Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spearmint Leaves

Walgreen's Spearmint LeavesSome candies need no review, no introduction or marketing campaign. They simply are and hopefully always will be.

Spearmint Leaves are such a simple candy. A firm jelly molded in the shape of a mint leaf and flavored with spearmint oil (or a reasonable facsimile).

I don’t how long they’ve been around (earliest mention on Google’s news archive is 1928). There’s no fantastical tale of their historical debut at any World’s Fair or even a county fair. They’re probably just a novelty shape of a traditional spice gumdrop. I don’t know who invented them or even who makes the best ones. Even passably good ones are good enough for me.

They’re sold without any fancy brand names, simply Spearmint Leaves. You can get them in bulk, in tubs at the office supply stores or in peg bags at the drug stores.

Walgreen's Spearmint LeavesThe ingredients are identical to gum drops. They’re sugar, corn syrup and a bit of corn starch for jelling. Then a little artificial flavor & color to complete the illusion of a platform shoe equivalent of a real leaf of mint.

I picked up my package of Walgreen branded Spearmint Leaves from their 99 cent peg bag selection. I usually look for bags that appear dry and the candies move around easily but that the candies also have a little give when squeezed. Too much moisture is an enemy of jelly candies. It makes the granulated sugar coating sticky and allows their qi to leak out.

Walgreen's Spearmint Leaves

I picked a good bag. The color is rather light and oddly on the blue side. The shape of the leaf is a bit narrower at the top than the bottom and has a nice point to it on the end with a little stem. So the molding is nice. The granular sugar coating is good - there’s enough to keep them from sticking but not so much as to overpower the flavor.

The texture inside is smooth. It’s not sticky (at least not as sticky as Dots) and not too sweet. The spearmint notes are dead on - aromatic and kind of sparkly. There are small spots where the spearmint flavor really tingles to the forefront.

It’s a fresh feeling, but not like eating a mint. I can eat a whole bag if I don’t control myself. They’re even still good when stale and a bit tacky.

I know they’re not the sexiest, hippest candy but to be around this long without any sort of marketing support is a testament to their excellence.

Other big candy companies that make Spearmint Leaves are Brach’s & Farley’s and probably others, if you have a favorite, please let me know. It’d be nice to find a company that makes all natural ones (which really shouldn’t be that hard to do) - the closest I’ve come are the fruit flavored gourmet Gum Drops from Whole Foods.

This package isn’t marked Kosher and it says that it’s a product of Canada & USA (I can’t quite figure that one out). They are marked Gluten-Free. (And are probably also considered vegan.) They’re also silly-cheap, so it’s a low risk sort of thing.

Related Candies

  1. Jelly Belly Sunkist Citrus Mix
  2. Spearmint Licorice
  3. Loukoumi Artisan Confections
  4. Dots Elements: Earth, Air, Fire & Water
  5. Barley Mint Mentos
  6. Hot Tamales Ice
  7. Chuckles
Name: Spearmint Leaves
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Walgreen Co.
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.99
Size: 9.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 104
Categories: Jelly, Mint, United States, Canada

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:03 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Spearmint Leaves are a comfort food. I am fifty-one and can remember buying bags of Brachs at the grocery store. I also hope they are around for the next million years.

    Comment by Patti on 6/17/09 at 2:29 pm #
  2. Wow - I’m surprised how different these are to the spearmint leaves we get in Australia. Ours are a lot flatter, more teardrop-shaped, and of a less lurid green colour.

    Comment by Zerotime on 6/17/09 at 3:36 pm #
  3. I had forgotten all about these.  Thanks for the reminder and I will look for them the next time I go to the store.

    Comment by Pam Walter on 6/18/09 at 3:44 am #
  4. I think I could read your blog all day, every day. It’s probably my favorite blog ever. All the other blogs I read are scrapbooking blogs. LOL.

    Anywho, loved this review, and now I really want to go out and get myself a bag of these. smile

    Comment by reyanna on 6/18/09 at 7:46 am #
  5. That article on qi is really interesting.

    Comment by JJR on 6/18/09 at 8:20 am #
  6. I picked these up after your post.  You’re right, these are kind of fun.  Honestly, I never buy private label as I must admit a bias against them.  These weren’t bad!

    Comment by Ariana on 6/19/09 at 3:58 pm #
  7. Such grandma memories, when I think of Spearmint leaves and starlight mints.

    Comment by The Retroist on 6/20/09 at 7:50 pm #
  8. I used to love these as a kid!

    Comment by Carol on 6/22/09 at 4:16 am #
  9. Dear Cybele - I’m late getting to these spearmint leaves since your posting but I’ve been avoiding them because I assumed they had gelatin in them What are some of the thickeners other than pectin,  that are not animal based?  Eva

    Comment by Eva on 6/23/09 at 6:03 am #
  10. Heh, spearmint leaves.  I remember the first time I bit into one and promptly spit it out.  Not my cup of tea, I’m afraid, but they’re pretty!

    Comment by Rita on 6/23/09 at 1:23 pm #
  11. I work in a candy store and I remember when we carried the Spearmint Leaves. My…those were quite the seller. We’re still getting requests for them. It’s a shame we can’t get a hold of them anymore…

    Comment by BethW on 6/24/09 at 7:38 pm #
  12. I just purchased some tonight at Giant Eagle.  They are delicious!  I have been craving them for awhile, but I am trying to avoid sugar.  I gulped down eight and will hopefully forget about the rest until next week.  : )

    Comment by Mark on 5/07/11 at 4:44 pm #
  13. Spearmint leaves are delicious. Your comment about the qi leaking out cracked me up!

    I’m so old that I remember when JC Penney had a candy counter. They sold the best spearmint leaves and little tiny jellybeans about the size of apple seeds that I haven’t seen for years and years.

    Comment by Leslie on 10/11/11 at 11:17 pm #

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