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The History of Marshmallows

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I found this not so earth shaking information in Readers Digest and then did some further research about them and thought it interesting enough to share as food for thought (pun intended LOL). Who would have ever thought that this spongy sweet treat associated with cooking them over an open flame, used as an ingredient in oodles of assorted recipes, as a simple quick snack and even dried to put in cereal was originally used for medicinal purposes?

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From the time of ancient Egypt the sap from the roots of the herbal marsh-mallow plants was mixed with honey to make a medicinal sweet flavored paste. In more modern ages, and up until the mid-1800s, doctors extracted sap from the roots, cooked it with egg whites and sugar, whipped it into a meringue and then allowed it to dry into a hardened candy that soothed children's sore throats and used as an immune booster.

I am not saying that modern day marshmallows are a bad thing because they do have their place but advanced manufacturing processes replaced the root juice with gelatin to speed up the production process and in doing so eliminated any of the original healing properties intended. Perhaps some company will reinstate the original use of marsh-mallow sap for natural health aids. ;-)

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By Deeli from Richland, WA

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February 6, 20120 found this helpful

Hmm... I can see it now... organic marshmallows; coming to a health food store near you soon.

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