Candy, specifically sugar candy, is a confection made from a concentrated solution of sugar in water, to which flavorings and colorants are added. Candies come in numerous colors and varieties and have a long history in popular culture.

The Middle English word "candy" began to be used in the late 13th century, coming into English from the Old French çucre candi, derived in turn from Persian Qand (=قند) and Qandi (=قندی), "cane sugar", probably derived from Sanskrit word khanda (खण्ड) "piece (of sugar)," perhaps from Dravidian (cf. Tamil kantu for candy, or kattu "to harden, condense").[1][2] In North America, candy is a broad category that includes candy bars, chocolates, licorice, sour candies, salty candies, tart candies, hard candies, taffies, gumdrops, marshmallows, and more.[citation needed] Vegetables, fruit, or nuts which have been glazed and coated with sugar are said to be candied. Outside North America, the generic English-language name for candy is sweets or confectionery (United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa and other commonwealth countries). In Australia, small pieces of sweet substance are known as "lollies".

In North America, Australia, NZ and the UK, the word "lollipop" refers specifically to sugar candy with flavoring on a stick. While not used in the generic sense of North America, the term candy is used in the UK for specific types of foods such as candy floss (cotton candy in North America and fairy floss in Australia), and certain other sugar based products such as candied fruit.

A popular candy in Latin America is the so-called pirulín (also known as pirulí), which is a multicolor, conic-shaped hard candy of about 10 to 15 cm long, with a sharp conical or pyramidal point, with a stick in the base, and wrapped in cellophane. The global sales of sugar confectionery candy market in 2010 was about $ 57.5 billion.

Before sugar was readily available, candy was made from honey. Honey was used in Ancient China, Middle East, Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire to coat fruits and flowers to preserve them or to create forms of candy.[5] Candy is still served in this form today, though now it is more typically seen as a type of garnish.

Candy was originally a form of medicine, either used to calm the digestive system or cool a sore throat. In the Middle Ages candy appeared on the tables of only the most wealthy at first. At that time it began as a combination of spices and sugar that was used as an aid to digestive problems. Digestive problems were very common during this time due to the constant consumption of food that was neither fresh nor well balanced. Banquet hosts would typically serve these types of ‘candies’ at banquets for their guests. One of these candies, sometimes referred to as a 'chamber spice', was made with cloves, ginger, aniseed, juniper berries, almonds and pine kernels dipped in melted sugar.

In the United States The first candy came to America in the early eighteenth century from Britain and France. Only a few of the early colonists were proficient in sugar work and were able to provide the sugary treats for the very wealthy. Rock candy, made from crystallized sugar, was the simplest form of candy, but even this basic form of sugar was considered a luxury and was only attainable by the rich.[6] In contrast, since 1979 the world has produced more sugar than can be sold, making it very attainable and cheap.[5] The candy business underwent a drastic change in the 1830’s when technological advances and the availability of sugar opened up the market. The new market was not only for the enjoyment of the rich but also for the pleasure of the working class as well. There was also an increasing market for children. Confectioners were no longer the venue for the wealthy and high class but for children as well. While some fine confectioners remained, the candy store became a staple of the child of the American working class. Penny candies epitomized this transformation of candy. Penny candy became the first material good that children spent their own money on. For this reason candy store-owners relied almost entirely on the business of children to keep them running. Even penny candies were directly descended from medicated lozenges that held bitter medicine in a hard sugar coating.

In 1847, the invention of the candy press (also known as a toy machine) made it possible to produce multiple shapes and sizes of candy at once. In 1851, confectioners began to use a revolving steam man to assist in boiling sugar. This transformation meant that the candy maker was no longer required to continuously stir the boiling sugar. The heat from the surface of the pan was also much more evenly distributed and made it less likely that the sugar would burn These innovations made it possible for only one or two people to successfully run a candy business.


Chemically, sugar candies are broadly divided into two groups: crystalline candies and amorphous candies.[8] Crystalline candies are not as hard as crystals of the mineral variety, but derive their name and their texture from their microscopically organized sugar structure, formed through a process of crystallization, which makes them easy to bite or cut into. Fudge, creams, and fondant are examples of crystalline candies. Amorphous candies have a disorganized crystalline structure. They usually have higher sugar concentrations, and the texture may be chewy, hard, or brittle. Caramels, nut brittles and toffees are examples of amorphous candies.[8] Commercially, candies are often divided into three groups, according to the amount of sugar they contain: 100% sugar (or nearly so), such as hard candies or creams 95% sugar or more, with up to 5% other ingredients, such as marshmallows or nougats, and 75 to 95% sugar, with 5 to 25% other ingredients, such as fudge or caramels. Each of these three groups contains both crystalline and amorphous candies.


Fruit-shaped hard candy.

Pantteri is a Finnish candy. The colored ones are fruity, while black are salmiakki - a flavor popular in Nordic and Baltic countries. Candy is made by dissolving sugar in water or milk to form a syrup, which is boiled until it reaches the desired concentration or starts to caramelize. The type of candy depends on the ingredients and how long the mixture is boiled. Candy comes in a wide variety of textures, from soft and chewy to hard and brittle. Some examples are: caramel candy, toffee, fudge, praline, tablet, gumdrops, jelly beans, rock candy, lollipops, taffy, cotton candy, candy canes, peppermint sticks, peanut brittle, chocolate-coated raisins or peanuts, hard candy (called boiled sweets in British English) and candy bars. Sugar stages The final texture of candy depends on the sugar concentration. As the syrup is heated, it boils, water evaporates, the sugar concentration increases, and the boiling point rises. A given temperature corresponds to a particular sugar concentration. In general, higher temperatures and greater sugar concentrations result in hard, brittle candies, and lower temperatures result in softer candies.

The names come from the methods used to test the syrup before thermometers became affordable. The "thread" stage is tested by cooling a little syrup, and pulling it between the thumb and forefinger. When the correct stage is reached, a thread will form. This stage is used for making syrups. For subsequent stages, a small spoonful of syrup is dropped into cold water, and the characteristics of the resulting lump are evaluated to determine the concentration of the syrup. A smooth lump indicates "ball" stages, with the corresponding hardness described. At the "soft crack" stage, the syrup forms threads that are just pliable. At the "hard crack" stage, the threads are brittle.

This method is still used today in some kitchens. A candy thermometer is more convenient, but has the drawback of not automatically adjusting for local conditions such as altitude, as the cold water test does. Once the syrup reaches 340 °F (171 °C) or higher, the sucrose molecules break down into many simpler sugars, creating an amber-colored substance known as caramel. This should not be confused with caramel candy, although it is the candy's main flavoring. Candy and vegetarianism

Traditional holiday candy house.

Candy at a souq in Damascus, Syria. Some candy, including marshmallows and gummi bears, contain gelatin derived from animal collagen, a protein found in skin and bones, and is thus avoided by vegetarians and vegans. "Kosher gelatin" is also unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans, as it is derived from fish bones.[11] Other substances, such as agar, pectin, starch and gum arabic may also be used as setting and gelling agents, and can be used in place of gelatin. Other ingredients commonly found in candy that are not suitable for vegetarian or vegan diets include carmine, a red dye made from cochineal beetles, and confectioner's glaze, which may contain wings or other insect parts. Shelf life

Because of its high sugar concentration, bacteria are not usually able to grow in candy. As a result, the shelf life of candy is longer than for many foods. Most candies can be safely stored in their original packaging at room temperature in a dry, dark cupboard for months or years. As a rule, the softer the candy or the damper the storage area, the sooner it goes stale.[12] Shelf life considerations with most candies are focused on appearance, taste, and texture, rather than about the potential for food poisoning. That is, old candy may not look pretty or taste very good, even though it is very unlikely to make the eater sick. Candy can be made unsafe by storing it badly, such as in a wet, moldy area. Typical recommendations are these:[12] Hard candy may last indefinitely in good storage conditions. Milk chocolates and caramels usually become stale after about one year. Dark chocolate lasts up to two years. Soft or creamy candies, like candy corn, may last 8 to 10 months in ideal conditions. Chewing gum and gumballs may stay fresh as long as 8 months after manufacture.

Health aspects


Candy generally contains sugar, which can be involved in tooth decay causing cavities. Sugar is a food for several types of bacteria commonly found in the mouth, particularly Streptococcus mutans; when the bacteria metabolize the sugar they create acids in the mouth which demineralize the tooth enamel and can lead to dental caries.[13] To help prevent this dentists recommend that individuals should brush their teeth regularly, particularly after every meal and snack.

Sugar is often cited as the source of insufficient dentistry, but is in fact the streptococcus bacteria that feed on sugar, not the sweet substance itself, that causes poor teeth. The bacteria eats away tooth enamel the longer it stays in contact with teeth, so the amount of sugar consumed is less important than the time it is left on and in between the teeth.[14]

Glycemic index

Most candy, particularly low-fat candy, has a high glycemic index (GI), which means that it causes a rapid rise in blood sugar levels after ingestion. This is chiefly a concern for people with diabetes, but could also be dangerous to the health of non-diabetics.[15]

Health benefits

Jelly beans

Candies that primarily consist of peppermint and mint, such as candy canes, have digestive benefits. Peppermint oil can help soothe an upset stomach by creating defense against irritable bowel syndrome and is effective in killing germs.

Mint-flavored gum increases short-term memory, heart rate, and the amount of oxygen in the brain. The correlation between heart rate and oxygen in the brain triggers short-term memory. Chewing gum can also provide a burst of insulin in the anticipation for food.[17] When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate can have health benefits. The cocoa in chocolate can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium can be found in chocolate, as well as antioxidants.

Non-consumers of candy had a higher mortality rate than consumers of candy, both frequent and occasional. Frequent candy consumers fit into the category of three or more times per week consumption. Occasional consumers are categorized as eating candy one to three times per month, and live on average one year longer than non-consumers. Non-consumers typically eat less red meat and salads, drink more and are also more prone to smoking. Candy consumption in moderation is associated with longevity.[19] Packaging

Lemon, orange, strawberry and cherry flavoured candy, wrapped in different colors, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. "Candy wrapper" or "sweets-wrapper" is a common term for this packaging.[20] Purposes of packaging Packaging preserves aroma and flavor and eases shipping and dispensation. Wax paper seals against air, moisture, dust, and germs, while cellophane is valued by packagers for its transparency and resistance to grease, odors and moisture. In addition, it is often resealable. Polyethylene is another form of film sealed with heat, and this material is often used to make bags in bulk packaging. Saran wraps are also common. Aluminum foils wrap chocolate bars and prevent transfer of water vapor, while being lightweight, non-toxic and odor proof. Vegetable parchment lines boxes of high-quality confections like gourmet chocolates. Cardboard cartons are less common, though they offer many options concerning thickness and movement of water and oil. Packages are often sealed with a starch-based adhesive derived from tapioca, potato, wheat, sago, or sweet potato. Occasionally, glues are made from the bones and skin of cattle and hogs for a stronger and more flexible product, but this is not as common because of the expense.[21] History Prior to the 1900s, candy was commonly sold unwrapped from carts in the street, where it was exposed to dirt and insects. By 1914 there were some machines to wrap gum and stick candies, but this was not the common practice. After the polio outbreak in 1916, unwrapped candies garnered widespread censure because of the dirt and germs. At the time, only upscale candy stores used glass jars. With advancements in technology wax paper was adopted, and foil and cellophane were imported[vague] from France by DuPont in 1925. Necco packagers were one of the first companies to package without human touch.[22] Marketing and design Packaging helps market the product as well. Manufacturers know that candy must be hygienic and attractive to customers. In the children’s market quantity, novelty, large size and bright colors are the top sellers.[23] Many companies redesign the packaging to maintain consumer appeal.

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