What’s your fave jelly bean flavour? If you say red, you’re not alone. And you’re about to be very happy.
It is, in fact, the most popular flavour amongst fans of Australia’s most recognisable jelly bean brand, those Glucojel beans you see at pharmacy counters.
Now, if you, like us, peer through the clear bits of the packet to get the one with the most of your fave colour, and that colour is red, there’s good news. Until now, black has been the only Glucojel jelly bean sold in its own packet (because while some love black jelly beans and some hate them, those who love them REALLY love them). But this week, that changes. March 1 sees packets of red beans become a permanent addition to the range.
And those who’ve already managed to get their hands on some are happy peeps.
Traditionally, the mixed bags contain a mix of nine different flavours/colours, from aniseed (black) to apricot (which is the yellow one – not the orange one. That’s, er, orange). What you end up with in your packet depends on what the makers of Glucojel refer to, tongue in cheek, in the FAQ on their Facebook page as a “fancy high tech randomiser machine”. Black, of course, is divisive. Some love it. Some hate it. But the company tells us that their research shows red (raspberry) is the most popular (followed by white and pink), which is why red is now going solo. There's also a competition with $20,000 in prizemoney up for grabs for people who can get creative with jelly beans (the website with details will go live on March 1).
To get us all ready, here’s the cheat sheet on JBs (including a show that’s going behind the scenes at a jelly bean factory that makes some seriously out there flavours. Toothpaste beans, anyone?).
Turkish delight with a twist?
The origins of jelly beans are a bit mysterious – it’s generally accepted that they have been around since the late 1800s, and a lot of origin stories suggest they were inspired by traditional Turkish delight, but no-one’s really sure who invented them.
Stinky socks. Canned dog food. Toothpaste. Not the flavours you’d expect in a jelly bean, right? But they do exist. As Alfonso Ribeiro discovers in the Funky Flavours episode of Unwrapped 2.0 (Food Network, 6.30pm Wednesday February 28 and then on SBS On Demand) these days jelly beans come in some pretty amazing flavours. The stinky socks and other challenging flavours are made by the Jelly Belly company and sold as part of a range of Bean Boozled products where a series of paired bean flavours look the same but taste different. Baby Wipes or Coconut. (No, we can’t picture what baby wipes taste like either. Who thinks of these flavours??) Stinky Socks or Tutti-frutti. Chocolate pudding or Canned dog food. (And for the Americans – there’s Skunk Spray amongst the shockers.)
Jelly beans are big business - as Ribeiro discovers when he goes deep into a Jelly Belly factory to see beans being made. The drying room – where the beans have a 24 hour snooze in the middle of the manufacturing process, to let them harden up before they go into the sugar shower – can hold up to 10 million beans. (Mostly not strange and stinky: the company makes more than 100 flavours, and while Earthworm and Earwax appear in the company's Harry Potter range, most are more appealing - everything from buttered popcorn to strawberry cheesecake.)
Colour me natural
If you think the colours of those classic Glucojel beans have changed, you’re right. But it’s not bad news. These beans have been sold by Australian pharmacies for more than 75 years (they celebrated that big birthday in 2016) and in 2015-16, they gradually changed the formula to use only natural colourings. So some of the beans are lighter in colour than they once were.
Bean there, done that record
No surprises that there’s a Guinness World Record relating to eating jelly beans – but what is surprising is that it involved eating them WITH CHOPSTICKS. The record was set by Asha Leo in Japan on September 6 2017. She managed to pick up and eat 40 of them in one minute.
Watch Unwrapped 2.0 on Food Network, 6.30pm Wednesday February 28 and then on SBS On Demand, where you can also catch any episodes you've missed of this behind-the-scenes look at popular snacks.