On August 30 be sure to stock up on one of America’s favorite fire roasted treats. It’s National Toasted Marshmallow Day!
Get your friends together, gather up some firewood, a few long sticks and a bag of marshmallow and you have the makings of a great night ahead of you. Toasted marshmallows are a special part of summer evenings around a bonfire. One of the popular ways to enjoy a delicious warm, gooey toasted marshmallow is with chocolate and graham crackers in a S’more.
Upon personal preference, marshmallows are heated to various degrees from gently toasted to a charred outer layer. The charred outer layer is achieved by igniting the marshmallow.
Marshmallows now come in a variety of flavors as well as sizes for maximum toasting opportunities.
- This confection is the modern version of a medicinal confection made from Althaea officinalis, the marshmallow plant.
- Not all marshmallows are vegan, most marshmallows contain eggs or animal based gelatin.
- The marshmallow is a confection that, in its modern form, typically consists of sugar, corn syrup, water, gelatin that has been softened in hot water, dextrose, vanilla flavorings, and sometimes coloring, whipped to a spongy consistency.
- The marshmallow probably first came into being as a medicinal substance, since the mucilaginous extracts comes from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, which were used as a remedy for sore throats.
- Concoctions of other parts of the marshmallow plant had medical uses as well.
- Ancient Egyptians were the first to enjoy a gooey treat now called marshmallow as early as 2000 BC. The treat was considered very special and it was reserved for gods and royalty.
- Marshmallow was made from the mallow plant (Athaea officinalis) that grows wild in marshes. The term marshmallow was derived both from the native home of the plant and the plant name. Mallow is native to Asia and Europe and has been naturalized in America. The Egyptians squeezed sap from the mallow plant and mixed it with nuts and honey. However, no one knows what the candy looked like in those times.
- The French were introduced to marshmallow in the early to mid-1800s. Owners of small candy stores whipped sap from the mallow root into a fluffy candy mold. This time-consuming process was typically done by hand. Candy stores had a hard time keeping up with the demand. Candy makers started looking for a new process to make marshmallows and found the starch mogul system in the late 1800s. It allowed candy makers to create marshmallow molds made of modified cornstarch. At this same time, candy makers replaced the mallow root with gelatin and this created the marshmallow stable form.
- Marshmallows were introduced and popularized in the United States in the early 1900s, after the new manufacturing process was developed.
- In 1948, Alex Doumak revolutionized the process for manufacturing marshmallows. He created and patented the extrusion process. This process involves taking the marshmallow ingredients and running it through tubes. Afterwards, ingredients are cut into equal pieces and packaged. In the 1950s, marshmallows became extremely popular in the United States and were used in a variety of food recipes.
- Americans buy 90 million pounds of marshmallows each year, about the same weight as 1,286 gray whales.
- The marshmallow capital of the world is in Ligonier, Noble County, Indiana.
- Ligonier is also the home of the Annual Marshmallow Festival.
- Each summer more than 50% of all marshmallows sold are toasted over a fire.