Before caramel ever existed, the only sugary, sweet treat was honey. Caramel is a sweet and sticky treat that many people around the globe consume. Many people in different countries have created a caramel-like substance by melting sugar in boiling water.
If you’re wondering how it came about, you’re in for a delightful treat. Here are some things about caramel you probably didn’t know about.
1. The Invention of Caramel
Some historians believe this sweet confection was invented as early as 1000 A.D. They believe the Arabs were the first people who made it. Their version of caramel was more like hard candy. It was made by cooking sugar in boiling water.
2. How is Caramel Made?
Caramel is made by browning sugar at a high temperature. Depending on the type of caramel you are cooking, whether it be icing or candy, you will cook it until it becomes brown. The kind you are making will determine how long it will need to brown before pulling it off of the stove.
One of the hardest parts of making caramel is to determine how long it should cook. If the heat is too high, it will scorch. If you don’t cook it enough and it doesn’t reach the right internal temperature, it will not set. It will either become too sticky in which to work or it will crystallize.
Caramel has been made for centuries. In fact, you can trace its history as far back as cthe 17th century. Before the 17th century, it really had no name. Instead, it was more of a description. In 1850, its composition began to change. Women began to add milk and fat to it, resulting in a softer and more chewy version.
3. Largest Caramel creator
In 1886, Milton Hershey, the creator of the famous chocolate candy, originally began creating caramel. First, he created a caramel candy company. His candy became so famous that he shipped it across the country and, eventually, Europe. Later, Hershey delved into the world of chocolate-making after realizing his talent in creating a variety of types of candy.
4. National Holiday
April 5th is World Caramel Day. The holiday celebrates the creation of this sticky, sweet confection. There is no known information at this time to determine how this holiday was created. The only information we know is that many countries and regions worldwide celebrate the holiday with their own version of the sweet treat.
5. Caramel makes an interesting science experiment
Did you know that you can use caramel for a chemistry experiment?
The melting point of sugar is 270 degrees Fahrenheit. To get to the “caramelization point,” the sugar must reach at least 340 degrees Fahrenheit. The caramelization process causes the water molecules to evaporate. As a result, the sugar breaks down into glucose and fructose. This process changes the molecular structure of the sugar, and begins to crystallize. From this point, you can add fat or milk to the mixture to create various types and textures of caramel.
6. Naming the sweet treat
While no one knows who came up with its name, it did originate from the French. They called it caramel while the Spanish called it caramelo. The origin of the name was from a compound of the Latin words canna and mellis, which means melted sugar.
7. Caramel vs. Carmel
The pronunciation of the word caramel is often the subject of debate. Some people are often confused as to how to use the word in either speaking or writing.
While both versions of the word are nouns, caramel is the one most widely used to describe the candy. Carmel is usually used as a proper noun, such as the name of a place.
In the United States, different regions of the country pronounce the word differently. Mid-westerners and Northerners pronounce it as caramel. Southerners, particularly in the deep south, use the term carmel.
Regardless of how you pronounce it, caramel is still a delicious and sweet treat that many love. It is probably the oldest candy still in existence.