If there is one candy that people aren’t afraid to voice an opinion on, it is those orange, oddly shaped marshmallow confections known as Circus Peanuts. To some, they are God’s greatest gift to the candy world, worthy of undying devotion. To others, they are more akin to packaging material than a yummy snack. One thing is for certain though – there are very few people that fall into the “undecided” column.
Circus Peanuts have been around for over a century and were first produced in the 1800s. They became a staple of the five and dime candy section, often sold in bulk and, more often than not, stale – which might account for some of the negative reputation they have gathered over the years. Also, there is the strange flavor. Sure, they are orange in color but one bite tells you that the flavor doesn’t match the hue. If you’ve never quite been able to put your finger on what flavor they are, you’ve come to the right place – they are banana. Another lingering food mystery put to rest.
Perhaps not surprisingly, nobody has ever taken credit for being the inventor of these treats, which most closely resemble an ultra-dense marshmallow. Multiple companies continue to distribute them after all these years, which certainly attests to their popularity. And with the introduction of polyethylene bags in the 50s (the same stuff they made hula-hoops out of) freshness is much less an issue than it was in the early days of the candy.
And, in a way, cereal lovers owe a debt of gratitude to these tasty little treats. Back in the 60s, when General Mills was trying to concoct a new product, they decided to mix something sweet into Cheerios. After testing a number of candies, they settled on, you guessed it, circus peanuts and the result was those magically delicious Lucky Charms.
So, let’s not be so quick to judge these odd candies. Besides their contributions to the breakfast foods industry, they are obviously still selling well enough to justify their production. And thanks to improved packaging, you are far less likely to get a stale experience. Circus Peanuts – a much-maligned candy that more people like than are apparently willing to admit.