The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”
For today’s Did You Know fun food facts we will look at Marshmallows.
The Facts: Ancient Egyptians were the first to enjoy a gooey treat now called marshmallow as early as 2000 BC. The treat was considered very special and it was reserved for gods and royalty.
- Marshmallow was made from the mallow plant (Athaea officinalis) that grows wild in marshes. The term marshmallow was derived both from the native home of the plant and the plant name. Mallow is native to Asia and Europe and has been naturalized in America. The Egyptians squeezed sap from the mallow plant and mixed it with nuts and honey. However, no one knows what the candy looked like in those times.
- The French were introduced to marshmallow in the early to mid-1800s. Owners of small candy stores whipped sap from the mallow root into a fluffy candy mold. This time-consuming process was typically done by hand. Candy stores had a hard time keeping up with the demand. Candy makers started looking for a new process to make marshmallows and found the starch mogul system in the late 1800s. It allowed candy makers to create marshmallow molds made of modified cornstarch. At this same time, candy makers replaced the mallow root with gelatin and this created the marshmallow stable form.
- August 30th is National Toasted Marshmallow Day.
- Marshmallows were introduced and popularized in the United States in the early 1900s, after the new manufacturing process was developed.
- In 1948, Alex Doumak revolutionized the process for manufacturing marshmallows. He created and patented the extrusion process. This process involves taking the marshmallow ingredients and running it through tubes. Afterwards, ingredients are cut into equal pieces and packaged. In the 1950s, marshmallows became extremely popular in the United States and were used in a variety of food recipes.
- Americans buy 90 million pounds of marshmallows each year, about the same weight as 1,286 gray whales.
- The marshmallow capital of the world is in Ligonier, Noble County, Indiana.
- Ligonier is also the home of the Annual Marshmallow Festival.
- Each summer more than 50% of all marshmallows sold are toasted over a fire.
- The largest s’more ever made weighed 1,600 lbs. and used 20,000 toasted marshmallows and 7,000 chocolate bars. The record was set on May 23, 2003.
Marshmallow Facts We Missed
If so, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We always love to add to these lists. If we can verify that the facts is just that, a fact, we will give the reader credit in the article.
Reference: Wikipedia: Fun Facts about Marshmallow.