th century, for the Jordan almond.  The modern jelly bean appeared during the American Civil War when Boston’s William Schraft encouraged sending candy to Union soldiers.  Because of their egg shape they became popular as Easter candy around 1930.

Although standard jelly beans come in fruit flavors, there are now so many flavors — some goofy, some sophisticated — like spiced, mint, gourmet, tropical, popcorn, bubble gum, pepper, and cola.  They also now come in a sugar free version (seems weird, but true – wonder how many chemicals are in those).

What’s In Jelly Beans?

Jelly beans are primarily made of sugar and also usually contain gelatin, corn syrup, modified food starch, and less than 0.5% of citric acid, sodium citrate, artificial flavors, confectioners glaze, pectin, carnauba wax, white mineral oil, magnesium hydroxide, and artificial colors (takes some of the fun out of them, doesn’t it).

They may give you Technicolor insides, but they are fat free.  On average:

  • 10 small jelly beans (11g) have 41 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no protein, and 10.3 grams of carbs.
  • 10 large jelly beans (1 oz or 28g) have 105 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no protein, and 26.2g carbs.
  • 10 Jelly Bellies have 40 calories, no fat, no protein, and 10g carbs.

Some Jelly Bean Trivia

  • Jelly Belly jelly beans were invented in 1976. They were the first jelly beans to be sold in single flavors and to come with a menu of flavors.
  • It takes 7 to 21 days to make a single Jelly Belly jelly bean.
  • Very Cherry was the most popular Jelly Belly flavor for two decades until 1998, when Buttered Popcorn took over. Very Cherry moved back into the top spot by only 8 million beans in 2003.
  • Jelly Bellies were the first jelly beans in outer space – sent on the 1983 flight of the space shuttle Challenger by President Reagan.
  • Enough Jelly Belly beans were eaten in the last year to circle the earth more than five times.

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