The Candy Ninja's Easter Guide to Jelly Beans

In this installment, the Candy Ninja dives headlong into rating the best commercial jelly beans out there.


Kids, there ain’t nuthin’ better than jelly beans. Not even the Indy 500. (That’s a Platoon reference, for you young ‘uns. If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading this column, go rent it off Netflix and come back. I’ll wait.)

OK, ready? Good.

Anyhoo, when I was single (I know, ladies. It’s hard to believe I was EVER single), I still looked forward to Valentine’s Day, because that meant the Easter jelly bean displays were just around the corner. (I led a very sad, sad, lonely life.)

And, man, how far jelly beans have come. Time was when there were few (albeit delicious) options. You either got Brach’s (large or small), a generic or you could go to a mall to get individual flavors from a specialty candy shop.

But now? Oh man, the options are myriad. But more does not necessarily translate into better. We need to tread lightly, my friends. That’s where the Candy Ninja comes in. I’m here to help guide you through the sugary waters that candy makers have made murky with their sometimes misguided offerings:

Hawaiian Punch Tropical Jelly Beans — You know the controversy over the alleged the lack of truth in labeling on our foods? Not so in this case. Indeed, if you eat these things, you’ll feel like a massive Hawaiian punched you in the tongue. Just awful. Grade: D-

Brach’s Jelly Eggs — Ah, getting back to basics. I’d rate these higher, but there are two problems: First, and most serious is Candy Terrorism(tm). Indeed, anyone who has ever thought they were eating a purple jelly egg, only to plop black licorice in their mouths knows of what I speak. Why do they even put the licorice ones in there? To wreak havoc on our taste buds, that’s why. Second, what happened to jelly BEANS? They’re not eggs. I mean, there ain’t nuthin’ wrong with calling them beans. Flatulence isn’t the issue, because it’s not like eggs don’t give you gas, either. Or am I oversharing? Grade: B

Starburst Jelly Beans — Yet again another truth-in-labeling situation, as the jelly beans are so sweet, it feels like a star made of sugar burst in your mouth, creating a sweet-tooth supernova. There’s another truth to these candies, as anything in nature that appears in the colors of Starburst Jelly Beans indicates to predators that it is poisonous. Now, Starburst Jelly Beans aren’t THAT bad, but I’d be wary of ever eating more than a handful. What’s more, they don’t taste like Starburst, which is unfortunate. Grade: C

Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans — ZOMG, these are even worse than Starburst. You just knocked the jolly out of this rancher, folks. I want to enjoy eating jelly beans, not punish myself. Fact: eating more than 5 of these jelly beans constitutes torture under the Geneva Conventions. Grade: F

Lifesaver Jelly Beans — Another failure in truth-in-advertising, because these candies won’t save your life. Quite the contrary. They’re good, particularly the cherry and the pineapple. But any enjoyment from those flavors is easily erased by the peach. Since when does Lifesavers have peach in its original five flavors? Not cool. Not cool at all. Grade: B-

SweeTarts Jelly Beans — I’m in my 40s, so there is no good reason for me to like these jelly beans. Yet they are AMAZING. They’re the closest thing to the real candy that I can find (I’m looking at you Jolly Ranchers and Lifesavers!) So good, I’ve eaten four bags this Easter season, and I’d eat more if I could somehow sneak them behind my wife’s back (I love you honey! … Honey?) My only gripe is that “Blue Punch” is a description, not a flavor. If you can’t figure out what it tastes like, should I worry more? Meh. Who wants to live forever? Grade: A.

Brach’s Speckled Jelly Bird Eggs, Jelly Bellies — I won’t eat anything that I can’t tell its flavor (see my rant on Candy Terrorism here). They’re unnatural, abominations and don’t belong in any Easter basket. Grade: Incomplete

So there you go. I will be away for a while, getting treatment for the Type 2 diabetes from “researching” this article. Happy candy hunting!

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Sharon Stegall April 03, 2013 at 09:00 AM
Love the writing! I wish I'd read this before I gained 5 pounds in jellybeans during the past week. I think I've tried all except for your pick, the SweetTart jellybeans. Now I'll have to see if I can find some on the sale aisle.


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