Easter season is upon us and that means the return of a springtime tradition: Easter baskets adorned with Peeps.
The neon-colored marshmallow chicks are synonymous with Easter. And while their bright colors and blobby shapes are quickly recognizable, their history is less familiar. Here are some surprising facts about Peeps and just what they're made of?
When Were Peeps Invented?
Peeps were actually invented by accident. Sam Born, a Russian immigrant and confectioner, founded the candy company Just Born in 1923 in New York and made several popular candies including Mike and Ikes and Hot Tamales.
Just Born bought Rodda Candy Company in 1953 to acquire its jelly bean technology. While touring the Rodda factory, they stumbled upon workers in a back room making Peeps by hand using pastry tubes. At the time, it took 27 hours to make Peeps because the marshmallow required a lot of time to dry before it could be packaged.
The company founder's son, Bob Born, figured out how to automate the process and reduce cooling time, shortening production to just six minutes.
What Are Peeps Made Of?
Making Peeps only requires three ingredients: sugar, corn syrup and gelatin. The chicks' eyes, are made from food-grade carnauba wax.
How Are Peeps Made?
Ingredients are mixed, cooked and pumped into a mixing kettle. A gelatin solution is added to help the marshmallow keep its shape. The liquid marshmallow is then pumped with compressed air and formed into its final shape.
The Peeps then go through a dusting chamber to get coated with a “sugar shower.” A machine adds two candied eyes made of a confectioner’s glaze. The Peeps are then packed by hand or robot and shipped.
Unused sugar is reused for future Peeps.
Where Are Peeps Made?
Peeps are made at Just Born’s factory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
How Many Peeps Are Made a Year?
This factory makes over 5.5 million Peeps a day, totaling 2 billion a year.
How Many Flavors of Peeps Are There?
Peeps are available this year in 12 flavors, including the fan-favorites Classic, Chocolate Pudding and Party Cake.
The company has launched eight limited edition flavors for Easter 2022: Donut Shop Coffee, Donut Shop Coffee Filled Caramel Mocha, Sparkly Wild Berry, Tropical Burst, Strawberry Dipped in Milk Chocolate, Classic Dipped Chocolate, Fruit Loop Pop and Cotton Candy.
Some flavors may only be available at exclusive retailers.