The Good: Taste wonderful, Delicious, Environmentally responsible bulk, Did I mention yummy?
The Bad: Not terribly nutritious
The Basics: A perfectly delicious Jelly Belly in an environmentally responsible bulk, runs into my high standards and gets knocked down for not tasting much like Caramel Apple.
There is something annoying about having standards and actually sticking to them sometimes. I'm not actually decrying standards, but I am critiquing myself for having high standards. So, for example, when I began reviewing teas by Celestial Seasonings, I established one of my standards as a very simple and direct: whatever the flavor the tea claims to be, it has to taste like that in order to get anything higher than "average." Anything that falls short of tasting remotely like the fruit (usually it is a fruit) that it claims to cannot be rated higher than average by me, no matter how much I enjoy it.
I mention this as the preface to my review of Caramel Apple Jelly Belly jelly beans because I can (and do) eat these by the ten pound case. They are delicious and have a pleasant fruity/sweet taste to them that I find strangely addictive. But this is not the most distinctive flavor of Jelly Belly jelly beans by the objective standard of tasting like the fruit (even a modified fruit) they claim to.
For those who might never have had Jelly Belly jelly beans, these are easily the best jelly beans on the planet, packing a lot of flavor into a very small size. Unlike most jelly beans which are only vaguely flavored and are more based on colors, Jelly Belly jelly beans have a wide variety of actual flavors, like Plum, Sunkist Orange, Red Apple, or their signature flavor Buttered Popcorn.
Who needs ten pounds of Caramel Apple flavored Jelly Belly's? Well, me for one and I accept cases of these for birthdays, internationally recognized holidays, overzealous secret Santa gifts, St. Swithens day or as some form of mob warning when I get too close to the truth. Yeah, I'll take them for pretty much anything, even if they only vaguely taste like Caramel Apple.
Caramel Apple is a flavor of Jelly Belly jelly beans. Jelly Belly jelly beans are approximately one half inch long by one quarter inch wide and they are roughly bean-shaped. These little candies are marketed to taste precisely like Caramel Apple and it's a tough sell to me as to whether or not they do. They are sweet, have a somewhat apple bouquet when one bites into them, but the caramel . . . the caramel flavoring is a little more like cinnamon (real cinnamon) to me than caramel.
Caramel Apple flavored Jelly Belly's are available in a wide array of quantities, but the largest quantity available is the ten pound bulk case. This is a decent-sized box with a plastic lining and while some might wonder why anyone would need a ten pound box, I say "hey, I can still look at myself in the mirror, so back off!" The Caramel Apple flavor, is one that is underrated and I want to say that a ten pound case is a year's supply of these jelly beans, they would certainly keep for a year even in this level of bulk, but my case never seems to last nearly that long.
The Caramel Apple Jelly Belly is easily differentiated from other Jelly Belly jelly beans by its tan/gray coloring. It's not an attractive bean, but it doesn't look like any other Jelly Belly's. And why should it?
Ease Of Preparation
These are jelly beans, not pitching story ideas to a hostile Hollywood production company. Preparing them is as easy as opening the box and popping one (or several) into your mouth. In the case of the ten pound box, one might want to put them in a candy dish of some form as opposed to always going into the box. But why dirty dishes, right? Who are we waiting for, the Queen of England? Go ahead and eat 'em out of the box!
As with all of the best Jelly Belly flavors, the strength of Caramel Apple flavored Jelly Belly's is that they taste good. Unlike the best flavors, though, it's a stretch to say they actually taste like Caramel Apple. Instead, these beans taste like apple in their center and cinnamon or perhaps frosting on their coating.
This is both a strength and a weakness of Jelly Belly's; they can have different flavors on the outside shell than on the inside gelatinous core. The problem here is that Caramel Apple has a more generically sweet shell than actually caramel flavor. The result is a great tasting bean, but not one that tastes especially like real caramel apples.
Again, these are jelly beans, so anyone looking to them for nutrition needs to recall that there are mirrors everywhere in this world and eat accordingly. Jelly beans, even Jelly Belly jelly beans, are not a legitimate source of nutrition. These are a snack food, a dessert, and are in no way an adequate substitute for a real meal. A serving is listed at thirty-five beans, with each Jelly Belly jelly bean having approximately four calories. This means that in a single serving, there are 140 calories, which is 12% of your daily recommended intake.
The thing is, Jelly Belly jelly beans are not as bad as they could be in the nutrition area. They have no fat and no protein, but for those who have ever dated a Vegan, these are Vegan compliant because they contain no gelatin! They have only one percent of the daily sodium with 15 mg and they are gluten free! The main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup and modified food starch, so it's not like this is an all-natural food, but they could be far, far worse.
Jelly Belly jelly beans have a shelf life of approximately one year and I have yet to run across a stale Jelly Belly (though that could have something to do with a package never surviving a year around me . . .). They remain freshest when they are kept in an airtight container (the bag in the bulk box is sufficient if it is kept closed) and they ought to be kept in a lukewarm environment. Storing them in hot places or one's belly button is likely to make the beans stick together and be gross (ewww). Kept in a cool, dry place, the beans retain their flavor perfectly.
As for cleanup, unless one allows the Jelly Belly to get hot to the point that the waxy coating on the bean melts, the dyes on these do not bleed or denature, so there is usually no cleanup necessary, not even washing one's hands after eating them (always wash your hands before eating Jelly Belly's; there is no need to wash the Jelly Belly's, though they are somewhat water resistant). I have never had Caramel Apple Jelly Belly's stain anything.
Caramel Apple Jelly Belly jelly beans are one of the better flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans, despite my low rating of them. This is what comes from having standards. Sigh. If I can't have friends, at least I have my standards. And my case of Caramel Apple Jelly Belly jelly beans!
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© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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