You remember as a kid, having a nice hot cup of cocoa with those mini marshmallows. Remember sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows on a stick over the fire for S'More's? What about the ones used in Aunt Prisilla's candied yam recipe she only made at Thanksgiving?
What do you know about them? Really? Did you know they've been around for quite a long time? Since the around 2000 B.C.? At one time they were considered a delicacy for Gods and Royalty.
So how were they made way back then? Originally, Egyptians made marshmallows by taking the sap from the marshmallow plant and mixing it with nuts and honey. The marshmallow plant is in the same family as the hibiscus and has been used as both food and medicine for years. But back to its use as a sweet.
The concoction took a step towards what we know today when candy makers in France took the sap, mixed it with egg whites and sugar before whipping it by hand into a nice frothy creation more like what we have today. Due to the increased demand, marshmallow makers began to use corn starch forms to create uniform confections.
Eventually, the sap was replaced with gelatin so when it was mixed with corn syrup, starch, etc, it formed the fluffy texture associated with marshmallows. In 1948 the first machine was successfully used to extrude marshmallows so the labor intensive creation could now be mass produced for the population.
Interesting facts about marshmallows.
1. The first S'mores recipe was published in the 1927 Girl Scout Handbook. They are credited with creating the treat.
2. Marshmallows did not make it to the United States until the 1900's.
3. Americans buy 90 million pounds of marshmallows per year which is equivalent to 1250 whales.
4. Over 50% of the marshmallows sold in the summer are toasted over a fire.
5. In Egypt, it was against the law to eat Marshmallows unless you were a god, a Pharaoh, or Royalty.
6. Polar bears love marshmallows.
7. Marshmallows can be placed between the toes the next time you give yourself a pedicure.
8. Use marshmallows to keep your brown sugar soft.
9. Astronauts use marshmallows in their nose during lift off to keep from damaging the nasal membrane.
10. More marshmallows are sold between October and December than at any other time of the year.