Food timeline : marshmallows

By accident I came across Food timeline website, which covers the history of some foods.  For example, I had no idea about marshmallows:

“Marshmallows are one of the earliest confections know to humankind. Today’s marshmallows come in many forms, from solid…to semi-liquid—to the creme-like or as an ice cream topping. Originally…marshmallows were made from the rood sap of the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) plant. It is a genus of herb that is native to parts of Europe, north Africa, and Asia. Marsh mallows grow in marshes and other damp areas…The first marshmallows were made by boiling pieces of the marsh mallow root pulp with sugar until it thickened. After is had thickened, the mixture was strained and cooled. As far back as 2000BC, Egyptians combined the marsh mallow root with honey. The candy was reserved for gods and royalty.

Modern marshmallow confections were first made in France around 1850. This first method of manufacture was expensive and slow because it involved the casting and molding of each marshmallow. French candy makers used the mallow root sap as a binding agent for the egg whites, corn syrup, and water. The fluffy mixture was heated and poured into the corn starch in small molds, forming the marshmallows. At this time, marshmallows were still not mass manufactured. Instead, they were made by confectioners in small stores or candy companies.

By 1900, marshmallows were available for mass consumption, and they were sold in tins as penny candy. Mass production of marshmallows became possible with the invention of the starch mogul system of manufacture in the late 19th century…

In 1955, there were nearly 35 manufacturers of marshmallows in the United States. About this time, Alex Doumak, of Doumak, Inc., patented a new manufacturing method called the extrusion process. This invention changed the history of marshmallow production and is still used today. It now only takes 60 minutes to produce a marshmallow. Today, there are only three manufacturers of marshmallows in the United States, Favorite Brands International (Kraft marshmallows), Doumak, Inc. and Kidded & Company.”

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