Those little bits of sugary sweetness traditionally associated Easter celebrations have become a year-round treat.
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Anatomy of a Jelly Bean
If you can restrain yourself from popping a whole jelly bean into your mouth and just bite one in half, you will see that jelly beans have 3 layers. The center of the bean is a clear jelly. The jelly is encased in a sugar coating. The third and final layer is the candy shell.
The traditional jelly bean gets it brilliant color and fruity flavor from its candy shell. Gourmet beans, like the Jelly Belly brand, have flavor in both jelly layer and the candy coating. It is this flavoring process that give gourmet jelly beans their intense, unique taste.
The Bean Is Born
To made the jelly center sugar, corn starch, corn syrup and proprietary ingredients are mixed and heated in large boilers until the mixture combines to form a sugar syrup. The molten syrup is then poured into corn starch-coated jelly bean molds. The mold are transfers to a drying rooms where the syrup is allowed cool and set forming the jelly center of the beans.
The jelly centers are run under sprayers than shower the beans with the sugar layer. Again the beans are allowed time to dry. Finally the beans are placed into huge spinning drums that gradually add the outer candy coating to the beans. Some candy makers polish their beans to give their product a shiny finish.
The whole process can take from 6 to 10 day for traditional jelly beans and up to 21 days for the gourmet beans.