As we are celebrating the spirit of Halloween, it seems only fitting to give some insight on one of the biggest things during this time - candy. More specifically, Halloween candy. (You know what we are revering to). The classical skittles, candy corn and off course the famous black liquorice.
Lance Geiger of The History Guy, has yet again provided his fellow followers an insightful look into the past. This time he went back into the history of famous Halloween candy and explained how these popular candy such as black liquorice, Circus Peanuts, and Candy Corn became to be connected to the Halloween spirit. “Circus Peanuts, Black Liquorice, and Candy Corn are possibly the most divisive Halloween treats. Each, however, has its own history that has allowed them to, perhaps surprisingly, have endured to show up in trick-or-treat bags and candy aisles for generations,” Geiger explained.
Did your grandmother or great grand mother always had a pack of the classical liquorice laying around? There was probably a greater thing to liquorice than just having a remarkable taste. Geiger starts off by explaining the history of liquorice by nothing its ancient natural origins and its incredible medicinal uses.
He explained, “Black liquorice flavour comes from a plant, a legume, which is widely distributed in Central and Western Asia Europe, and North Africa. Specifically, it comes from the plant’s root, which has a sweetness 30 to 50 times greater than sucrose. The word liquorice comes from a corruption of the original Greek term and means sweet root. The root has been ingested in various forms for Millennia."
He then continues to try and understand the surprising Circus Peanuts. Why are they orange and why banana flavouring.
Spangler Candy luckily offers a behind-the-scenes look at the process, and celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern explains the flavour in his book, Andrew Zimmern’s Field Guide to Exceptionally Weird, Wild, & Wonderful Foods. “Rumour has it, the weird choice to make them banana flavoured stuck after a freak banana oil accident.”
Lastly Geiger delved into the history of the famous Candy Corn.
“Candy Corn’s origins date to the 1800s. There’s some disagreement, however. It’s usually said to have been invented in Philadelphia by German immigrant Philip Wonderly in 1865, Wonderly arrived in the United States and in 1871 began making candy in Philadelphia and in 1876 was joined by George Renegar according to Wonderly’s children. Renegar is said had to have invented buttercream or the material for candy corn in 1888. Renegar’s early works were shaped like acorns turnips and pumpkins the exact genesis of the Candy Corn is less clear.
Maybe we keep them around because they have such a wonderful history. You could call that nostalgia, you could call that tradition, you could even call that provenance, or you could simply acknowledge that history deserves to be remembered.”