You know it’s almost Halloween when the candy corn starts appearing. The iconic Halloween treat starts showing up at school, at home, and all over the grocery stores. Candy corn was first invented in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia, PA. The Goelitz Candy Company started making candy corn in 1900 and still makes it today, although the name has changed to the Jelly Belly Candy Company. When the Goelitz Confectionery Company first produced candy corn, it was called "Chicken Feed". The boxes were illustrated with a colorful rooster logo and a tag line that read "Something worth crowing for." Originally, the cornstarch and sugar mixture was stirred and poured by hand color by color into wooden molds. Today the process is managed by computers and handled by machines.
Candy corn is manufactured using a process referred to by confectioners as starch casting. In this process, the shape of a candy or a candy center is formed by making impressions in a powder called cornstarch. The filling of each of these separate impressions is filled with liquid candy. Starch is an effective material because it easily retains specific shapes. Cornstarch also helps to remove moisture from the candy as it dries. Much of the candy making process, including the starch casting, occurs within a special candy-making machine called a Mogul. The Mogul is responsible for moving the candy through the process of formation along a conveyor belt; putting cornstarch into plastic trays; making candy corn shaped impressions; depositing the liquid candy corn (prepared in three separate batches by color); and stacking the trays of candy. The stacked trays are then sent to the "dry rooms" to set.
These wet candy corns must have the moisture removed from them in order to be separated easily from the molds. Thus, the trays sit in the dry rooms between 24-36 hours, depending on the batch of candy and the weather or humidity surrounding the factory. The longer the candy sits in these rooms, the drier they become. Moisture levels are tested to ensure the candy corn includes just the right amount of water.
The candy corn, still in the trays, is conveyed back to the Mogul. This machine then turns the trays completely over, dumping the candy and the cornstarch out of the trays. Then, the candy and the cornstarch are separated from one another. The candy is sent to the next processing point. However, the cornstarch is transferred to a sifter that removes any bits of candy corn, then is sent to the drying drum, which removes the moisture from the starch. The corn starch is sifted a final time, then is sent back to the Mogul for use in molding more candies.
The candy corn is not yet done! It needs to be polished before it is sent to the packaging machines, which automatically weigh the candy, put it in bags, seal each bag, and put the candy into cases for shipping. According to the National Confectioners Associations, candy companies will produce nearly 35 million pounds of candy corn a year. That’s about 9 billion individual kernels of corn. Surprisingly,
Candy corn is one of the healthier candies of the Halloween season. It contains roughly 28 grams of sugar and only 140 calories per heaping handful -- and it's fat free. October 30this national Candy corn day, make sure you celebrate in style!
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