Jelly Beans: Do You Eat Them By The Handful Or One-By-One?

Jelly beans: do you think they should they should come with a warning label, “STOP NOW or you’ll keep eating until they’re gone?”

Seriously – it’s pretty darn hard not to love those little nuggets of sweetness that come in multitudes of colors and flavors and get stuck in your teeth!

The Birth Of The Jelly Bean

The gummy insides of the jelly bean might be traced back centuries ago to the treat, Turkish Delight. Their outsides bring to mind the colored hard candy coating, developed in the late 17th century, for the Jordan almond.

The modern jelly bean became popular during the American Civil War when Boston’s William Schraft encouraged sending candy to Union soldiers.

Jelly beans were the first bulk candy.  They became one of the staples of penny candy that was sold by weight in the early 1900s —

first mentioned in an ad in The Chicago Daily News on July 5, 1905 for bulk jelly beans at nine cents a pound.

Around 1930 they became popular as Easter candy because of their egg shape, which represents spring, fertility, and resurrection.

The Many Flavors And Colors Of Jellybeans

Standard jelly beans come in fruit flavors but there’s a huge number of flavors available — some goofy, some sophisticated — like spiced, mint, gourmet, tropical, popcorn, bubble gum, pepper, and cola.  They also come in a sugar free version (seems weird, but true).

Whatever your flavor preference, Americans eat a whole lot of jelly beans – around 16 billion at Easter — enough to circle the globe nearly three times if all the Easter jellybeans were lined up end to end.

Handfuls Or One By One, And What Flavor?

Do you go for handfuls at a time or pick and choose your colors and eat them one by one?

  • 70% of kids ages 6–11 prefer to eat Easter jellybeans one at a time
  • 23% say they eat several at once
  • Boys (29%) are more likely to eat a handful than girls (18%)
  • Kids say their favorite Easter jellybean flavors are cherry (20%), strawberry (12%), grape (10%), lime (7%), and blueberry (6%).

What’s In The Hard Shelled Nugget Of Sweetness?

Jelly beans are primarily made of sugar and also usually contain gelatin (Jelly Bellies don’t), 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?).

Even though they may give you Technicolor insides, 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 (1oz or 28g) have 105 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no protein, and 26.2g carbs
  • Jelly Bellies have 4 calories in each bean, or about 100 calories in a single serving (25 beans)
with approximately 1 gram of carbohydrate per bean and no fat.

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

  • Jelly Bellies were invented in 1976. They were the first jelly beans to be sold in single flavors and to come with a menu of flavor choices.
  • 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.
  • Some jelly beans do contain gelatin, Jelly Bellies don’t and, according to the Jelly Belly website, are suitable for vegetarians although strict vegans may have issues with the beeswax and shellac that used to give them their final buff and polish.
  • Jelly Belly doesn’t use wheat, rye, barley, or oats in the basic recipe for Jelly Belly jelly beans but does use cornstarch as the modified food starch.
  • Jelly Belly beans have been certified kosher for the last two decades by the Kashrut supervision of KO Kosher Service.  Since 2007 all Jelly Belly products have been certified by the Orthodox Union.
  • Also Kosher: Teene Beanee Jelly Beans and Just Born Jelly Beans are Pareve and OU.

Easter Candy Tally

Eating 25 small jelly beans, 5 Peeps, a 1 3/4 ounce hollow chocolate bunny, and 1 Cadbury Creme Egg, which is not an unusual amount of Easter candy, tallies 730 calories.

You’d need to walk 7.3 miles, 11.77 kilometers, or 14600 steps, assuming you cover one mile in 2,000 steps to walk off that number of calories.  Sounds like a lot, but very doable over a few days.


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