We probably all loved chewing gum in our childhood or youth. For some it remains until adulthood. Once you learn how it’s actually made, you might change your mind about this treat.
In general, it is very useful to know how certain foods or other things in our lives are made. This time we’re looking at chewing gum, one of the world’s most popular treats. “Guaranteed” failures occur quite often about the various nasties that go into this delicacy. But when one wants to know such things exactly, it is best to ask an expert, specifically a food engineer.
Three phases of one product
According to Zsolt Traszkovics, chewing gum production can be divided into three parts. The spectrum of materials that can be used in their production is regulated by special food regulations. According to experts, these gummy candies consists of sugar, glucose syrup, invert sugar syrup (mostly made from corn) and a gelling agent, usually gelatin. And that’s where the problems start. One of these ingredients hides something you wouldn’t expect in food.
“Gelatin is a collagen product of animal origin, we have it in larger quantities in our skin and connective tissue,” illuminates Zsolt. It is also stated that the gelatin in the chewing gum is exactly the same as gelatin which we can buy in stores at any time. If this information did not calm you down and you do not want to put such a thing in your mouth, there is good news. There are also chewing gums on the market that are made exclusively from plant ingredients.
The right shape and other ingredients
When the gelatin reaches the right color and taste, manufacturers can add flavors, colors and other substances to it. These are, for example, flavors and fruit juices. It is worth paying attention mainly to the latter, because they decide on the final quality of the product. And logically, they also affect the price of chewing gum.
So how did it all come about?
The production of chewing gum itself begins with the preparation of the substance that forms the basis of this candy. Because it is still a very thick liquid, factories shape it in a very sophisticated way. The base is a tray filled with cornstarch – i.e. fine white powder – with a negative pattern. According to Zsolt, the desired shape is pressed into it, and the already prepared material is then poured into the cavity. After a short or long “rest” at the appropriate temperature, the gum will get its texture.
In the third stage, the contents of the container are emptied, and the remaining starch powder is separated using a sieve. Thus, only the fixed tire remains. It can then be suitably coated with a glossy wax, which prevents it from sticking to other surfaces. Possibly this base can also be given a layer of sour sugar. As the expert adds, you can also make gum at home. However, whether we buy it at the store or make it ourselves, it will always contain a lot of sugar, so it is appropriate to consume it in moderation.
Useful in the kitchen
There are several interesting things about chewing gum, including the fact that it can help with tears while chopping onions. How is that possible? When you chew, you tend to breathe through your mouth rather than your nose. Irritation caused by the smell of onions will be much less. Being such a popular delicacy, it – like many other things – has also earned its own international day. That is, two at once. The first falls on February 15, the second on September 30.