Marshmallow Making

Marshmallows are well known throughout the world for their fluffy, pillow-like texture and light sweet taste. This confection is either eaten as it is, melted into s'mores, or topped over ice cream, cake, or shakes. Nowadays, the biggest consumers of marshmallows are the Americans. Experts say that the Americans consume more than 90 million pounds of marshmallows a year. The peak season for selling marshmallows is between October and December but it is enjoyed all year round. Unknown to most of the public is that this gooey treat has been enjoyed since the time of the pharaohs and royal families of Ancient Egypt. However, the marshmallows before looked very different from the ones we have today.

The marshmallow comes from the mallow plant scientifically known as Athaea officinalis and is a wild plant common in the marshes. The name 'marshmallow' is actually the combination of 'mallow' from mallow plant and 'marsh' from the word marshes. The mallow plant has been naturalized in America but is native to Asia and Europe. In ancient Egypt, the sap of the mallow plant was squeezed out and mixed with honey and nuts to create a sweet and light snack.

The marshmallow reached France and the rest of the western world in the early 1800s. It was then that small candy store owners started whipping up the sap of the mallow root and turned it into a fluffy candy mold. The candy was new and interesting that their supplies easily ran out. The store owners had a hard time meeting the public's demand because the whipping was done manually by hand and was a very time-consuming process. Due to this, the candy makers had to experiment with different approaches to find another way to make marshmallows. In the late 1800s, they discovered the Starch Mogul System. This system enabled the candy makers to make marshmallow molds using modified cornstarch. Also to keep the marshmallow stable and to prolong its shelf-life, the candy makers switched the mallow sap to gelatin. When the process was developed and production was high, the technology was brought to the United States in the early 1900s.

In modern times, there are many ways to make marshmallows. Marshmallows making is very easy and can even be done at home and the ingredients are almost the same. In home recipes though, salt and vanilla extract is added to give more flavor. The method used in the 19th century was done by mixing ingredients like sap from the mallow root, egg whites and sugar. This mix is then poured out into a fluffy mold that makes its signature shape. The French would add cornstarch to speed up the process. However, the process of making marshmallows has changed. The ingredients are different now because the mallow root sap was changed into gelatin and is added with starch, sugar, corn syrup and water. The result is a fluffy mixture which is piped through long tubes and then cut into equal pieces. These are then packaged and shipped to candy stores.

In the US, a man named Alex Doumak changed the way marshmallows were made. He did this by creating and patenting the Extrusion process in 1948. This process was done by pouring and mixing the ingredients together which were passed through tubes and pipes. After this, the marshmallows are poured out and cut by machine into equal pieces. Eventually, different shapes of marshmallows were made. The shape was achieved by using a special nozzle that moves back and forth to create and cut the marshmallows into the desired form. These are then packaged and sent to candy stores. The marshmallows became very popular in the US by the 1950s and started to be used in different food recipes.

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About The Author, Michael Russell
Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Quick Snacks - Healthy Snack Ideas
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