Wonder Contributors

Today at Wonderopolis, we are celebrating our 3rd birthday! After reading today’s sweet Wonder, click here to see some cool ways we are celebrating.  

Do you like beans? You’re probably saying, “That depends upon what kind of beans you’re talking about!” Green beans? Black beans? Pinto beans? Lima beans? There are many kinds of beans out there.

We bet there’s one kind of bean that almost all of you like, though. It’s hard on the outside and soft on the inside. And they’re usually really sweet and tasty. What are we talking about? Jelly beans, of course!

Jelly beans are a popular type of candy. They’re shaped like a bean with a solid outer shell and a soft interior. They also come in a rainbow of colors and a wide variety of flavors. Their main ingredient is sugar, but there are other ingredients that give them their unique shape and texture.

To make jelly beans, manufacturers heat liquid sugar to about 350 °F. They then mix in starch and glucose. The combined mixture is then poured into starch molds shaped like beans. They let the mixture dry in the molds for a day to give them their unique chewy texture.

After they’re removed from the molds, the jelly beans are steamed and coated with more liquid sugar and then placed into a spinning machine. As the jelly beans are spun constantly, artificial colors and flavors are added to give them their final coloring and taste.

Toward the end of the process, grains of sugar are added to the spinning machine about four times. It is this granular sugar that gives the jelly beans their hard outer shell. Finally, hot syrup and wax are added to the spinning machine at the very end to give the jelly beans their final polished, glossy look.

Once they’re finished, the jelly beans are dried and packaged. Sometimes jelly beans are packaged and sold in individual flavors. Much of the time, though, they are sold in packages of mixed flavors to give jelly bean fans a wide variety of flavors.

The history of jelly beans is a bit unclear. Some people believe their chewy insides were inspired by Turkish Delight, a Middle Eastern treat made of jelly and covered in powdered sugar. Jelly beans may have made their first appearance in the United States in 1861, when Boston confectioner William Schrafft encouraged customers to send his jelly beans to soldiers during the Civil War. Historians believe jelly beans first became linked with the Christian holiday of Easter in the 1930s.

Some of the most common jelly bean flavors include cherry, orange, lemon, lime, grape, licorice, lemonade and strawberry. Many gourmet flavors are available from specialty manufacturers, too. Examples of gourmet flavors include raspberry, coconut and popcorn.

42 Join the Discussion

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  1. I think jelly beans are good and I now I see that jelly beans are made out of some sugar jelly made out of sugar and now I know why I like them cause I like sugar.

  2. First jellybeans are made in a factory. First they take beans. They put them in a bucket. They add color. They put them in a can and ship them away.

    • Nice work, Carson, you did a great job of describing the process of making jelly beans! WOOHOO! We bet you’d be a great food scientist! :)

  3. THOUGHT: I thought this was cool

    CONNECTION: I love jelly beans.

    WWOTD:

    PREDICTION: I bet tomorrow’s wonder will be about life.

    • Thanks for joining the fun and WONDERing with us today, Alex! We are so glad you’re here and we hope you can enjoy some delicious jelly beans soon! :)

  4. THOUGHT: I thought jelly beans were made from jelly.

    CONNECTION: I made jelly beans before.

    PREDICTION: Jelly beans are not good

    WWOTD:

    • Hi Timothy! It sounds like you are a jelly bean expert! We Wonder how long it look you to make your own jelly beans… what’s your favorite flavor? :)

  5. THOUGHT:I have watched a show of how to make jelly beans.
    CONNECTION: At home we have a container full of jelly beans.
    PREDICTION: It will be about not having enough money or you don’t have money to buy food.

    • Hi Jeremiah, thanks for sharing your awesome comment today! We Wonder if you play guessing games to predict how many jelly beans are in the container at home! We think you’ll enjoy our Wonder tomorrow – have a great day! :)

  6. THOUGHT : I love jelly beans, but I hate the multiple color ones.
    CONNECTION : I’ve seen a jellybean inside a raspberry.

    • Hey there, Garrett! You did a great job summarizing the ingredients that are used to make jelly beans! While jelly beans are not entirely made of wax, there is some edible wax used to keep them together! You learn something new everyday at Wonderopolis! :)

  7. THOUGHT:I think jelly beans are disgusting.

    CONNECTION:On Halloween they give away free candy such as jelly beans.

    PREDICTION:I think tomorrow will be about what you do now affects your future.

  8. THOUGHT:I liked the video.
    CONNECTION:I like jelly beans.
    PREDICTION:not having enough money to get things.

    • Hi there Jeremiah and Elizabeth! Thanks for sharing your comments – we love learning more about our Wonder Friends! Even if jelly beans are not your favorite candy (or perhaps you like them, too), we’re glad you learned something new with us! We hope to see you again soon! :)

  9. THOUGHT: I like the video.

    CONNECTION: I like jelly beans.

    PREDICTION: I predict that tomorrow’s wonder will be about our lives

    EXAMPLE: NONE

    WWOTD: NONE

  10. THOUGHT:I have watched a show of how to make jelly beans.

    CONNECTION: I made a snot flavored jelly bean.

    PREDICTION: I think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about not having enough money or you don’t have money to buy food.

    • Hi Jenna and Tam! What a treat to Wonder with you today!

      We think it’s cool to dream up a crazy flavor jelly bean… perhaps we can make a burrito-flavored jelly bean and pair it with a salsa jelly bean! YUM! :)

      We hope to see you soon! :)

  11. THOUGHT:I like jelly beans a lot.

    CONNECTION:I have 3 big jars of jelly beans.

    PREDICTION:I predict that tomorrow’s wonder is about being poor

    • Thanks for sharing your WONDERful comments, Keith and Kaylee! You have some totally awesome things to share and we hope that you will come back to Wonder with us again soon!

      We Wonder if there is a candy, bread, or food factory near your neighborhood. It would be super cool to visit with a parent or teacher to learn more about the process of creating food! :)

  12. Just a note to tell you that you are doing a fabulous job! I saw a presentation recently that introduced our family to your site and now use the Wonder of the Day to kickoff the day with homeschooling our two kids, aged 10 & 8 years. I love that your site exists for all families. Thank you!

    • Thank you so very much, Crystal! We’re thrilled that you and your family are WONDERing together and we’re honored to be a part of that special family time. We are very happy to hear that you’re starting the day off with reading, learning, and of course, WONDERing! Thanks for making us smile! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Wonder Friend! We’re glad you like jelly beans of all kinds – we bet you have a family member or friend who would trade you for those black licorice flavor ones! :)

    • Great question, Aiyanna Room6! Perhaps you can do some research with the help of a teacher or librarian to learn more about the number of jelly beans produced in a year! :)

    • They sure do, Caitlin! Each different flavor has its very own color! Cherry jelly beans are red, lemon jelly beans are yellow and tangerine flavored jelly beans are orange! We Wonder how many different colors jelly beans can be! Thanks for WONDERing with us, today! :)

  13. That is cool how jelly beans were made!!!!! I didn’t know that toward the end of the process, grains of sugar are added to the spinning machine about four times. I bet you a lot of people liked this article.

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How are jelly beans made?
  • What are the most popular jelly bean flavors?
  • Can you make jelly beans at home?

Wonder Gallery

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Try It Out

1. So what’s your favorite jelly bean flavor? Strawberry? Lemon? Raspberry? Cherry? Licorice? Something else entirely?

Have you ever craved a certain flavor of jelly bean and simply couldn’t find it? Don’t worry! You can custom make your own jelly beans at home. The process takes a little time, but it’s not all that complicated.

Grab a friend or family member and jump online to check out How To Make Homemade Jelly Beans online. Go over the directions and ingredients list, so you’ll know what you need in case you need to make a trip to the store.

What flavor jelly beans will you make? Pineapple? Coconut? Peanut butter? Mashed potatoes? Get as wild and crazy as you want, but be sure to eat what you make! Have fun making your own unique homemade jelly beans.

2. Jelly beans are great to eat, and they’re also great for games. Have you ever tried to guess how many jelly beans are in a container? Was your guess close to the real answer?  Check these different ways you can use math to estimate the number of jelly beans in a jar, then test yourself at home or with a friend.

Still Wondering

Use ReadWriteThink’s Confection Connection: Using Sensory Details in Writing activity to get children excited about writing and descriptive language by creating yummy descriptions of their favorite candy.

Test Your Knowledge

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