If your favorite candy is the humble jelly bean, then April is your lucky month – and not just because of Easter. Did you know that jelly beans have their very own holiday in spring?
Yep – National Jelly Bean Day happens every year about a week and a half after Easter. So we’re here to help you celebrate with some fun facts about this all-American candy and the day dedicated to celebrating it.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about National Jelly Bean Day.
National Jelly Bean Day Fun Facts
When is National Jelly Bean Day?
So don’t worry if you have bags of leftover jelly beans after the Easter baskets are gone! (We know, hard to imagine.) You can repurpose them for a fun National Jelly Bean Day activity, which we’ll cover later in this blog.
No one knows who started National Jelly Bean Day.
Unlike some of the other sweets-themed holidays, you can celebrate throughout the year, the history of National Jelly Bean Day is pretty much a mystery. It may have been invented by candy manufacturers for promotional purposes, or by fans on social media, or for something else entirely.
Whatever the reason, jelly bean lovers can rejoice in April, and often pick up special offer items from jelly bean brands to celebrate.
So… it wasn’t invented by Ronald Reagan?
It is true that former President Ronald Reagan famously loved jelly beans – so much, in fact, that the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California, has multiple exhibits dedicated to him, including portraits made entirely of jelly beans. The story goes that Reagan switched to jelly beans after quitting smoking. The president reportedly had jars of jelly beans on his desk and at official meetings.
However, there’s no evidence he’s responsible for the holiday dedicated to his favorite candy.
The origin of jelly beans is a little murky.
However, many food historians trace the origins of jelly beans to two other unique treats: Jordan almonds and Turkish Delight. Jelly beans have a similar manufacturing process to that of Jordan almonds, called “panning,” in which candy pieces are coated with sugary, sweet shells. As for the connection to Turkish Delight, both candies are gelatin-based chewy pieces with fruity or floral flavors.
Jelly beans are the third-most-popular Easter candy.
According to National Geographic, Americans eat a whopping 16 billion jelly beans every Easter. The only candies Americans prefer more on Easter are chocolate bunnies (in first place) and marshmallow Peeps (in second).
Most agree that the association of jelly beans with Easter has to do with the egg-like shape of the candy beans.
National Jelly Bean Day Activities
Want to celebrate the jelly bean this April 22? Check out the following jelly bean activities to try at home, in classrooms, and more.
Bake with jelly beans.
Sure, you could try making your own jelly beans from scratch… but considering that modern sugar panning (the process used to make jelly beans) requires some pretty heavy-duty machinery, you’re probably better off buying some professionally made and adding them to your favorite baked good recipes, like super easy jelly bean fudge.
Below are a few more recipes you can try:
1. Jelly Bean Popcorn
This is technically an Easter recipe. But if you’re still feeling the jelly bean cravings come April 22 (and we hope you are!), you can always adapt this delicious jelly bean popcorn recipe to a non-Easter theme.
2. Jelly Bean Bark
Another easily adaptable Easter recipe, this white chocolate jelly bean bark looks as delicious as it is pretty.
3. Macaroon Jelly Bean “Nests”
Again, since jelly beans look like tiny candy eggs, they make for great “egg’s nest” cookies like these mouth-watering coconut lemon macaroons.
4. Jelly Bean Sugar Cookies
Don’t want to get fancy? No problem. Popping your favorite flavor jelly beans into a simple sugar cookie recipe is an easy but delicious way to celebrate National Jelly Bean Day.
Use jelly beans in school lessons.
Using candy in the classroom or during homeschool lessons can be a great treat for kids, injecting some fun and creativity into your normal routine. When National Jelly Bean Day falls on a school day, take the opportunity to incorporate jelly beans into your math or science lessons.
One way is to use jelly beans as construction material, along with toothpicks, for a STEM activity. Another is simply playing math or sorting games out of these colorful, countable treats, especially for lower grades.
Have a jelly bean counting contest for a good cause.
Planning a charity event or fundraiser? If it falls on National Jelly Bean Day, take advantage by holding a jelly bean counting contest. You can raffle off gifts and donate the proceeds to a good cause.
Can’t get enough of chewy, fruity candies? Check out the gourmet options at Candy Club to get your sweet fix all year-round.