Vegetable Candy


Mary Elizabeth Hall

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Tonight, we’ll read excerpts from “Candy-Making Revolutionized: Confectionary from Vegetables” by Mary Elizabeth Hall, printed in 1912. Long-time listeners may recall that this episode first aired back in 2020.

Confectionery is the art of making confections, which are food items that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates. It can be divided into two broad categories: bakers' confections and sugar confections.

Before sugar was readily available in the ancient western world, confectionery was based on honey. Honey was used in ancient civilizations to preserve perishable and delicate fruits and flowers. The ancient Persians, followed by the Greeks, made contact with the Indian subcontinent and spread sugar agriculture from what was thought of as the native Indian "reeds that produce honey without bees".

Generally, confections are low in micronutrients and protein but high in calories. Many confections are considered empty calories and ultra-processed foods.

Hall wrote that her hope was that through this book “ the more vegetable candy is made, the less unhealthful confectionery there will be consumed.”