Today we celebrate the jelly bean. While the official National Jelly Bean Day is in April, July 31st was dubbed National Jump for Jelly Beans Day. This favorite candy are typically small, very colorful, have a round beany shape, an inner jelly center with a crisp candy coat and are mostly made from sugar, pectin and cornstarch.
While jelly beans may have existed much longer, William Schrafft, a candyman from Boston first brought them some attention. He recommended that these treats should be given to soldiers as a treat during the Civil War. The first media mention of jelly beans came in 1905 from the Chicago Daily News. Around the 1930s, jelly beans became an Easter candy staple. The original flavors were limited, but in 1965 there was a new bean in town.
How Jelly Bellies are made:
Jelly Belly, a family owned business, comprised of candymakers for more than 100 years made a change from typical jelly beans. Instead of merely flavoring the candy shell, they flavored the center as well. Thus creating a stronger flavored bean that is incredibly popular and can have people fighting over their favorite varieties.
“It's true! Whenever you whip out a pack of Jelly Bellies, everyone is always immediately shouting out their favorite flavors. And everyone has one. Just as long as I'm getting some bubblegum, root beer, juicy pear and piña colada saved I'm good,” said Michael Freeby, a photographer from San Diego.
According to Jana Sanders Perry, communications manager for Jelly Belly Candy Company, while the sour varieties are popular with kids, the top three flavors are Very Cherry, Buttered Popcorn and Licorice.
Some fans were surprised that licorice was so popular, but apparently it is.
“I friggin' LOVE the black licorice flavored Bellies. Every time I'm at a party or an event where there are Jelly Bellies (and if an event doesn't have Bellies, what’s the point?). I will pick out every single black licorice flavored jelly and eat them throughout the night. And luckily for me, very few people seem to like them, so there's always tons of them to be had,” said Alex Blynn, a publicist from Brooklyn New York.
Like any candy that wants to keep relevant and get new fans, Jelly Belly keeps adding new flavors to the more than 100 flavor profile. Recently, they added Organic Beans into their collection. Jelly Belly Organic Jelly Beans in ten are available assorted flavors and five sour flavors.
“We were also thrilled to move into the organic market earlier this year with the launch of Organic Jelly Beans and Organic Fruit Flavored Snacks,” said Sanders Perry. “Organic isn’t as much a trend as it is a lifestyle now.”
Healthy isn’t the only thing that’s new. Inspired by Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans from the Harry Potter series, gross flavors like vomit, dirt and booger were added to the collection. With the success of that came their invention Beanboozled.
“We’ve seen a lot of success with our BeanBoozled collection, a game with lookalike pairs of jelly beans in which one flavor in the pair is delicious and the other is intentionally unpleasant. There are more than one million YouTube videos with consumers playing the game! BeanBoozled is a different flavor experience than what you’d typically expect from Jelly Belly, but it’s so social and fun to play that it has grown tremendously in the last few years,” said Sanders Perry.
Gross Jelly Bean Challenge
People don’t just like to eat them. People also make art with them. In fact, Jelly Belly has an art gallery of pictures made completely out of Jelly Bellies.
“Jelly Belly Art has been around in the 1980s. Today we work with an artist in residence to create large, beautiful mosaics made from Jelly Belly beans. We have so many colors to choose from, the candy makes a great artist’s palette. Each bean is placed by hand, and final pieces use around 15,000 Jelly Belly Beans. We also display some pieces from our private collection of Jelly Belly Art at our Visitor Centers to share with our guests,” said Sanders Perry.
— beaker's adventures (@beakeradventure) July 2, 2016
Also, the popular guess the bean game has taken quite a turn as Kurt Heckman, President vCalc LLC from Frederick, MD developed counter to help win the game, but also teach some principles of math.
Here is the calculator: https://www.vcalc.com/wiki/KurtHeckman/Jelly+Bean+Guess
“The world needs more jelly beans,” said Heckman.
Let’s all Jump for Jelly Beans.