The Candy Corn

This may surprise some but candy corn has been in circulation for more than a hundred years. This popular confection was the brainchild of George Renninger who was an employee of the Wunderlee Candy Company in 1880 and the candy was first produced there. In 1900, the Goelitz Candy Company started its production of candy corn. The company changed its name to the Jelly Belly Candy Company and still continues production of the candy corn to this day.

The first batches of the candy corn were simple and became popular among the farmers and consumers from the Midwest. This was because of its agrarian 'corn kernel' appearance. When the manufacturers added a tri-color design, it was revolutionary and it caused a nationwide craze. The lack of machinery, however, meant that the candy corns were manufactured seasonally; only from March to November.

The appearance and the taste of the classic candy corn have remainedd the same throughout the century of its production.In its early years of production, candy corn has been made mostly by hand by thousands of people who worked during the eight months a year it was in season. The process of making candy corn is similar to the making of most candy products but with added steps.Like most candy, sugar, corn syrup and other ingredients were placed in large kettles which were heated until they were slurry. Then, marshmallow and fondant was added to the mix to give the candy crunch and a smooth consistency.

When the desired texture was achieved, the forty-five pounds of hot candy was poured onto big buckets called runners. These runners were then carried by people called stringers. These stringers walked backwards while pouring the candy out into trays.

These trays were imprinted with kernel shapes and padded with cornstarch. The stringers made three passes and poured candy of different colors to make the signature tri-color look of the candy corn. The three colors were white, yellow and orange.

The candy corn then cooled, hardened and the cornstarch allowed easy detachment from the mold. These were then grouped in bags. In the starting years, the candy corns were presented in special wooden boxes, tubs and cartons. They were then delivered to candy stores by wagon.Nowadays, the candy corn making process is done mostly by machines but the process in essence has not changed much.

Modern candy manufacturers utilize a method called the 'Corn Starch Molding Process'. In this process, a tray with depressions filled with cornstarch is used and the candy corn is made from the bottom up in three color passes to produce the tri-color effect. The first step of the process is filling one quarter of the depression on the tray with yellow syrup which is then allowed to partially set. When it is hard enough, the orange syrup is poured over the yellow syrup while leaving enough room and is again allowed to partially set. When it is set, the depression is then filled with the white syrup and is cooled until hard. In the cooling process, the three layers are able to stick together.

When cool, the candy is removed from the trays and become little candy corns with three colors. The candy corns are grouped and packed in pouches and then shipped to the different candy shops nationwide.

.Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Candy.

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By: Michael Russell

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