The History of the Marshmallow

hot chocolate
hot chocolate

Everyone loves the fluffy stuff whether it is roasting marshmallows over a campfire, sprinkling them on top of a rich hot chocolate or eating them straight out of the bag.

We have all grown up with them but have you ever wondered about the history of the marshmallow? Not many people know that marshmallows were originally made from a plant and were used purely for medicinal purposes.

It is believed the Ancient Egyptians were the first people to take the creamy-flowered marshmallow plant and extract the sap, which they turned into medicine.

This gooey sap, which came from the root, and occasionally the stems, was mixed together with egg whites and sugar, and sometimes honey and nuts. The mixture would thicken then it would be whipped into meringue which would harden.

Egyptian doctors apparently used it to treat sore throats, particularly in children who were coaxed into taking it because of its sugariness.

They grew in popularity in the 1800s but with this growing popularity came changes in their manufacture. The marshmallow root was eliminated and replaced with gelatine which had the effect of making marshmallows more stable but sadly meant they lost their medicinal properties.

The French also took marshmallows on board rather enthusiastically, creating “les guimauves” flavoured with rose water.

But whilst these marshmallows were popular the processes were labour intensive and hard work.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

It wasn’t until American Alex Doumak invented an extruder machine in 1948 that marshmallows truly became industrial and the pink and white ones beloved of millions came into being.

Fast forward more than 60 years and the humble marshmallow is undergoing something of a renaissance with small independent producers returning to more traditional methods of production and hand cut marshmallows.

Add to that some refreshing flavour and texture combinations, and what you now have is an increasing number of marshmallows of truly gourmet proportion, which quite literally blow the original pink and white ones out of the water.

These new confections are proving very popular as people search for ever more creative sweets.

They may not have the medicinal properties of the original marshmallows but they are definitely here to stay.