If you’ve ever strolled along the boardwalk in Atlantic City, chances are you’ve come across the iconic salt water taffy.
This chewy, sweet treat has been a staple of the seaside resort town for over a century, with two prominent candy stores – one of which is named after its founder – claiming to have invented it.
But for those who follow kosher dietary laws, the question remains: are James Salt Water Taffy’s kosher?
In this article, we’ll explore the history of this beloved candy and delve into its kosher status.
So grab a bag of taffy and let’s dive in!
Are James Salt Water Taffy’s Kosher?
To answer the question, we first need to understand what makes a food kosher.
Kosher dietary laws are based on the Torah and include restrictions on certain animals, their meat and dairy products, and how they are prepared and consumed.
For a food to be considered kosher, it must meet specific requirements, such as being prepared with kosher ingredients, processed on equipment that has been properly cleaned and designated as kosher, and supervised by a rabbi or other qualified authority.
So, are James Salt Water Taffy’s kosher? The answer is yes!
Both James’ and Fralinger’s candy stores, which claim to have invented salt water taffy, offer kosher-certified taffy. This means that the ingredients used in the taffy-making process meet kosher standards and that the equipment used is properly cleaned and designated as kosher.
In fact, James’ Salt Water Taffy is not only kosher but also all-natural, making it a great option for those who want to indulge in a sweet treat without any artificial ingredients.
The History Of Salt Water Taffy
Salt water taffy is a classic chewy and sweet candy that has been enjoyed by many for over a century. While its origin story may be shrouded in myth, most food historians agree that it was invented in the early 1880s in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
According to the most popular retelling of the story, a man named David Bradley had a candy storefront on the boardwalk that was flooded during a major storm in 1883, soaking all of his taffy in salty seawater. A young girl came into his shop the next day and asked if he had any taffy for sale, and Bradley jokingly offered her some “salt water taffy.” The name stuck, and soon after, Bradley’s mother heard the exchange and loved the name, cementing it as the official name of the candy.
Initially, salt water taffy was only sold at seaside stands, but a man named Joseph Fralinger saw an opportunity to make it a product people could bring home from their beach vacations. He found a way to box the candy and sell it, making salt water taffy a hot commodity. By the 1920s, more than 450 manufacturers were making and/or selling salt water taffy.
The recipe for salt water taffy does not actually include saltwater from the ocean, but rather salt and water, along with sugar, corn syrup, butter, cornstarch, flavoring, and coloring. After the mixture is cooked and cooled, it is pulled and stretched to aerate the candy and make it softer. Each confectioner has their own recipe and methods for keeping the candy from being too sticky to wrap and package.
Today, salt water taffy remains a beloved treat that can be found at boardwalks and seaside candy stores across the country. And while its history may be steeped in legend, there’s no denying its enduring popularity as a sweet indulgence.
What Makes Food Kosher?
Kosher food is food that meets the dietary laws of Judaism. These laws include restrictions on certain animals, their meat and dairy products, and how they are prepared and consumed.
For meat to be considered kosher, it must come from an animal that is deemed kosher, such as cows, sheep, and goats. The animal must be slaughtered in a specific way by a trained individual called a shochet. The meat must also be soaked and salted to remove all traces of blood, which is forbidden in Jewish law.
Dairy products must come from a kosher animal and be produced under strict supervision to prevent any contamination with non-kosher ingredients. Meat and dairy products cannot be consumed together in the same meal or cooked in the same utensils.
In addition to these restrictions, kosher food must also be prepared with kosher ingredients and processed on equipment that has been properly cleaned and designated as kosher. This ensures that no non-kosher ingredients or equipment come into contact with the food.
Finally, kosher food must be supervised by a rabbi or other qualified authority to ensure that all the above requirements are met. This certification is indicated by a symbol on the packaging, such as a “K” or “OU” for Orthodox Union.
James Candy Company: A Brief Overview
Enoch James, an American entrepreneur, was one of the many confectioners who saw an opportunity and jumped on the salt water taffy craze at its peak. James’ recipe was different than most, designed not to pull out one’s teeth. It was smooth, creamy, and wholesome and available in a variety of flavors and a new “cut-to-fit-the-mouth” shape. He relocated with his family to Atlantic City in the 1880s, eager to sell his signature confection.
For the first few years, James continued to create his taffy the old-fashioned way. It was cooked in copper kettles over open coal fires, cooled on marble slabs, and pulled on a large hook on the wall. As the taffy stretched to five or six feet in length, it was folded onto itself to help it remain light and smooth. By 1907, James and his family had improved the process. They introduced taffy-wrapping machines, candy pulling machines, electric ovens, and vacuum cooking kettles, many of which are still used today.
Although James’ taffy was what he widely became known for, he kept his customers coming back for more by introducing new candies such as chocolates, coconut macaroons, and delicious varieties of fudge. The businessman that he was, he decided to offer the service of individually wrapping and packaging the candies and goods to ship to his customers across the country.
Today, James’ vision and work have been preserved with such care — all it takes is one bite to make you feel like you’re transported back to the early days of strolling down the boardwalk. The James Candy Company has been in operation for over 135 years and is still family-owned and operated. They continue to produce their famous salt water taffy using the same recipe that Enoch James perfected over a century ago. In addition to their taffy, they also offer a wide variety of chocolates, fudge, macaroons, and other candies. The company prides itself on using only high-quality ingredients and traditional techniques to create their delicious treats.
Investigating James Salt Water Taffy’s Kosher Status
If you’re wondering about the kosher status of James Salt Water Taffy, there are a few things to consider. The first step is to determine whether your office mates keep kosher and if so, how strictly. If they are very strict, they may only eat foods that are certified kosher.
To find out if James Salt Water Taffy is certified kosher, you can check the packaging for any kosher certification symbols. A comprehensive list of these symbols can be found online. However, it’s worth noting that the manufacturer’s website doesn’t mention kosher certification or list ingredients, which may suggest that the taffy is not certified.
But fear not! Both James’ and Fralinger’s candy stores, which claim to have invented salt water taffy, offer kosher-certified taffy. This means that the ingredients used in the taffy-making process meet kosher standards and that the equipment used is properly cleaned and designated as kosher. So if you’re looking for a sweet and kosher treat, James Salt Water Taffy is a great option.
Other Kosher Taffy Options
While James’ and Fralinger’s are the most well-known kosher taffy options, there are other brands that offer this sweet treat for those who follow kosher dietary laws.
One such brand is Sweet’s Candy Company, which offers a variety of flavors of individually wrapped salt water taffy that are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. Their taffy is also gluten-free and nut-free, making it a safe option for those with allergies.
Another option is Taffy Town, which offers over 70 flavors of taffy, including a variety of kosher-certified flavors. They use only the finest ingredients and their taffy is also gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free.
For those who prefer organic options, Yummy Earth offers organic salt water taffy in assorted flavors that are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. Their taffy is also free from artificial colors and flavors, making it a healthier option for those who want to indulge in a sweet treat.