Saturday, November 6, 2010

What Jelly Beans Are Made Of

One of my all-time favorite Christmas sweets is the jelly bean. As a child, the variety of colors and flavors in a single bucket of these candies is like heaven to my eyes. The bursts of flavors that I love are lemon, strawberry, raspberry, lime and orange. And since a kid I already wondered what these jellybeans are made of. Read on to know what makes these candies so delicious.

To soften the texture of jelly beans, corn syrup is added. It also adds volumes to candies and prevents the crystallization of sugar. It also acts as a preservative and it enhances flavor of any candies. Christmas sweets candies that also use corn syrups are the smooth cola bottles and pastilles. Corn syrup is also known as glucose syrup and is made from corn starch but can be also extracted from wheat, rice and potatoes. Aside from candies, this versatile syrup is also used in making chocolates, breads and ice creams.

As a thickening agent, candy manufacturers of jellybeans use starch. It is also used as a stabilizer in foods like puddings, custards, soups, sauces, and salad dressings. Aside from jellybeans, wine gums from Christmas sweets are being manufactured with the use of starch. For easy manufacturing, they level a tray with starch and press a positive mold into it leaving thousands of jellybean impressions. Then, they pour down the jelly bean mixture to be cooked in a stove. Instead of manufacturing thousands of molds, starch filled trays replace them.

Jelly beans are also added with lecithin. This fatty substance also controls crystallization of sugar, reduces viscosity and is widely used to replace more expensive ingredients. Moreover, it also improves shelf life of candies, improves texture and flavor release. Eating Christmas sweets candies with lecithin is also good for the health. Aside from the happy feeling it can give, lecithin enriched candies are also a source of good cholesterol. The major source of lecithin is soybean oil, but nowadays they are also derived from sunflower oil.

Finally, jelly beans will not be attractive to the palate if it doesn't contain any flavor. This is why manufacturers make use of fruit or spice extracts. The standard flavors of these candies are strawberry, orange, lemon, lime, grape, orange, lemonade, liquorice and raspberries. All of these flavors are available in Christmas sweets together with spiced ones like clove, mint, cinnamon and wintergreen.

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