Easter Basket 2012: Why Do So Many Jelly Beans Suck?

Jelly Belly sours. These don't suck! [Photo: Robyn Lee]

As a kid, Easter baskets meant two things to me: Peeps and jelly beans. As a childhood chocolate-hater (who didn't really get over that aversion until college), those were pretty much the only candies I'd want; no Cadbury eggs or chocolate bunnies for me.

But here's the thing about jelly beans: so many of them suck. Really suck. They're too grainy on the outside and too gummy on the inside. Or they're totally flavorless in the interior. Or you want that outside bit to have a little resistance, but it's wimpy around the edges. Or hard and stale. Or the flavor just goes nowhere beyond sugar.

I think what bothers me most of all about most jelly beans is that they have the potential to be so excellent. Like Jelly Bellies! I'm a lifelong Jelly Belly fan because each little bean tastes like something. The flavors are much more vibrant and powerful than most candy flavors are. But when you crack open that flimsy plastic egg and see a few huge, clunky jelly beans you know won't deliver on taste? It's like coal in the stocking.

I've found a few other brands—Starburst, for one—that do a fine job, but so many others (I'm looking at you, Brach's) are nothing but disappointing.

What jelly beans are you fond of? And does anyone else share my frustration with most?

About the author: Carey Jones is the Senior Managing Editor of Serious Eats. Follow her on Twitter (@careyjones).

Serious Eats Newsletters

Keep up with our latest recipes, tips, techniques and where to eat!


Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: