The worst part about eating candy is emptying the bag! It’s absolutely heartbreaking when you reach deep into the bag expecting just a few more candies only to be left with disappointment. Cue the Jawbreakers and Gobstoppers! These timeless candies will probably last longer than quarantine, and today we are counting down the Top 10 Untold Truths of Jawbreakers AKA Gobstoppers.
10. Jawbreakers: An American Treasure
Although there are claims that jawbreakers have been sold in British candy shops for over 100 years, the first true claim to the “Jawbreaker” name came from an Italian American immigrant not long after the start of the 20th century. Salvatore Ferrara had been selling his popular sugar-coated almonds when he had the idea for a new product. After a great deal of testing, trials, and errors, Ferrera had his brand new candy. The phenomenally named “Jaw Busters,” as they were originally known, were immensely popular. At some point early in the history of the product, it seems as though the public preferred to use the name “Jawbreakers,” and slowly, the name Jawbusters became less and less used. In the times after the First World War, people were longing for simple pleasures and Jawbreakers were the perfect distraction. Jawbreakers were the colorful little treats that everyone needed for a pick me up! Thank goodness for sugar!
9. The Jawbreaker: A Pop Culture Icon
It almost seems like all the hours spent consuming hundreds of Jawbreakers as a kid have created a sort of worldwide obsession with the candy. The name itself is absolutely iconic and lends so well to many different locations. For example, the popular 1999 film titled Jawbreaker did not open to great success during its box office debut; however, the movie has developed a sort of cult following. The movie seems to take some inspiration from the Jawbreaker candy as it features bright and exciting colors. The title is well-fitting because, just like a Jawbreaker, it is sweet but painful. The high school girls in this movie are extremely sweet but with a hard and harsh reality after they murder one of their close friends. Oops, spoiler alert! The term Jawbreaker has also worked its way into the music industry. Many fans of 90’s grunge music will probably be familiar with the band, Jawbreaker. The band first started in 1986 and was together for 10 years before taking an almost 20-year hiatus before their recent return in 2017. This band has been compared to other bands of the era such as Green Day and Simple Plan and has toured with the influential music group Nirvana. Recently, the Jawbreaker brand name has moved into a new multi-million dollar industry, the beauty industry. In 2019, YouTuber and beauty influencer Jeffree Star released his Jawbreaker palette to major success as it featured bright and exciting colors similar to those found in the jawbreaker. The packaging itself even resembled the classic white and multicolored jawbreaker pattern! It’s amazing how this candy has had such a massive influence on so many aspects of pop culture!
8. Quality Control Is Crucial
One of the most interesting facts about Jawbreakers is actually the thing most would assume to be extremely boring and mundane: quality control! The quality control process involves extensive steps involving all 5 senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and even sound! Visually, each Jawbreaker needs to have a shiny outer appeal and a beautiful glossy finish, regardless of the colors. The classic Jawbreaker look is a white background and speckled colors. In terms of taste, the jawbreaker needs to have the authentic sweet and sour taste advertised. Quality control for Jawbreakers involves a great deal of personal testing, which means control experts get to spend their days licking gobstoppers! A dream job for any 10 year old. In addition to amazing taste, the smell also needs to be perfect since smell and taste are tightly connected. Whether it’s a classic flavor or something more exciting like ice cream or lemon, the smell and taste must be able to deliver the perfect experience! The next step includes both touching and listening to the Jawbreakers, as they get smashed to pieces! One of the most important aspects of the Jawbreaker process is ensuring the sturdiness, making sure it won’t shatter if dropped. Testers need to make sure that the exterior of the candy is smooth but also provides an acceptable “crack” when smashing and throwing them on the ground! It needs that perfect cracking noise; otherwise, it won’t pass the quality control test and isn’t considered ready to be sold. Once they’ve been cracked open, they’ll be inspected one last time to ensure that the interior layers are completely visible, bright, and appealing. It’s crazy how much care is needed to provide such a seemingly simple snack!
7. The Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Connection
Although the names Jawbreaker and Gobstopper are relatively interchangeable, when most candy fans think of Gobstoppers, their minds immediately go to the Wonka Brand Everlasting Gobstoppers, which have been sold for over 50 years! These Jawbreakers are some of the smallest on the market and are sold in a carton with dozens inside, as opposed to the individual sale of other larger Gobstoppers. Although the name Everlasting Gobstoppers is a nod to the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to be completely honest, they are some of the shortest-lived jawbreakers – ever. The Gobstoppers are very small, which means that, even if you don’t want to bite into these tiny, sugary teeth crackers, they dissolve at a much faster pace than the classic speckled Jawbreakers – so there’s really no way to delay the inevitable. But, despite their small size, the Everlasting Gobstoppers are some of the most flavorful candies on the market! Each one has three layers of sugar flavoring, just as can be seen in the dozens of flavors within the classic Jawbreakers family. Although all five flavors have a final interior flavor of pink raspberry, the exterior flavors are all complimentary. For example, lemon and orange are both each other’s interchangeable outer and inner layers. The red jawbreaker is strawberry flavored with a middle orange flavor. The green Jawbreaker is watermelon flavored with a middle lemon flavor. The last flavor, grape, has a bright purple color and a middle strawberry flavor. With so many delicious flavors, no wonder these sugar globes are such a crowd pleaser!
6. Ed, Edd & Eddie: The Jawbreaker Kids
One of the most bizarre uses of Jawbreaker culture comes from the 2002 video game Ed, Edd n Eddy: Jawbreakers! The game was released to be played on Gameboy Advance, a popular handheld gaming system from back in the day. The game revolves around popular tv characters from the Cartoon Network trying to save up enough money to buy Jawbreakers. Even if the story of the game was purely fictional and seemed to spark an interest in Jawbreakers in young children at the time, it was viewed as a relative failure due to the many issues with the gameplay. A lack of instructions within the game and time limits in levels that were almost impossible to achieve left many hopeful players feeling extremely frustrated by the lack of user-friendliness. Let’s hope the kids playing this game had better luck getting their hands on some Jawbreakers than Ed, Edd n Eddy did!
5. The Name Origin Is A Mystery
The name “Gobstopper” has well-known connections; however, the origin of the name “Jawbreaker,” is somewhat clouded in mystery. Although the name itself may seem completely obvious to those in 2020, it’s still a mystery how a name with strangely alternative meanings ended up being used for this iconic, long-lasting candy. It’s odd that the name “Jawbreaker” wasn’t immediately given to the candy, as anyone who has ever had one can confirm, the name is a perfect fit. Okay, maybe a Jawbreaker won’t literally break your jaw, but you could easily chip a tooth, if not suffer far worse damage! The word jawbreaker was actually a synonym for a “tongue twister” – referring to words that were extremely difficult to pronounce in the old English dictionary. Despite the seemingly perfect name coupling, the way in which Salvatore Ferrera picked the name for these sugary spheres can’t be confirmed and is still a mystery. Perhaps he, too, thought the term was a perfect fit! By today’s standards, jawbreaker is a term not only known for the candy but anything- or anyone- having the capabilities to crack a jawline. Oh, how such a simple candy can change the meaning of a word for generations!
4. Sugar Smack!
There’s a reason why children are obsessed with these hardcore candies – who doesn’t want a candy so big and so massive that it lasts for weeks on end? This is a child’s wildest dream come true! You’ll most likely see adults buying Jawbreakers for children rather than for themselves. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities, but it’s definitely rarer to see a grownup chawing down on one of these bad boys. Another reason this candy is particularly popular among children compared to adults probably has to do with the fact that these candy spheres are actually made up of over 90% straight sugar! Aside from the addition of the gum in the center and the coloring, the process for making Jawbreakers is basically just continuously mixing more and more sugar together until it reaches the desired size! Sugar is definitely one of the most natural addictions humanity has ever had. Since the early days, the drive for sweetness has helped humans to seek out the highest calorie and sweetest foods to gain the most nutrients. Now that nature has been greatly controlled by humans, the levels of sugar that can be consumed have gone from one of the best survival strategies to our biggest downfall. How ironic. Sugar’s addictive properties have resulted in an increased risk in diseases like diabetes. Even though humans love and need sugar, the Jawbreaker certainly has more of it than any wild fruit or plant could ever hold! It’s a good thing these candies last for such a long time because they’re definitely more of a “once in a while” type of treat!
3. Exploding Jawbreaker?
Before going any further, you should be warned: Do not try this at home! The next untold truth on the list is one of the most shocking Jawbreaker facts one will ever hear! Aside from the potential to break your jaw, Jawbreakers are considered a relatively harmless candy. So, as long as someone doesn’t try to take a bite out of the hard sugar ball, there should be no cause for concern, right? Well, not exactly. Jawbreakers apparently have some seriously explosive qualities. Oh, that doesn’t sound like fun. There have been multiple incidences in which children have sustained some pretty significant injuries after biting into a Jawbreaker. One of the stories states that a nine-year-old was burned quite severely after storing her jawbreaker in the freezer for safekeeping. Supposedly, the interior layers of the Jawbreaker don’t heat evenly, which can lead to a seriously dangerous situation in which the crusty exterior is containing a sugary explosion. This story sounds so unbelievable that even the Mythbusters from the Discovery Channel couldn’t help themselves but put this theory to the test, and the results were shocking. After setting up a fake jaw to bite into the Jawbreaker, the team stood back to watch the madness unfold. Much to their surprise, the team learned that a Jawbreaker has the ability to explode when heated or microwaved. Two of the members even suffered a few burns themselves when testing this theory because they didn’t use safety glass! So, beware of this nuclear candy and always, always, store it in an appropriate location, i.e., not in your freezer!
2. Crafting the Jawbreaker
The process of making Jawbreakers sounds simple in theory, but it’s still very time-consuming and labor-intensive, involving few ingredients. Jawbreakers were originally made using the hot-and-cold pan process, and even now, almost 100 years after their creation, they are still being made in the same fashion! The hot-and-cold pan technique involves heating and cooling the sugars to different temperatures to allow layers upon layers of different sugar colors to be added. The Jawbreaker starts very small as a simple piece of candy or gum and is then coated in its first layer of colored sugar. Each layer involves at least 10 sugar treatments to gain the proper thickness. Sugar and food coloring are added to the candy in a hot barrel drum, continuously turning, which allows the candy to continuously receive an even layer of coating. After the first layer is complete, the candy is provided with a new flavor and color, which then again gets 10 more doses, and so on, until it’s eventually ready! On average, smaller Jawbreakers take approximately 4 days to complete, while some of the larger batches can take up to two weeks! While many industries must continually innovate their production methods, when it comes to making Jawbreaker and Gobstopper, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
1. Size Options Galore!
One of the most interesting facts about Jawbreakers is that, although they all basically have a similar taste and texture, the production process and the size of each candy can vary widely. One of the most popular Jawbreakers, Wonka’s Gobstoppers, only measures in at about one centimeter in diameter and is the smallest option available on the market. A more classic Jawbreaker is similar in size to a modern-day golf ball. You’ve probably already laid your eyes on the Giant Jawbreakers available at Candy Shops across North America and Europe. Measuring eight centimeters in diameter, these Jawbreakers can take weeks or even months to finally finish, compared to their smaller comrades. Each time the Jawbreaker increases in size, the amount of layers also increases, as this is the production style of making larger Gobstoppers. The largest Jawbreaker ever made was actually created in Canada by Nick Calderon in 2003. The beast of a candy weighed almost 30 pounds and was 37 inches wide! The Jawbreaker itself was so large that it took far longer than the standard 14-day process to create. In fact, this Jawbreaker took over 4 months to make! The question is – how do you eat such a monstrosity?!