When I was little, jelly beans were found in most stores at only one time of the year and that was during the Easter season. The choices were very limited, typically the regular assorted bag of flavors and colors or bags of spiced jelly beans. Today, there is vast array of jelly bean choices along with some unusual flavors. And you can find jelly beans all year long on the store shelves or via the Internet. The most popular year-round jelly bean is probably Jelly Belly™. They come in dozens of colors and flavors such as the pretty multi-colored tutti fruiti flavored ones to the surprisingly delicious buttered popcorn ones, to the intensely flavored jalapeño Jelly Belly™ jelly beans.
Jelly beans are definitely not just for Easter anymore. One of my favorite things to receive is a bag of jelly beans that announce the birth of a baby. I’ve received little bags of either pink or blue jelly beans announcing “It’s as Girl” or “It’s a Boy.” They’re cute and something that’s a little different than the chocolate candy bars many people hand out for new baby births and certainly not as bad for your health as the cigars that new dad’s used to routinely hand out when their new baby was born.
Jelly beans are also a popular favor to hand out at weddings. While jelly beans can be part of an elegant table setting or a sweet treat for guests. I recently attended a wedding where white and red jelly beans (it was a Valentine’s Day wedding) were wrapped in tulle with a tag attached that had the couple’s name and the date of the wedding on it. The small parcels were given to the wedding guests as a tasty memento of their wedding day.
You can utilize jelly beans when making desserts and cakes too. My favorite treat to make at Easter is jelly bean nests. I melt white chocolate and then stir in chow mein noodles. Before the mixture hardens, I spoon it onto waxed paper and form it into little nests. I then fill the “nest” part with several jelly beans.
Jelly beans are a fun way to decorate a cake. You can use jelly beans to create a flag for Independence Day; a pumpkin or black cat for Halloween; a tree for Christmas; a heart for Valentine’s Day or even spell out someone’s name in jelly beans. My friend likes to put jelly beans on her children’s birthday cakes each year, using jelly beans to put their age on the cake.
Jelly beans can have a practical use too. Many ice cream parlors put a jelly bean in the bottom of a sugar cone before putting ice cream in it to prevent leaking as the ice cream melts. As a bonus, there’s a sweet treat waiting at the bottom of the cone.
Jelly beans can also be part of a game at a birthday party, wedding shower, or baby shower. Fill a nice jar with jelly beans (example: use pink, blue, and white jelly beans at a baby shower) and have everyone guess how many jelly beans are in the jar. Whoever has the closest guess wins the jar of jelly beans. Or, you could give out another prize, saving the jar of jelly beans for the guest of honor.
So, even though many of us associate jelly beans with Easter, there are many fun and interesting ways to use them all year long. And if you are a jelly bean lover who just wants to have them around all year long, maybe put them in a jar on your desk like President Ronald Reagan did on the 1980’s so a couple of jelly beans to satisfy your sweet tooth are never far away.