The History of Jelly Beans: A Sweet Journey

Dec 22, 2023


Jelly beans, adored by both children and adults alike, have a history as colorful as their vibrant hues. The origins of these little delights can be traced back to ancient times, but their transformation into the beloved treat we know today took centuries.


The Origin of the Jelly Bean


The story of jelly beans begins with a candy called Turkish Delight. In the 9th century, Turkish delight, or “rahat locum,” emerged in the Middle East. This chewy, sugar-coated treat made its way to Europe, where it gained popularity among the elite. As the centuries rolled on, candy-making techniques evolved, setting the stage for the birth of the jelly bean.

Who Invented the Jelly Bean?


Fast forward to the 17th century when a process called panning was developed. Panning involved repeatedly coating sugar onto nuts or seeds, creating a hard candy shell. This technique laid the foundation for the outer shell of jelly beans. The earliest known mention of a jelly-like candy in the United States dates back to the 1860s when Boston confectioner William Schrafft encouraged customers to send his jelly candies to soldiers during the Civil War.

The real breakthrough came in the early 20th century when jelly beans were linked to Easter. Their egg-like shape made them a natural fit for the holiday, and their popularity soared. In the 1930s, jelly beans were associated with the penny candy craze and became a staple in candy shops across the nation.

However, it was during the 1960s that jelly beans truly entered the spotlight. President Ronald Reagan, a self-proclaimed jelly bean enthusiast, helped propel the candy to fame. He used them as a tool for quitting smoking and even had a jelly bean dispenser installed in the Oval Office.


The Modern Jelly Bean


Today, jelly beans come in a plethora of flavors, shapes, and sizes. They’ve become a symbol of celebration, joy, and indulgence, adorning Easter baskets, candy dishes, and holiday treats. From their ancient roots to the presidential seal of approval, the journey of jelly beans showcases the sweet evolution of a timeless treat that continues to bring smiles to faces around the world.


Our Most Popular Jelly Beans


Link to Fruit Bowl Assorted Flavors Jelly Beans (or another product, if preferred)







Jelly Bean FAQs


Are jelly beans gluten free?


Most traditional jelly beans are gluten-free as they are primarily made from sugar, starch, and other gluten-free ingredients. However, it’s important to check the specific brand or product, as some variations may contain added ingredients that may contain gluten.


Are jelly beans vegan?


Traditional jelly beans are considered vegan, as they are typically made from sugar, corn syrup, and other plant-based ingredients. However, it’s crucial to check the product label. Some brands might incorporate ingredients like gelatin, which is not vegan-friendly. Always verify the ingredients to ensure the jelly beans meet vegan dietary preferences.


Can dogs eat jelly beans?


It is not recommended to feed any type of jelly beans to dogs. Many jelly beans contain ingredients like sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other additives that can be harmful to dogs


Do jelly beans expire?


Jelly beans generally have a long shelf life and don’t have a strict expiration date. However, their quality, taste, and texture may deteriorate over time. The shelf life of jelly beans can be influenced by factors such as storage, exposure to moisture, and the specific ingredients used.


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