One of America’s Favorite Christmas Treats – Candy Cane

December 4, 2017 at 6:23 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A traditional candy cane

A candy cane is a cane-shaped stick candy often associated with Christmastide, as well as Saint Nicholas Day. It is traditionally white with red stripes and flavored with peppermint, but may also be a variety of other flavors and colors.

 

 

According to folklore, in 1670, in Cologne, Germany, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children in his church during the Living Crèche tradition of Christmas Eve, asked a local candy maker for some “sugar sticks” for them. In order to justify the practice of giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who visited the infant Jesus. In addition, he used the white color of the converted sticks to teach children about the Christian belief in the sinless life of Jesus. From Germany, candy canes spread to other parts of Europe, where they were handed out during plays reenacting the Nativity. As such, according to this legend, the candy cane became associated with Christmastide.

The earliest verifiable reference to stick candy is a record of the 1837 Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, where confections were judged competitively. A recipe for straight peppermint candy sticks, white with colored stripes, was published in 1844. The “candy cane” is found in literature in 1866, though no description of color or flavor was provided. Its earliest known association with Christmas was in 1874, and by 1882 canes were being hung on Christmas trees.

 

 

 

Candy cane

As with other forms of stick candy, the earliest canes were manufactured by hand. Chicago confectioners the Bunte Brothers filed one of the earliest patents for candy cane making machines in the early 1920s. In 1919 in Albany, Georgia, Robert McCormack began making candy canes for local children and by the middle of the century, his company (originally the Famous Candy Company, then the Mills-McCormack Candy Company, and later Bobs Candies) had become one of the world’s leading candy cane producers. Candy cane manufacturing initially required a fair bit of labor that limited production quantities; the canes had to be bent manually as they came off the assembly line to create their curved shape and breakage often ran over 20 percent. McCormack’s brother-in-law, Gregory Harding Keller, was a seminary student in Rome who spent his summers working in the candy factory back home. In 1957, Keller, as an ordained Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Little Rock, patented his invention, the Keller Machine, which automated the process of twisting soft candy into spiral striping and cutting it into precise lengths as candy canes.

 

It’s Nuts I tell you….Christmas Gifts – Peppermint Wonderland

December 8, 2016 at 6:03 AM | Posted in NUTS COM | Leave a comment
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This week from the nuts.com website (https://nuts.com/) it’s about Christmas Gifts – Peppermint Wonderland. This is just one of many Gifts you can find at the Nuts website (https://nuts.com/). At the Nuts site you’ll find a wide assortment of NUTS, DRIED FRUIT, CHOCOLATES and SWEETS, SNACKS, COFFEE and TEA, COOKING and BAKING and more! Most items can be purchased in small amounts or in bulk. Plus there’s Everyday Free Shipping, check for details. Now more on the Peppermint Wonderland.

 
Peppermint Wonderlandpeppermint-wonderland

Peppermint Wonderland celebrates one of our most beloved holiday treats: our wonderful peppermint bark. We start with a layer of the highest quality dark chocolate. Next, we layer on top some smooth and creamy white chocolate. Finally, we swirl in some peppermint candy cane pieces. Peppermint bark is wondrous wintry decadence by the mouthful! Packed in a pretty silver tin, Peppermint Wonderland makes a festive and delicious holiday gift. Walk your taste buds through a minty wonderland with our Peppermint Wonderland gift tin! Gift includes almost one pound of bark.

*Please note: Due to availability, color of tin may vary.

Ingredients
Packaged in the same facility as peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, and milk products.

Storage
Store at room temperature for up to 6 months.
https://nuts.com/gifts/gifttins/peppermint-wonderland.html

 

 

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Kitchen Hint of the Day!

January 4, 2016 at 6:34 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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For the tea Drinkers…..

 

Add a few sprigs of fresh peppermint to leftover tea while it is still warm, then refrigerate. Serve over ice. Love that Tea!

Christmas Candy – Ribbon Candy

December 19, 2015 at 10:13 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Peppermint ribbon candy

Peppermint ribbon candy

Ribbon candy is a type of hard candy which in North America most often appears for sale around the Christmas holiday season. It acquires its shape by first being fashioned as warm sugar into flat strips. A strip is then folded back and forth over itself to form a hardened ribboned stick. The sugar is often colored to appear festive, and the candy often has a glossy sheen. It is commonly made with extracts, often of different mint or citrus flavors. It is usually thin enough to melt quickly in the mouth, but because pieces of it are usually larger than bite size, biting into a stick of it causes shattering and shards. Many types of ribbon candies also tend to become sticky easily, usually either due to body warmth from being held, or simply from room temperature and humidity. Because of what some consider to be its pretty appearance, it is often used like decor, put out on display in candy dishes, plates, or apothecary jars. When it is used in this way it tends to end up sticking together if it has been sitting out for an extended period of time.

 
Ribbon candy is a traditional Christmas candy that goes back for centuries in Europe, though it is unclear exactly where the candy was first created.

Confectioners developed the candy as a Christmas decoration for their shops, modeling the wavy form around the candy maker’s thumb. In the 1800s mechanical crimpers were invented to shape the ribbons. Finger-like crimpers simulated the curl originally put into the candy by hand. A candy maker made the candy, another spun off a ribbon and fed it into a crimper which was then turned by hand. Finally, the curly ribbon was cut with scissors as it came down a small conveyor.

Mechanical crimpers worked well, but the process was slow and very labor-intensive. As demand increased for ribbon candy, it became clear that another way to make the candy had to be found. Until the 1940s ribbon candy was never made on a large scale, because more sophisticated equipment was needed. A single spinning roll was developed and it was found that by very careful tending of the candy batch, the hand spinner could be eliminated and the automated machine could run faster. The big bottleneck was in having to cut the candy with scissors. An air activated automatic cutter was invented by Sevigny Candy and is still in use today by F.B. Washburn Candy, which purchased Sevigny Candy in June 1986. The Brockton, Massachusetts-based F.B. Washburn Candy company is now the primary source for ribbon candy in the US and Canada.

Ribbon Candy became a Christmas tradition all over the New England area and has now spread throughout the country.

 

Herb and Spice of the Week – Peppermint

March 12, 2015 at 5:18 AM | Posted in Herb and Spice of the Week | 1 Comment
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Peppermint

Peppermint

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita, also known as M. balsamea Willd). is a hybrid mint, a cross between watermint and spearmint. The plant, indigenous to Europe and the Middle East, is now widespread in cultivation in many regions of the world. It is found wild occasionally with its parent species.

 

 

 

Peppermint typically occurs in moist habitats, including stream sides and drainage ditches. Being a hybrid, it is usually sterile, producing no seeds and reproducing only vegetatively, spreading by its rhizomes. If placed, it can grow anywhere, with a few exceptions.

Outside of its native range, areas where peppermint was formerly grown for oil often have an abundance of feral plants, and it is considered invasive in Australia, the Galápagos Islands, New Zealand, and in the United States in the Great Lakes region, noted since 1843.

 

 

 

Peppermint generally grows best in moist, shaded locations, and expands by underground rhizomes. Young shoots are taken from old stocks and dibbled into the ground about 1.5 feet apart. They grow quickly and cover the ground with runners if it is permanently moist. For the home gardener, it is often grown in containers to restrict rapid spreading. It grows best with a good supply of water, without being water-logged, and planted in areas with part-sun to shade.

The leaves and flowering tops are used; they are collected as soon as the flowers begin to open and can be dried. The wild form of the plant is less suitable for this purpose, with cultivated plants having been selected for more and better oil content. They may be allowed to lie and wilt a little before distillation, or they may be taken directly to the still.

 

 

Peppermint flowers.

Peppermint flowers.

Pliny the elder, 79 AD, an ancient Roman author, natural philosopher and naval and military commander wrote Naturalis Historia, it tells us that the Greeks and Romans crowned themselves with peppermint at their feasts and adorned their tables with its sprays, and that their cooks flavored both their sauces and their wines with its essence.

It is the oldest and most popular flavor of mint-flavored confectionery and is often used in tea and for flavoring ice cream, confectionery, chewing gum, and toothpaste. Peppermint can also be found in some shampoos, soaps and skin care products.

Menthol activates cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin and mucosal tissues, and is the primary source of the cooling sensation that follows the topical application of peppermint oil.

Peppermint flowers are large nectar producers and honey bees as well as other nectar harvesting organisms forage them heavily. A mild, pleasant varietal honey can be produced if there is a sufficient area of plants.

 

 

 

Peppermint oil has a high concentration of natural pesticides, mainly pulegone (Found mainly in Mentha arvensis var. piperascens Cornmint, Field Mint, Japanese Mint and to a lesser extent-6,530 ppm in Mentha x piperita subsp. nothosubsp. piperita, and menthone.

The chemical composition of the essential oil from peppermint (Mentha x piperita L.) was analyzed by GC/FID and GC-MS. The main constituents were menthol (40.7%) and menthone (23.4%). Further components were (+/-)-menthyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, limonene, beta-pinene and beta-caryophyllene.

 

 

 

Freeze-dried leaves.

Freeze-dried leaves.

Peppermint has a long tradition of use in folk medicine and aromatherapy. Peppermint is commonly thought to soothe or treat symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, indigestion, irritable bowel, and bloating, although most of these effects have not been adequately demonstrated in human research.

The aroma of peppermint has been studied for its possible effect to enhance memory and alertness, although other research contests this.

Peppermint oil ingestion by capsules for four weeks may relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms via an effect on pain sensing fibers.

According to the German Commission E monographs, peppermint oil (as well as peppermint leaf) has been used internally as an antispasmodic (upper gastrointestinal tract and bile ducts) and to treat irritable bowel syndrome, catarrh of the respiratory tract, and inflammation of the oral mucosa. Externally, peppermint oil has been used for myalgia and neuralgia. According to Commission E, peppermint oil may also act as a carminative, cholagogue, antibacterial, and secretolytic, and it has a cooling action.

Enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules (Colpermin) have been used as an orally administered antispasmodic premedication in colonoscopy. The capsules were found beneficial in reducing total procedure time, reducing colonic spasm, increasing endoscopist satisfaction and decreasing pain in patients during colonoscopy.

When peppermint oil antacid products dissolve too quickly, they can sometimes cause heartburn and nausea.

Due to the menthol constituent, topical use of peppermint oil around the facial or chest areas of infants and young children, especially around the nose, can induce apnea, laryngeal and bronchial spasm, acute respiratory distress with cyanosis, or respiratory arrest.

Peppermint oil is also used in construction and plumbing to test for the tightness of pipes and disclose leaks by its odor.

 

One of America’s Favorite Christmas Treats – Candy Cane

December 2, 2014 at 6:40 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Candy Cane

Candy Cane

A candy cane or peppermint stick is a cane-shaped hard candy stick associated with Christmas. It is traditionally white with red stripes and flavored with peppermint; but is also made in a variety of other flavors and colors.

 

 

 

According to folklore, in 1670, in Cologne, Germany, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children in his church during the Living Crèche tradition of Christmas Eve, asked a local candy maker for some sweet sticks for them. In order to justify the practice of giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who paid visit to infant Jesus. In addition, he used the white color of the converted sticks to teach children about the Christian belief in the sinless life of Jesus. From Germany, the candy canes spread to other parts of Europe, where they were handed out during plays reenacting the Nativity.

Snopes.com – a web site that researches urban legends, Internet rumors, e-mail forwards, and other stories of unknown or questionable origin – deems the account false, citing its “significant historical problems” and the inability to provide conclusive evidence that verifies the account.

A recipe for straight peppermint candy sticks, white with colored stripes, was published in 1844. The candy cane has been mentioned in literature since 1866, was first mentioned in association with Christmas in 1874, and as early as 1882 was hung on Christmas trees.

 

 

An early image of candy canes

An early image of candy canes

Chicago confectioners the Bunte Brothers filed the one of the earliest patents for candy cane making machines in the early 1920s. Meanwhile, in 1919 in Albany, Georgia, Bob McCormack began making candy canes for local children. By the middle of the century his company (originally the Famous Candy Company, then the Mills-McCormack Candy Company, and later Bobs Candies) had become one of the world’s leading candy cane producers. But candy cane manufacturing initially required a fair bit of labor that limited production quantities. The canes had to be bent manually as they came off the assembly line in order to create their ‘J’ shape, and breakage often ran over 20 percent. It was McCormack’s brother-in-law, a seminary student in Rome named Gregory Harding Keller, who used to spend his summers back home working in the candy factory. In 1957, now ordained a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Little Rock, Keller patented his invention, the Keller Machine which automated the process of twisting soft candy into spiral striping and then cutting them into precise lengths as candy canes. Fr. Keller and his machine gained national fame in the 1960s when he was a contestant on the popular TV show What’s My Line.

 

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