Some Candies You Won’t Be Making for the Holidays

December 9, 2009 at 8:10 am 2 comments

close-up of a bowl of assorted candy

This time of year, some people fire up the stove to make home made candies. Maybe some walnut fudge? or how about candied orange peels?

We’re accustomed to the typical fruits and nuts that flavor our candy. But over the past century, some intrepid inventors have pushed the boundaries of “candy flavor” to experiment with new and strange candies:

Horseradish Bonbons: A recipe published in 1915 suggested boiling horseradish in sugar syrup, and using this as a base for a chewy candy treat. You can enjoy it as a snack, or as a side dish with your Roast Beef.

Candy from Cottonseed: The Saint Louis Cotton Oil Company found itself with a lot extra cottonseed on its hands in 1915. Why not cottonseed candy? They produced caramels and a chewy taffy-like candy. The project never took off, as the market value of the oil was too high to make the candy a practical proposition. But tasters found it agreeable, and said if they didn’t know what it was, they would have taken it for a good brand of molasses candy.

Alfalfa Candy: In 1915, a man in Montana claimed he could make 75 varieties of candy from alfalfa. This would be, I suppose, the sort of candy you would offer your horse or your hamster.

Lima Bean Taffy: How to get the kiddies to eat more vegetables? Hide them in the candy! A century before Jessica Seinfeld and the Sneaky Chef, Mary Elizabeth Hall came up with a whole cookbook of “alternative” vegetable candies. Vegetable candy seemed a great solution for intemperate candy lovers: it “furnishes the valuable element of sugar so combined with nutritious vegetable bases that, because of the bulk, there is no temptation to overeat!” Or, perhaps, because of the taste… (Candy-Making Revolutionized, 1912)

Alayam: This was an experimental candy made from sweet potatoes. The mid-century story of Alayam is an interesting case of what happens when agricultural policy meets the candy dish. Another “not quite ready for prime time” experiment, you can read more about it in the post about Alayam.

Entry filed under: Candies We Miss, Candy Making, Ingredients, Uncategorized. Tags: .

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Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

Welcome to Candy Professor

Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

Samira Kawash, PhD
Professor Emerita,
Rutgers University

(C) Samira Kawash

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