Jellybeans: 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 Jellybean
The gummy insides of the jellybean might be related to the centuries old treat, Turkish Delight. And their outsides bring to mind the colored hard candy coating, developed in the late 17th century, for the Jordan almond.
The modern jellybean became popular during the American Civil War when Boston’s William Schraft encouraged sending candy to Union soldiers and the jellybean held up well.
Jellybeans were the first bulk candy. They were first sold by weight as penny candy in the early 1900s – bulk jellybeans for 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 jellybeans come in fruit flavors but there are 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 jellybeans – 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?
How do you eat your jellybeans? 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?
Jellybeans 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?).
Originally, there was just the traditional jellybean, which has flavor only in the shell. In 1976, the Jelly Belly (Goelitz) Candy Company introduced gourmet jellybeans. Unlike traditional jellybeans, Jelly Bellies are smaller and softer than the traditional kind and are flavored both inside and outside. Jelly Belly makes about 50 different flavors of gourmet jellybeans.
How Many Calories Are In Jellybeans?
Even though they may give you Technicolor insides, jellybeans are fat free. On average:
- 10 small jellybeans (11g) have 41 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no protein, and 10.3 grams of carbs
- 10 large jellybeans (1oz or 28g) have 105 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no protein, and 26.2g carbs
- 10 Jelly Bellies have 40 calories (4 calories a piece), or about 100 calories in a single serving (25 beans)
Some Jelly Belly Jellybean Trivia
- Jelly Bellies were invented in 1976. They were the first jellybeans 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 jellybean.
- 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 jellybeans do contain gelatin, but Jelly Bellies don’t. According to the Jelly Belly website, they are suitable for vegetarians although strict vegans may have issues with the beeswax and shellac that are 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 jellybeans but does use cornstarch as the modified food starch.
- Jelly Bellies 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. Teenee Beanee jelly beans and Just Born jellybeans are Pareve & O/U; Jelly Bellies are certified OU Kosher.
For 99 cents you can get the lowdown on Easter Candy. Check out my ebook Easter Candy Facts and Fun on Amazon. You’ll spend less than you would on jelly beans. It’s also way fewer calories than a chocolate bunny!