On all other nights we eat many kinds of fruits... On this night...
April 16, 2019 5:41 AM   Subscribe

The shape of the jelly, like the shape of the McDonald’s McRib, pays homage to something that it is not - The Secret History of those Passover Jellied Fruit Slices. Still don't appreciate them? Economy Candy says Don't Diss Passover Fruit Slices (audio) posted by Mchelly (45 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
I did not know they were gelled with agar agar. It's funny that it's now such a staple ingredient on cooking shows, whereas it wasn't really used in any other application for candies but the jelly fruit slice up until a few years ago.
posted by xingcat at 5:55 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


whereas it wasn't really used in any other application for candies but the jelly fruit slice up until a few years ago.
That's not really true - it's really commonly used in Asian sweets.
posted by peacheater at 5:57 AM on April 16 [15 favorites]


You know what is sad? Fannie Mae used to make really good fruit slices and discontinued them. I grew up with those and never understood why people complained about fruit slices.
posted by Frowner at 6:03 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]


Oh, man, I love those little yummies!
posted by Thorzdad at 6:12 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


They are best when a little stale
posted by InkaLomax at 6:16 AM on April 16 [16 favorites]


Interesting, I had no idea about this link. The fruit slices were available year-round in the bulk bins at every grocery store where I grew up (perhaps not coincidentally, not that far from Winnipeg--although if the Winnipeg company's claim is accurate, then they aren't an American product at all).
posted by Fish Sauce at 6:39 AM on April 16


I remember as a kid going to the Sears candy counter. My dad would always buy us a bag of Swedish Fish but I would always stare at the fruit slices and wonder what they tasted like. They looked so good. I think I only tried them when I became an adult and they were as good as I always imagined.

My favorite candy is Chuckles, but they're hard to find. There's one store in my town that has them so I always grab 4-5 packages and my kid and I will share one now and then. I bought a case of them for Halloween this year and I was SO excited to hand them out to the kids but nobody knew what they were. They considered them "old people candy." Lesson learned.
posted by bondcliff at 6:46 AM on April 16 [8 favorites]


Great post! I have a new appreciation for the candy fruit slice, but let's be real, I'm still probably going to pass them up in favor of the weird chocolate marshmallows with the fish gelatin.
posted by eponym at 7:00 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Sadly, this article didn't explain the mysterious white stripe between the "fruit" and the "rind."
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:07 AM on April 16 [13 favorites]


although if the Winnipeg company's claim is accurate, then they aren't an American product at all

They don't, for whatever reason, mention the name of that company but it is now called Cavalier Candies (their story is on the website). Incidentally, Winnipeg's Jewish community has a long and interesting history.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:11 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Not being Jewish, I had no idea fruit jelly slices were a Passover thing. As Fish Sauce mentions above, they are just a regular item in the candy aisle at the supermarket and we buy them quite often. Honestly, I kind of thought they were a Boston thing, because there were so many candy makers in Boston in years gone by and there are a bunch of local candies that linger on in one form or another.
posted by briank at 7:17 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]


They considered them "old people candy."

More for this geezer! Oh, man! I haven't thought of Chuckles in years and years. But, you brought it all back. I loved them. I remember carefully biting off each segment or rib of each color. I never mixed colors. Had to finish each one. Which to save for last? Orange or green? Will have to look them up next time I am back.

Still have a lonely half-size roll of Necco wafers in my office waiting for the right moment. Don't think they can go stale, can they?
posted by Gotanda at 7:29 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


These things are great! Definitely the best of the jelly candies.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:32 AM on April 16


They're a popular candy in northern Poland (which, SO much inter-trading between our cuisine and our Ashkenazi neighbours, not surprising), as are powdered jellies. A homemade recipe involves powdered jelly reconstituted in citrus peels, then rolled in sugar once solidified and sliced. The powdered kind are usually pork gellatin, but the storebought kind are indeed agar-agar.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 7:36 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


As far as I recall, the flavors didn’t in any way correspond to the colors, right? I mean, I love like, but I seem to remember the green ones tasting more like NyQuil.

I can’t say I liked the taste, but I didn’t mind the texture, and wow, great for a sugar rush.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:44 AM on April 16


The last link, the ranking of food gets the part about the sadness of trying to adapt recipes for Passover. The best food eaten during Passover is stuff that you eat because it’s the holiday, not stuff you can’t live without for eight days so you try to make do with ingredients that just aren’t up to the task.

But it’s dead wrong about brisket being only 5th. I don’t think I knew that brisket was a bbq thing until my mid twenties. I honestly thought it was just a part of the cow that only Jews knew about. The only thing that even comes close to brisket is potato kugel muffins, and then only if they’ve got the crispy bits of chicken skin mixed in with the batter. Well, and maybe charoset, but only if it doesn’t have walnuts. Those are gross.

for someone who hasn’t attended a Seder in twenty years, it would seem I still harbor some strong opinions...
posted by Ghidorah at 7:52 AM on April 16 [9 favorites]




The valedictorians of Montreal's Yiddish High School program, Yidlife Crisis has just addressed this very issue in a new song. (In English, no less!)
posted by zaelic at 9:28 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Although I assume that these are not actually certified kosher so would need to be eaten at other times, if you would like to like fruit slices, you can get really delicious pectin fruit gummies and jellybeans at co-ops, Fresh Thyme, etc. They are in the bulk section, and they're made with basically fruit juice, pectin and sugar (like the ones in the recipe above). You can get them in little packs, too - I've never noticed if the packaged ones have got the kosher certification, but I'll check next time I'm there.
posted by Frowner at 9:38 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


[x] Yes, this content is very relevant to me
posted by hanov3r at 9:46 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


I hate them so much, and our Seders are never complete without someone remarking "These are the jellies of our affliction."
posted by yellowbinder at 10:30 AM on April 16 [12 favorites]


They are best when a little stale and highly controversial?

Jewish Peeps, i say.

Also, thank you Ashwagandha for that fascinating link on Winnepeg's Jewish community, who knew? (definitely not me)
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:41 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


Fruit jelly candy is the best candy. Chuckles are good but the absolute best are the Sunkist Fruit Gems.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:42 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


I love charoset so much. Is there any reason we can’t eat it all year round? I mean, there don’t seem to be any rules against it, but I think I’d feel a little guilty about it all the same?
posted by panama joe at 11:18 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


I freaking love jelly fruit slices! I regret not picking some up last week when I stocked up on macaroons and matzah meal because I won't cross the Stop & Shop picket line. None of the other supermarkets acknowledge Passover in their circulars, so I don't know if I'll find them elsewhere.
posted by Ruki at 11:18 AM on April 16


I love charoset so much. Is there any reason we can’t eat it all year round? I mean, doesn’t seem to be any rules against it, but I think I’d feel a little guilty all the same?

No reason, I think it's just like candy canes when it's not Xmas... and also like candy canes, it has its own seasonal ice cream flavor
posted by Mchelly at 11:23 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


My family never had fruit slices (though I did have an unpleasant experience with kosher jelly beans in college). We were very much a chocolate family, so my favorite Passover desserts were dark chocolate pops, and then in high school, chocolate-covered matzah. (Charoset has always been the best Passover sweet thing though.)
posted by dialMforMara at 11:25 AM on April 16


and also like candy canes, it has its own seasonal ice cream flavor

I am feeling so much happy right now!
posted by panama joe at 11:34 AM on April 16


My favorite local ice cream joint has a charoset flavor (the owners are Jewish) (ctrl-f or scroll to the c's).
posted by carrioncomfort at 12:01 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


I have fond memories of those from childhood. Never knew they were agar-agar, which is neat... I think of agar's main use as bacterial growth medium, but it's got considerable culinary uses.

I wonder if there's a good FPP in "what are your family's Passover traditions"... my family has plenty, most of them silly.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 12:03 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


My favorite local ice cream joint has a charoset flavor

!!!!!!
posted by Quasirandom at 12:16 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


They also have apples and honey ice cream and cheesecake ice cream, which are delicious in their own right, but, they're clearly for Rosh Hashanah and Shavuot, right?
posted by carrioncomfort at 12:29 PM on April 16


More Passover assistance, from the other end of the table: Passover cocktails for each of the 10 plagues
posted by marcpski at 12:42 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


As far as I recall, the flavors didn’t in any way correspond to the colors, right? I mean, I love like, but I seem to remember the green ones tasting more like NyQuil.

The flavors don't particularly correspond with the colors, but they are definitely distinct from each other! At the last seder I attended, we ended up doing a blindfolded competition to see who could identify the most colors correctly. My boyfriend nailed it; the rest of us were all over the place.
posted by naoko at 1:51 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


(briefly glomps on Gotanda for the Necco wafers love)

If you have Ben and Jerrys' ice cream cookbook, they have what appears to be a proto-version of that charoset ice cream - it's a charoset sundae, where they give you the recipe for the apple-cinnamon-walnut ice cream topping, and you drizzle it on some vanilla. I bet you could just swirl that topping into a regular batch of sweet cream ice cream and make your own.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:24 PM on April 16


I love those fruit slices and never knew they had any connection to Passover. My favorite part is the texture difference between the "rind" and the "fruit" -- that, and how pretty they are. I would always choose these when allowed to pick some candy on a trip to the mall with my grandmother. The grapefruit are my favorite.
posted by fiercecupcake at 2:29 PM on April 16


The fruit jellies are my spouse's favorite Passover treat. His dad makes these amazing macaroons that are basically just whole almonds ground in the blender, mixed with a little egg white, and baked. They're soooo good he started calling them "fiberoons" in hopes that he could scare people from eating all of them.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:08 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


FAIRWAY BLUE RASPBERRY FRUIT JELLIES
posted by colorblock sock at 6:43 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Oh, we keep being gifted these, I wondered why people were buying them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:36 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Oh, we keep being gifted these, I wondered why people were buying them.
If you don't want them, you can send them to me...
posted by Karmakaze at 6:45 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Our family is vegetarian; and since gelatine comes from animal bones, most "fruit gums" are literally meat. There's always the weird conversation with the "Oh, you're vegan then?" to which "No, we eat eggs and milk" only prolongs the confusion.

In the UK the best are the vegetarian Percy Pigs (the ones with the green ears). I had a friend tell his daughter not to eat one because they're treyf, and I had to show him the packaging. The pig face made him thoroughly unmotivated to reverse his ruling, however.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 9:05 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Huh. I'm Jewish, and I'd encountered candy fruit slices, but I'd never thought of them as a Passover thing. I recall them as a bulk-bin/small-generic-package thing year round, and the rare occasions when they came into our house, AFAICT, didn't coincide with Pesach. Our Passover sweet was the cookie of our affliction, the Manischewitz macaroon.

On an unrelated note, the story mentioned in passing an astonishing specimen of American cuisine, the 1926 book 60 New Ways to Serve a Famous Candy Bar, which I had also never heard of. A quick search, alas, doesn't turn up any full-text scans of this wonder, but the samples available tell quite the tale. Here, with no further fanfare, is the recipe for Oh Henry! Stuffed Tomatoes.
posted by jackbishop at 6:39 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Here, with no further fanfare, is the recipe for Oh Henry! Stuffed Tomatoes.

For those not brave enough to click the link, allow me to spoil it for you by telling you the only ingredients not included in the name of the dish are mayo, salt and lettuce to serve on(!)
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:31 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


I saw the Passover fruit slices in the grocery store yesterday, so of course I had to buy some. They did not live up either in flavor or texture to the Fannie May ones I loved as a kid. (Texture too grainy, not enough of a difference between the "fruit" and the "peel", and the citrus flavors were not sour enough.)
posted by Daily Alice at 7:33 AM on April 18




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