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GUMMY (GUMMI) CANDIES
The primary ingredients of gummy (gummi) candies include water, gelatin, sweeteners, flavors, and colors, and are a favorite type of non-crystalline candies. They are found in a wide multitude of shapes, colors and flavors.
The gelatin by itself is responsible for the candy's unique, gummy characteristics and they can range from soft to very firm, depending on the amount of used. Gelatin is degraded in high heat, so a concentrated solution is added to the sugar syrup after it has been cooked and mostly cooled. Since gelatin is a tasteless and odorless compound that contains no fat, sweeteners and flavorings are added to give gummy candy its taste. Corn syrup is used because it helps prevent the other sugars from crystallizing and ruining the gummy texture.
SARAH SAYS: GUMMY BEARS were invented in Germany in the 1920s (Haribo company), which led to the creation of many other kinds of "gummy" candies. Today, gummy candies are a big favorite in many countries; it gained great popularity in the United States during the 1980s.
Most experts believe the jelly center is a descendent of a Mid-Eastern confection known as Turkish Delight that dates back to Biblical times.
The shell coating is an offspring of a process called panning, first invented in 17th century France to make Jordan Almonds. The panning process, while done primarily by machine today, has remained essentially the same for the last 300 years. The French began by rocking almonds in a bowl filled with sugar and syrup until the almonds were coated with a candy shell.
Both of these processes made their way to America where jelly beans were invented. Jelly beans were just a common penny candy until the 1930s when their egg-like shape linked them with the Easter tradition. Sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch and flavorings make up jelly beans. Gourmet jelly beans have flavorings in the jelly center as well as in the outer shell. Regular jelly beans carry all their flavoring in their outer covering.
A jelly bean takes between six and 10 days to make. The corn syrup and sugar are mixed and piped into molds dusted with cornstarch to make the jelly centers. After drying overnight, the cornstarch is sprayed off the centers. The candies are moisturized with water, sprayed with sugar and left to dry for another 24 to 48 hours.
After the centers are set, they are put into drums that rotate as sugar, flavorings and coloring are slowly added to create the jelly bean shell. A light, clear glaze of sugar put into the drum makes the surfaces shiny. They are packed and shipped after being polished and shined for two to four days.
GUM DROPS (GUMDROPS)
They are usually brightly-colored and very sweet gelatin- or pectin-based candies, shaped like a truncated cone and then coated in granulated sugar. Gumdrops come in (usually artificial) fruit and spice or spice drop varieties