Marshmallow Facts



25 Mar 2021


Marshmallows are one of the most popular variants of confectionery and sweets in the modern world. These small, familiar soft white cylinders are often used in desserts. They also function as toppings, add-ons, or fillings. Did you know we can also enjoy these fluffy white treats in other foods? Some cooks and bakers include marshmallows in drinks, biscuits, chocolates, and a variety of spreads. Lovers of sweets can even eat them on their own. Let’s find out the history behind this sweet treat as you take a bite in our collection of marshmallow facts.

  1. The earliest mentions of marshmallows can trace back up to 2000 BC.
  2. A marshmallow typically has four main ingredients.
  3. Every 100 grams of marshmallows, contains around 318 calories.
  4. If each marshmallow piece is typically 29 grams, then a typical serving size is 4 pieces.
  5.  93.10 kg is the size of the largest marshmallow in the world. Two men from the UK made it.
  1. They say the marshmallow originated in France.
  2. Marshmallows are classified as a type of confectionery.
  3. Commonly, marshmallows are used as a baking filling.
  4. The word ‘marshmallow’ comes from the mallow plant species, which is a herb native to Europe.
  5. The mallow plant typically grows in marshes and other similar damp areas.
  6. The key ingredient for marshmallows is the whipping ingredient that it makes use of.
  7. Marshmallows help in decreasing blood sugar.
  8. Parts of the mallow plant work as medicine. They help heal certain ailments.
  9. Manufacturers sometimes coat marshmallows in cornstarch to prevent pieces from sticking together.
  10. Some believe that Ancient Egyptians were the first to make marshmallows as confectionery.
  1. Marshmallows also come in other variants such as colored, jelly-filled, coated, and sprinkled.
  2. They typically come in a white cylindrical form.
  3. Marshmallows can also come in a variety of shapes and patterns.
  4. Chubby Bunny is a game involving marshmallows. The objective of the game is to put as many marshmallows in your mouth as you can.
  5. People of all ages enjoy marshmallows.
Table of Contents

Marshmallows first appeared in the United States in the early 1900's.

Source: Pexels

During the early 1900s, marshmallows became available for mass consumption in the United States through the use of the starch mogul system. This system was first developed by candy makers in the late 1800s. At first, marshmallows were sold in tins and referred to as penny candy. Later, they were used in baking lime mallow sponge, and banana fluff.

By 1956, a man by the name of Alex Doumark patented the process of extrusion. This changed how the marshmallow making process was regulated. Extrusion made use of long tubes that would run the ingredients for marshmallows in them. The tubes would be set out to cool down before being cut into pieces, packaged, and sold to retailers.

Sucrose sweetens marshmallows.

This aeration of the mixtures of sucrose and proteins prepares these white confectionery. Once it reaches a final density of 0.5 grams/ml, the molecular structure of the marshmallow becomes a more stable sugar solution. A stabilizing structure like gelatin or egg whites blends it all together.

Other recipes also make use of more uncommon stabilizing solutions like xanthan gum. This helps the components of the marshmallow prevent the air from escaping, thus causing its shape to collapse during the aeration process. Additionally, for flavored marshmallows, additional sugar or other artificial flavorings are added to the recipe to significantly change the general flavor of the treat.

In Ancient Egypt, eating marshmallows was considered to be a great privilege.

Source: Pexels

During the era of the Ancient Egyptians, consuming products from mallow plants was a privilege. Eating the thick substance made from the root of the mallow plant that created these ancient types of marshmallows was a past time only the gods and those of royal blood could enjoy.

This plant was also used to create medicinal potions by boiling the pieces of the root pulp with other ingredients. When it thickened over time and it cooled down, it was used to heal sore throats and soothe coughs. Because of the tedious processes that underwent to make this treat, those that were not of high status could not afford to enjoy this treat in their lifetime.

A marshmallow alternative, called Pate de Guimauve, exists in France.

The Pate de Guimauve falls under the category of confectionery spread. It tastes similar to an actual marshmallow. Also known as marshmallow creme, the difference is the spread is softer in texture compared to its original counterpart. Its consistency is like gelatin.

In French, the word Pate means ‘paste’ in the English language, and the word Guimauve refers to the botanical name of the mallow plant in French. The Pate de Guimauve entered the picture sometime in the late 1700s until the early 1800s. One of its oldest known recipes dates back to 1757. Some of its key ingredients are sugar, egg whites, and the extract of the root of the mallow plant.

Traditional marshmallows contain 30% sugar and 60% corn syrup.

marshmallow, mug, cookies
Source: Pexels

Before modern marshmallows used a gelatin substitute to create its famous form, real marshmallow root was the main component in many older recipes. Today, modern recipes make use of several artificial alternative ingredients as a means of being more cost-effective when mass producing these products within a short time period.

The marshmallow root dissolves quickly in water. It thickens just as fast when heated in a stove or a pot, and easily becomes a marshmallow paste. Using the root of the mallow plant as an ingredient in your recipes can cause marshmallows to become less runny and better keep their shape much similar to how gelatin alternatives affect the entire product.

Homemade marshmallows last up to 3 weeks.

Store-bought marshmallows are easier to find and longer than homemade ones. But extra additives are in these products and can be harmful in the long run. Moreover, they provide no significant nutritional value whatsoever.

Homemade marshmallows are simple to make. Some revise the original recipe to provide healthier alternatives to the traditional confectionery. When stored at room temperature in an airtight case or container, homemade marshmallows last up to 3-4 weeks whereas refrigerated batches can last up to a month while continuing to hold their shape and consistency.

In the 1950s, marshmallows were first made through machines.

Since this first use of machines, people have made several advancements which allowed the production of marshmallows to increase. Nowadays, factories make over thousands of pounds of marshmallows in one day. The market significantly improved over time and its demand has also increased throughout the years. Today, several known marshmallow brands select their ingredients carefully, as each one can significantly cause changes in the final product.

Roasting marshmallows became a tradition in the UK and parts of North America.

smores marshmallow
Image from Adobe Stock

One of the most popular means of eating marshmallows is by roasting them over a fire or stove. This toasts the outer layer of the marshmallow. At the same time, the inside becomes warm. This activity is a Western camping tradition. Many people also enjoy this treat by putting the marshmallow between pieces of bread or crackers. Some add other ingredients like chocolate. You know the name of this treat! Yup, smores!

One of the ingredients of marshmallows is air.

You heard it right! Every modern marshmallow has 40% to 60% air inside. Marshmallows have small bubbles trapped inside them. These bubbles allow the confectionery to form and hold shape. When a vacuum pump is used in making marshmallows, the air inside of it moves outward, making the marshmallow expand. Boyle’s law is the name of this phenomenon.

Marshmallows are defined as food with minimal nutritional value in the US.

Marshmallows and other foods cannot be sold in competition with school feeding programs. What are the other foods? Sugary drinks, candy, and chewing gum. The United States Department of Agriculture or the USDA regulates the food that enters this category.

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