Candy Corn

A special autumn treat for years has been ‘candy corn’. Yet, how did this favorite for generations get started?

It dates back to the 1880s, so your great, great grandparents. It began with George Renninger, who worked at the Wunderlee Candy Company, who invented it. The Wunderlee company started manufacturing the candy. Bu 1898 candy corn was produced by the Goelitz Candy Company (later known as Jelly Belly Candy Co.) It was not an easy process early on. It was made with sugar, corn syrup, honey and other ingredients all cooked in large pots. Added to the mixture were marshmallows and fondant to add texture. With 45 pounds of this warm candy, it was poured into runners (aka buckets). The workers walked backward pouring the candy into cornstarch trays imprinted with the kernel shape / pyramid-shaped. After three passes the white, yellow and orange colors were produced. The colors represent the Fall season. With its shape and colors, it was nicknamed ‘chicken feed’.

In the early 1900s, it was known as ‘penny candy’ and many times sold in bulk, very affordable.

Since it was difficult to make it was only made between August and October, so by 1940 it was mainly associated with Halloween. Nowadays, candy corn is made with machines, much easier and can be made year-round. The Goelitz’s factory in New Jersey caught fire prior to October in 1950 and the entire factory was destroyed along with 2,000 pounds of candy corn. One of the latter largest manufacturers is Brach’s Confections. October 30th is recognized as ‘National Candy Corn Day”.

During the other seasons, there are various other types, such as Valentine’s’ Cupid Corn’ that is red and pink. At Christmas, there is ‘Reindeer Corn’ that is red and green. For Easter is ‘Bunny Corn’ that is various colors such as green, yellow, pink and purple. Even an Independence Day ‘Freedom Corn’ is made with red, white and blue.

So you can be sure most likely your ancestors enjoyed their share of this long-standing treat of candy corn.

Photo: Traditional Candy Corn pieces.

Related Blogs:

Childhood Candies of the 1950s

Facts Your Ancestors Knew

Family Desserts

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