What would Christmas be without the Candy Cane?
There is a rich history and even more interesting folklore surrounding this holiday treat—and good reason why peppermint used in making candy canes has become an essential part of our lives this time of year.
Why a Candy “Cane”?
Candy canes were first seen in the U.S. in 1847, when August Imgard, a German-Swedish immigrant decorated a blue spruce tree with paper ornaments and candy, fashioned into a hook so that it could hang. This trend soon caught on and spread through the U.S. as different confectioners picked up the idea of making a candy ornament.
Since then, there have many stories about the origin of the candy cane and the symbolism that it holds to the true meaning of Christmas. There is popular story of a confectioner in Indiana who would tell the story of Jesus in the making of a candy cane, with the pure white, hard candy symbolizing the the sinless nature of Jesus and the solid foundation of the church. The candy then shaped into a “J”, stands for Jesus or represents a shepherd’s staff and three red stripes are added symbolizing the blood that Jesus shed for us when he died on the cross.
Peppermint has been referred to as “The World’s Oldest Medicine”. Some of the first documented uses of peppermint come from the Egyptians who used it to aid in digestion. Today, the majority of peppermint is produced in the U.S. — and remains a popular ingredient in western medicine and commercial uses.
Peppermint has been known to help treat bad breathe, sore throat and digestion and there have been numerous studies showing that peppermint can help with memory. It is easy to see why peppermint has become the flavor of choice for Christmas candy as it can help soothe the ailments we all experience this time of year and offers that special Christmas nostalgia.
Enjoy the candy cane (in moderation 😊) for it’s flavor, symbolism, rich history and because it wouldn’t be Christmas without one! And keep in mind that although a candy cane probably wouldn’t pass as “healthy”, a lot can be said for peppermint.