Did you know August 30th is National Toasted Marshmallow Day? How many of you remember trying to get the perfect toasted marshmallow, only to have your efforts land in the middle of the fire? Do you like your marshmallows a lightly toasted brown? Or do you prefer yours with a crispy outside due to catching the marshmallow completely on fire?
I admit I absolutely love toasting marshmallows over a campfire. And, yes, adding the warm gooey mess to chocolate and graham crackers is an additional treat. Some of the best memories are the result of sitting around an open campfire.
Here’s another question: do you know the history of the marshmallow? Being my curious self, I did some research.
History of the Marshmallow
The history of the marshmallow may actually surprise you. The origin extends back over 2000 years, all the way back to the Egyptian times. The sweet sap came from plants thought only to be accessible by members of the high nobility. The Mallow plant sap is the basis for marshmallows. Reaching almost 4 feet high, the plant grows along larger bodies of water. The marshy areas where the plant grows contributed to the name “marshmallow.”
Originally, extracting the sap of the mallow plant was part of a honey and grain mixture for the process of making cakes. The sweet cakes and mallow sap were only for the gods, Pharaohs, and members of the nobility. Anyone else caught consuming the sap would actually be committing a crime.
Around the 15th and 16th century, the mallow plant extract was for medicinal use only. Combining the mallow plant with a liquid mixture was a large part of medicinal practices. Curing everything from sore throats to aches and pains, the brewed mixture was thought to provide instant relief.
Later in the early 19th century, a French confection that mixed the mallow sap with egg whites, sugar and rose water was created. The creation was the origin of the modern-day marshmallow. The candy mixture was an instant success. Doctors still used the mallow mixture for medicinal purposes. Turning the mixture into a hard meringue form allowed patients to suck on the candy, to help relieve the symptoms of sore throats.
The modern-day marshmallows consist of sugar, corn syrup, water, and gelatin. The marshmallow comes in various sizes, shapes, and flavors. The new extra-large campfire marshmallows are fun to toast. The extra gooey mess usually means I only eat one.