Jelly beans come in a multitude of flavors and colors
|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredient(s)||Sugar, corn syrup, starch|
The Turkish Delight, a Middle Eastern sweet made of soft jelly, covered in confectioner's powder, was an early precursor to the jelly bean that inspired its gummy interior. However, it is generally thought that jelly beans first surfaced in 1861 when Boston confectioner William Schrafft urged people to send his jelly beans to soldiers during the American Civil War. It was not until July 5, 1905 that the mentioning of jelly beans was published in the Chicago Daily News. The advertisement publicized bulk jelly beans sold by volume for nine cents per pound, according to the book The Century in Food: America's Fads and Favorites. Today, most historians contend that in the United States they were first linked with Easter in the 1930s.
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The basic ingredients of jelly beans include sugar, corn syrup, and starch. Relatively minor amounts of the emulsifying agent lecithin, anti-foaming agents, an edible wax such as beeswax, salt, and confectioner's glaze are also included. The ingredients that give each bean its character are also relatively small in proportion and may vary depending on the flavor.
Most jelly beans are sold as an assortment of around eight different flavors, most of them fruit based. Assortments of "spiced" jellybeans and gumdrops are also available, which include a similar number of spice and mint flavors. The colors of jelly beans often correspond with a fruit and a "spiced" flavor.
Some premium brands, such as Jelly Belly and The Jelly Bean Factory, are available in many different flavors, including berry, tropical fruit, soft drink, popcorn, licorice, and novelty ranges, in addition to the familiar fruit and spice flavors. While these are also sold as assortments, individual flavors can be individually purchased from distributors. A version of the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans from the Harry Potter series was made commercially available and included flavors described as earwax, dirt, pepper, and vomit.
There are other candy products which also have a hard candy shell and a gummy interior, such as Skittles. However, these are not marketed as jelly beans and are not typically referred to as such.
In United States slang in the 1910s and early 1920s a "Jellybean" or "Jelly-Bean" was a young man who dressed stylishly to attract women but had little else to recommend him; similar to the older terms dandy and fop and the slightly later drugstore cowboy. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a story about such a character, The Jelly-Bean in 1920. The song, "Jelly Bean (He's a Curbstone Cutie)", was made popular in the 1940s by Phil Harris. It was written by Jimmie Dupre, Sam Rosen, and Joe Verges and published in New Orleans in 1920 by Universal Music Publishers, Inc.
In the semiconductor industry, a "jelly bean" component is one which is widely available, used generically in many applications, and has no very unusual characteristics—as though it might be grabbed out of a jar in handfuls when needed, like jelly beans. For example, the 741 might be considered a jelly bean operational amplifier.
Popular culture usage 
- "Jelly Beans: A Colorful History and Association with Easter". AT&T.
- "How Products are Made - Volumes - Jelly Beans". Gale-Edit. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
- Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Matthew Joseph Bruccoli, Judith Baughman, "The Jelly-Bean", Before Gatsby: the first twenty-six stories, p. 341
- Zoom and Pan: Babe: Pig in the City
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