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Americans love their candy and, luckily, several days have been set aside to celebrate specific candies like National Gumdrop Day on February 15. Gumdrops are unique in that they are not only fun to eat but they also make great decorations. People have crafted with gumdrops for years and because they come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors, gumdrops guarantee festive décor. So, grab your gumdrops and let’s get this party started!
History of National Gumdrop Day
Gumdrops, one of America’s most beloved sweets, is a chewy, gelatin candy, most often flavored with fruit or spices. In their most traditional form, gumdrops are sugar-coated and shaped like a small dome or ‘drop.’ But they have evolved, and you can now find them with smooth coatings and in tons of fun shapes and sizes.
Debates abound as to the history of gumdrops. Some credit Percy Trusdale as the inventor of gumdrops in 1801. The term ‘gumdrop’ was first seen in an Illinois newspaper mentioning a local candy shop owner, George Julier, in the 1850s.
The National Confectioners Association lists National Gumdrop Day as one of the many candy-focused holidays we can celebrate and on which we can buy more candy while we’re at it, of course!
With the popular trend of gourmet candies hitting the market, you can now find gumdrops beyond the traditional orange, cherry, grape, and lemon flavors. Whole Foods offers rather large gumdrops (1 inch tall x 1 inch wide) in exotic flavors such as key lime, tangerine, grapefruit, and pomegranate.
The classic gumdrop paved the way for what we know today as gummy candies in general, like gummy bears and -worms, and even gummy vitamins (remember, the vitamins are not candy!).
Gumdrops, if kept in an unopened package and stored in a cool place, will last for up to 12 months. If you choose to use them for crafting, they will, of course, become hard but that’s ok, as long as you don’t try to eat them later!
National Gumdrop Day timeline
Frenchman Denis Papin discovers gelatin, a pure protein product, through research and experimentation.
The wildly popular Hasbro board game debuts with an appropriate reference to the ever-popular gumdrop — players go through the Gumdrop Mountains and can take the shortcut, Gumdrop Path.
Haribo introduces the bear-shaped gummy in Germany — made out of licorice, they were called ‘dancing bears.’
The first gummy worm candy is introduced to the U.S. in 1981 by Trolli, a German confectionery brand, who, today, makes neon gummy crawlers.
National Gumdrop Day FAQs
Are gumdrops and jujubes the same thing?
Not exactly. The traditional gumdrop is coated in sugar whereas jujubes have a smooth coating.
How much sugar is in a serving of gumdrops?
One serving of gumdrops is approximately 10 pieces. There are 21.2 grams of sugar in this serving, which is almost 6 teaspoons of sugar.
Can you eat too many gummy vitamins?
Just because they taste good doesn’t mean you should eat the entire bottle. As few as four gummy vitamins could have more than enough niacin to cause redness of skin, nausea, and vomiting.
Ways to Celebrate National Gumdrop Day
There are so many fun things you can make with classic gumdrops. Make a gumdrop garland, ornaments, sculptures, drink garnishes, or a fun centerpiece that guests can pick gummies from. While often reserved for the Christmas season, there’s no reason you can’t make these things for a birthday party or other festive occasion any time of the year!
Make your own
Homemade gumdrops are quite simple to make and really taste better than store-bought ones. Buy a few inexpensive molds to create fun shaped gumdrops and search for a recipe online!
Merge science with food
Using gumdrops and toothpicks, test your engineering skills by building structures; make it a contest with your kids or friends to see who can build the tallest structure.
5 Fun Facts About Gummy Candies
Largest gummy candy
The largest gummy candy of any shape was made in 2014 in Germany; it weighed 1,128 pounds and 12 ounces, and took six days to set during refrigeration.
Most popular flavor
Cherry is the most popular gumdrop flavor followed by grape, orange, and lemon.
Brach’s Candy holds the world record for largest gumdrop (in the traditional shape) at just over 10 pounds.
Most eaten in one minute
Kevin ‘L.A. Beast’ Strahle set the record in 2017 by eating 31 gummy bears in one minute.
Largest gummy bear
So far, the largest gummy bear on record was made in 2011 in Texas; weighing in at 81 pounds, it was 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide.
Why We Love National Gumdrop Day
We love candy
The average American eats 22 pounds of candy each year. Wow – that’s a lot of candy. No wonder we’re excited to celebrate National Gumdrop Day!
We love to play with our food
Gumdrops are a go-to food when it comes to crafts so it’s totally acceptable to play with gumdrops as you create gingerbread houses or use them in science projects.
Variety is the spice of life
If you are quickly bored eating the same candy, day after day, gummies can certainly keep you entertained due to their variety. With so many shapes, sizes, and flavors to choose from, there will always be something new to try.
National Gumdrop Day dates