February 15: National Gumdrop Day

Photo licensed via Creative Commons by Flickr member terren in virginia

What a magical holiday! To celebrate, I thought I would share some interesting facts about gumdrops. Because seriously, these bright little dudes should be better known than just as a gingerbread house garnish! 

Five interesting factoids about gumdrops 

1. What are gumdrops?

Let's start here. To the uninitiated, a gumdrop is a small (less than an inch tall, usually) jelly-textured candy with a shape like a cone with a flat top. They are typically coated with granulated sugar, which gives them a glittery finish and a slightly crunchy texture on the outside. 

2. They are pretty old.

The gumdrop candy is said to have developed in the early 1800s; the earliest print mention was in 1860, in a Washington state publication, which passingly mentions different types of confections.

3. They involve science.

As I learned on this site, "In 1915 a candy manufacturer named Percy Truesdell started producing a gumdrop with an enhanced texture, using a formula he developed while conducting experiments at Ohio State University. Truesdell came to be known as "the gumdrop king" and was credited with inventing the modern soft gumdrop, but assertions in his 1948 obituary accounts that the gumdrop had previously been a hard-candy jawbreaker are not consistent with earlier descriptions."

4. They have a space connection.

Apparently the Apollo 9 command module was nicknamed "Gumdrop". It not only had a slightly cone-like with a flat top shape, but was delivered to the Space Coast in a huge blue cello wrapper.

5. They have inspired mountains. 

Candy mountains, in board game form, that is. The board game candy land made mountains out of gumdrops, which are prominently featured in the game, which debuted in 1945. 

Do you like gumdrops?