You’ll never believe what I’m about to say. Back in the 19th century, the soft, squishy, small, ball of goodness known as the marshmallow, was a medicine.
Yes, you read it right. In the 1800s, doctors would extract juice from roots of the mallow plant and whip it with sugar and eggs to make a medicine that could cure sore throats. But this isn’t the earliest record of marshmallows as goodies. No, marshmallows were around during the time of the Ancient Egyptians. That’s 2000 years! Way too much history. Let’s start with how the marshmallow got its name.
As you already know, marshmallows were made from the roots of the mallow plant. So, where did the ‘marsh’ come from? Prepare to be mind-blown. The mallow plant grew in salty marshes. And so, the intelligent humans who existed before the 12th century made 1+3 equate to 13 and called the medicine and sweet the ‘marshmallow’.
So 2000 years ago when an Egyptian discovered that the mallow plant was not only medicinal, but could also be made into a delicacy, he and his friend thought that this treat tasted so good that it should be set apart for only pharaohs, gods, and nobility. These marshmallows were made mainly of mallow sap, honey, and nuts or grains and it was a crime to eat a marshmallow if you weren’t nobility.
The Romans and Greeks were also the first to discover that the same plant could be used to make medicines as well. And so, this plant is still in use as a medicine today mainly to soothe the throat and mouth. But how did the marshmallow become what it is today?
Today, marshmallows are mad up of corn syrup or sugar, acacia gum, flavoring, and gelatin to replace the plant sap. In the 1800s, French confectioners decided to make a dessert with medicinal qualities from the plant root. This is when the biggest change to the marshmallow occurred. Since it would take two days to make this dessert, the marshmallow root was replaced by gelatin, and the marshmallow was born.
On average, Americans today buy 90 million pounds of marshmallows every year. That’s the weight of 1268 blue whales!
Also, did you know, 30th August is known as National Toasted Marshmallow Day in the United States of America. So get your skewers ready and prepare to burn your tongues and have a blast!