Over the decades, jelly beans have been real troopers. Of course, pectin, gelatin, and other chewy based candies were being munched on by kids as far back as the start of recorded history, but the literal jelly bean, since its birth in the late 1800’s has really shown itself to be resilient, fighting nobly against the hundreds of sweet innovations that followed over the next hundred plus years.
They still truck along, selling just fine in their classic Jelly Belly colors. You know, the kind that when a bowl of them are set out, there is only a puddle of the black ones left behind at the end of the occasion. Now, however, there’s many more flavors than the infamous cherry, lemon, cream soda, tangerine, green apple, root beer, grape and licorice. There are all manner and size of “gourmet” jelly beans, mimicking flavors of alcoholic drinks, exotic fruit, and a healthy variety of spices.
Jelly beans have not just stayed fresh in our mouths through the decades, they’ve even stayed fresh in our culture. America’s 40th President Ronald Reagan kept a jar in the oval office and aboard Airforce One back it the 1980s. Jelly beans of a very different variety were featured in the freakishly popular Harry Potter books and movies. So popular were the stories that The Jelly Belly Company created a line of “Bertie Bott’s Beans,” complete with pear, onion, pizza, and seventeen of the other sweet and bizarre flavors in the supporting character’s bag. Not included in the bag was ear wax flavor.
Of course, jelly beans have become a staple of children’s’ Easter celebrations, so much so that in the 2011 movie “Hop,” the Easter Bunny literally poops the stuff. There is still so much candy lying around my house from Halloween, Christmas, Easter and this severely unhealthy list, that jelly beans were easier to come by around my house than oak pollen in Spring.
These two little sacks of jelly beans were left over from a baby shower. They were the funky gourmet kind. The traditional flavors are really all I require, but I can handle this kind sometimes. There were also some Starburst brand beans in a ziplock left over from Easter, which are the brighter colored ones in the top picture. I liked those much better, especially the yellow ones.
My favorites are still the brown and the black ones. Sometimes, I wonder if that’s indicative of a boring personality. I do love root beer and black liquorice, though. All in all, it was a pretty happy National Jelly Bean Day.
See you Monday for National Cherry Cheese Cake Day!