Almost everyone has tried saltwater taffy at one time or another, but can anyone actually say what's in it? There's definitely a good helping of sugar, but aside from that, it's hard to say. And what about gluten? Is saltwater taffy gluten-free?
If you're staying away from gluten, you're in luck because saltwater taffy is gluten-free. At least the basic recipe is, though it's good to be aware that some flavorings used in saltwater taffy may contain gluten. If you're not sure whether yours contains wheat products, take a look at our guide below.
What Exactly Is Taffy?
It's time to dispel the myth that saltwater taffy contains saltwater. If you've ever tasted it for yourself, that shouldn't be a surprise, though you'd be surprised at how many people still think it contains seawater.
The confection actually gets its name from a marketing ploy that dates back more than 130 years. A taffy salesman in Atlantic City one day found his shop flooded by the tide, leaving all of his stock coated in saltwater foam. The candy was still edible, so he jokingly dubbed the new creation saltwater taffy.
Well, as it turned out, the candy sold even better with the name, so he decided to keep it. It has stuck around until this day, along with the original recipe.
Taffy is actually a simple recipe, including just boiled sugar, butter, and flavorings. It's the process that really makes it unique, as it's pulled by a specialized machine to make it soft and chewy.
Is Saltwater Taffy Gluten Free?
If you were paying attention to the above section, you should know by now that the base recipe for saltwater taffy doesn't include any gluten or wheat products of any kind. While some manufacturers may use alternative sweeteners, there's no reason to add flour.
However, while not common, there may be some cases in which gluten can be found in the flavorings that come on some varieties of saltwater taffy. Make sure to keep both of these cases in mind when choosing yours:
Most forms of caramel coloring used in the United States are gluten-free. However, the brown dye was traditionally made from barley, which does include gluten. Just to be safe, it's better to avoid foods that have a deep, brown caramel color.
This one should be a no-brainer, but if you're choosing a flavor of saltwater taffy and want to keep a gluten-free diet, stay away from options that taste like real-life baked goods. Apple pie, birthday cake, and cookie dough flavors are all good examples. Most of the time, these won't actually include gluten at all, though sometimes they will, and it's not always easy to tell for sure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even though saltwater taffy doesn't have gluten, that doesn't mean it doesn't have carbs. In fact, between 20 and 30 grams of carbs are in the average serving of saltwater taffy. This is actually a decently sized dose for a food that doesn't provide much in the way of nutritional value.
Whether or not your favorite brand of saltwater taffy is vegan depends on the manufacturer. Traditional recipes for the candy include egg whites and dairy-based products. These days, it's more likely that they don't, but it's always a good idea to take a close look at the ingredients.
Since saltwater taffy doesn't actually have any real saltwater in its recipe, you don't have to worry about its sodium content.