How is Salt Water Taffy Made?

Alex Williams
11 Min Read

Every child has a dream of visiting Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory once in their lifetime. Dreams never really faded even after growing up because your love for candy never died. From the numerous candy and toffees of the world, salt water taffy has been picked today. And you will get to know how is salt water taffy made and what does salt water taffy tastes like in all parts of the world. Let’s also reveal whether is saltwater taffy bad for you or if it was just your parent’s plan to keep you from eating more taffy.

1. What is the Meaning of Taffy?

To start with how is salt water taffy made and its steps, you should know that the word taffy is said to have been recorded in 1817 in the United States for the first time. It was the term used to refer to boiled candy. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word toffee was published in 1825 in a British publication. Later on, it came to be known as the variation of the word taffy. (See What is a jack-o’-lantern?)

2. What is the Story Behind Salt Water Taffy?

The home of salt water taffy is Atlantic City. There was a person named Bradley, and he used to sell taffy on the street of the boardwalk. In 1883, a huge storm hit the area, and large oceanic waves covered the nearby regions. The boardwalk and the street vendors also were affected by it. The taffy supply available on the candy storefront in Bradley was also wiped off and got dipped in the salty seawater.

While he was clearing things up and collecting his supplies from the road, a girl came to him asking if he had any candy available. He smiled and said she could have as much salt water taffy as she wanted. Bradley’s mother heard this term that Bradley made up jokingly. It was how is salt water taffy made and got its origin. She really loved the name and began selling it from then onwards. (See How Are Jelly Beans Made?)

3. How Did It Become Famous?

Before knowing how is salt water taffy made and about its taste, let’s read the history and how it became a business in the candy industry.

  • Salt water taffy became a popular confectionery in the Atlantic City as it was only available in the candy stores near the beach.
  • An American businessman and confectioner, Joseph Fralinger, heard about the salt water taffy and found it interesting. Investing some time to study the market and demand, he decided to manufacture and sellit. He even found a way to pack the candy so that it does not become sticky. He used to sell it as a souvenir of Atlantic City in 1886.
  • His competitor, Enoch James, turned the candy into bite-size. After making some changes in the recipe, he was able to make it less sticky. He involved the pulling process in the making of taffy.
  • And by the 1920s, there were 450 manufacturers of salt water taffy in different parts of the country. By this time, it saw the heights of its popularity. (Also read Who Knows The Coca Cola Recipe?)

4. Does it Really Have Seawater?

Although the first salt water taffy was so-called because the sweet taffy got soaked in the seawater, in actuality, there is no seawater in the recipe for this candy. So, the question is, how is salt water taffy made, and is it actually made using the basic ingredients?

  • The ingredients required for making the salt water taffy are corn starch, sugar, salt, glycerin, food coloring, natural flavors, artificial flavors, water, corn syrup, and butter.
  • Some recipes involve condensed milk and emulsifiers along with all the other main ingredients. 
  • Salt water taffy without salt and water will be like a lollipop only. However, the amount of salt used in the recipe is much less, giving only a hint of a salty taste when eaten. So, the recipe includes salt and water but not seawater.

Salt water taffy has evolved as the recipe reached the hands of different confectioners. Now let us see how is salt water taffy made. (See Why do kids love candy so much?)

5. How is Salt Water Taffy Made in Factories?

Let’s read how is salt water made and everything related to the process. 

  • The most crucial step in making salt water taffy is the pulling process. Without proper pulling, the mixture would remain hard, and it would not get its authentic texture and taste.
  • In the old times, the confectioner used a hook on the wall for the pulling process. A large glob of taffy was placed on the hook, and then it was stretched and contracted several times to make it more chewy and soft.
  • The person pulling the taffy first needs to pull the taffy mixture to a length of 5 feet, and he then occasionally loops it over and over again. Air gets captured in this process, and tiny air bubbles are formed within it.
  • After sufficient pulling, the taffy was rolled and shaped with hands or on a wooden or marble table. Then, it was cut into pieces 2 inches long and wrapped in pre-cut wax paper. The paper gets twisted to make it easier to open from both ends.
  • This process of pulling taffy was like a tradition during family functions in the 19th century. And people at the enterprise of manufacturing unit also enjoyed this process to make the taffy. (See What is Yellow Mustard Made of?

6. What Does Salt Water Taffy Taste Like?

You may wonder about the taste of this candy after reading how it is made. 

  • A salt water taffy smells like sweet caramel corn with a little hint of marshmallow. It is the same smell as those sold on the Boardwalk candle and other stores on the beachside of Atlantic City.
  • The taffy tastes sweet and creamy, but it also has a little hint of salt to it. Nowadays, different flavors are available in salt water taffy, like mint extracts, red licorice, vanilla, raspberry, lemon, banana, watermelon, and maple. How is saltwater taffy made, and does the list end here?
  • Different shops have different options of flavors available for this sweet treat. Some desert-focused flavors include cheesecake, cinnamon roll, caramel apple, and Neapolitan ice cream.
  • Some more additional flavors, like citrus spice, apricot, and rum, are also available in some shops and bakeries.

Now you know how is salt water made and also about its taste, but it has some bad effects on health too, which is discussed in the next segment. (See Burrito vs Taco vs Fajita)

7. Is Salt Water Taffy Bad for you?

Every candy contains a high content of sugar, and so does salt water taffy. Therefore, it is harmful if consumed in excess.

  • But salt water taffy, compared to other candy, can be more dangerous for the teeth because of its sticky texture.
  • The candies’ high sugar content will increase the body’s sugar level, resulting in high calories. So, consuming a lot of taffy results in excess sugar getting transformed into fat, thus increasing the amount of fat in the body. 

So, taffy is not hard on the digestive system as it is aerated and melts, but anything in excess is harmful. However, eating a moderate amount of saltwater taffy is not bad for the health and teeth. (See Why you should drink more water?)

8. What are the Differences Between Regular Taffy and Salt Water Taffy?

After understanding how is salt water taffy made, by comparison, both have many similarities and a few differences, as given below.

  • It is hard to tell the difference between them because their look, packaging, design, and everything, are the same. The difference between the two taffies can be because of their company of origin.
  • The only thing is the name, and the process, of how is salt water taffy made by adding a pinch of salt to the recipe.
  • The salt water taffy is different from other taffies or candies in the term that this is famous as a summer special or summer taffy. Apart from this, there is no other difference, and the core ingredients are almost the same.
  • People get attracted to the salt water taffy because of its different name. It has become the main center of attraction among tourists and locals visiting the beaches of Atlantic City and Salt Lake City. (See What is Golden Delicious Apples?)

So today, you got to know about how is salt water taffy made and what does salt water taffy tastes like in general. Since it contains a good and normal amount of sugar like all other candies in the market, if consumed in large amounts, it does harm you. So, it would be better to take control of your sweet cravings for candies.

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