Jelly beans are a type of confectionary that comes in many different (primarily fruit) flavors. They are small (the size of a red kidney bean or smaller) and generally have a hard candy shell and gummy interior. The confection is primarily made of sugar.
The basic ingredients of jelly beans include sugars, gelatin, corn syrup, and starch. Relatively minor amounts of the emulsifying agent lecithin, anti-foaming agents, an edible wax such as beeswax, salt, and confectioner's glaze are also included. The ingredients that give each bean its character are also relatively small in proportion and may vary depending on the flavor.
The gummy interior of the jelly bean may trace its origins back hundreds of years to Turkish Delight, while the outside shell is essentially the same as that developed in the late 17th century for Jordan Almond candies. The earliest known appearance of the modern jelly bean was during the American Civil War when William Schrafft of Boston promoted sending the candy to soldiers in the Union Army. It was not until 1930 or so that jelly beans became an Easter candy, presumably from their resemblance to Easter eggs. Their egg-like shape was then associated with the Easter Bunny, who gave out eggs on Easter.