There is one Halloween candy that is more divisive than politics and religion, the American Civil War, or even Coke vs. Pepsi…Candy Corn. Ask the average trick-or-treaters on your neighborhood streets about their feelings toward candy corn and you will most assuredly have half that praise it’s honey-flavored goodness and half that refer to it as tri-colored ear wax. Whether you are pro-candy corn or in the dissenting minority, the candy has a pretty interesting history. Would you like to hear it? I knew you’d say “yes, please!”
George Renniger, a candy-maker, worked at the Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the 1880s, Renniger invented a candy made of sugar, fondant, corn syrup, vanilla flavoring, and marshmallow creme. Ingredients were cooked in large kettles until it took on a slurry-like consistency. The slurry was then transferred into buckets and transported to the kernel-shaping molds. Workers walked backwards pouring the hot slurry into kernel-shaped molds, coated with cornstarch to prevent sticking as it cooled. Workers made three passes over the molds, each time with a different color of slurry all to achieve an authentic corn kernel-like appearance. The molding process was quite extensive and strenuous, considering neither air-conditioners nor electric fans had yet been invented. Like most foodstuffs of the times, candy corn was sold in bulk. It was packed in wooden barrels, buckets, or cartons and delivered by wagon or train to general stores within short distances.
In 1898, the Goelitz Confectionery Company’s Ohio factory began producing their variation of candy corn and boasts the longest history of making the candy in the industry. Candy corn became so successful for the company that it sustained them through World War I, The Great Depression, and World War II. You might not know the name “Goelitz Confectionery Company” today but the company still exists and still manufactures enough candy to circle the earth more than five times over…you may know them as Jelly Belly.
Fun Facts about Candy Corn
- Candy corn is one of the healthier Halloween candies:
- Candy corn is fat-free
- One kernel is just over 4 calories
- A one ounce serving is 110 calories
- Roughly 9 billion kernels of candy corn are sold each year.
- Candy corn hasn’t always been corn-shaped. In the 19th-century, candy-makers created these fondant-based candies in shapes of chestnuts, clover leaves, and turnips.
- When Goelitz first created candy corn, they called it “chicken feed” and the boxes were illustrated with a rooster and the slogan “something worth crowing for.”
For more odd Halloween trivia, Halloween-themed books and DVDs,
or to sample some candy corn, drop by the HCC Library.
Broek, Sara. “The history of candy corn: a Halloween candy favorite.” Better Homes and Gardens http://www.bhg.com 2014.
“Candy corn by the makers of Jelly Belly.” JellyBelly.com 2014.
Prokop, Jessica. “The surprising history of candy corn.” CandyFavorites.com 2012.