How are Jelly Beans Made?

Jelly Beans

Since 1976, there have been two types of jellybeans, gourmet and traditional.

Both take between 6-10 days to make but slight differences in recipes give each their unique taste. Gourmet jelly beans tend to be softer and smaller than traditional jelly beans. Also, gourmet jelly beans are flavored in both the shell and the middle. Traditional beans typically contain flavor only in the shell.

The manufacturing process starts with the center of the jelly bean. Sugar, corn syrup and other ingredients are cooked in large boilers and then piped to the starch casting area. During this time, machines coat trays with a layer of cornstarch. Each tray has an impression the size and shape of the center of a jellybean. Mix is squirted onto the trays and dried overnight. Then the cornstarch layer is removed and the middles are put through a moisture steam bath and sprayed with sugar. They are set aside for 24- to 48-hours.

The panning process is where the jellybean comes to life. The centers are placed in a rotating drum called an “engrossing pan.” While the center is rotating, sugar is added gradually to build the shell. Colors and flavors are added to get the distinct look and taste of the bean. Confectioner’s glaze is added to give the beans a shiny look. After the beans are “polished” (a process that can take two to four days) they are ready to be shipped.

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