Showing posts with label s'mores. Show all posts
Showing posts with label s'mores. Show all posts

Apr 13, 2013

Origin of Marshmallows

 I would be remiss if I mentioned Graham crackers and did not speak about marshmallows at the same time. Marshmallows date back to as early as 2000 BC and Egyptians made individual marshmallows by hand by extracting sap from a mallow plant and mixing it with nuts and honey.

The official name of the mallow plant is Althea officials and it is a pink-flowered plant. Marshes are the native growing ground for the mallow plant; hence the name marshmallow. Mallow plants are native in Asia and Europe and are also grown in eastern United States.

During the 1800s, candy makers in France took the sap from marshmallow plants and combined it with egg whites and sugar. The mixture was whipped by hand and took the form of the marshmallow we know today.

Candy makers replaced the sap taken from the marshmallow plant with gelatin, which enabled the marshmallow mixture to maintain its form and reduced the labor intensive process of extracting sap from the mallow plant. The gelatin was combined with corn syrup, starch, sugar, and water to create the fluffy texture of the marshmallow. The gelatin ingredient is essential for extending the shelf life of marshmallows because of the moisture it infuses into the candy. Thus, by replacing the previous egg whites with gelatin, marshmallows maintain their elastic and spongy qualities much longer than they had previously.

The marshmallow made its way to the United States in the 1900s and grew in popularity in the 1950s when it was used in a variety of recipes. Even though Americans were a little behind when it came to the marshmallow, they are now the number one consumers of the fluffy candy, buying more than 90 million pounds per year.
In 1948, Alex Doumak created an extrusion process to make marshmallows. Through this process, the marshmallow substance was pressed through tubes, cut into equal pieces, cooled, and then packaged - just the perfect size for s'mores.