Easter season is underway, and that means it's time for the return of one of America's most controversial candies: Peeps.
People either love them or hate them, but the ingredients that go into the fun Easter treat aren't always so well known.
Ingredients include sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and natural flavors. There is also an ingredient that could be a little head-scratching: Carnauba wax.
You may be familiar with it from your car wax. In Peeps, the carnauba wax gives the chicks' eyes that glossy sheen. Carnauba, also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is a wax of the leaves of the carnauba palm. It is a fan palm that grows in the savannas of northeastern Brazil.
The palm is known as the "tree of life," and it can grow to over 45 feet after around 50 years. The tree secretes a coat of carnauba wax on its upper and lower leaf surfaces to protect its fronds from moisture loss.
During harvesting season the leaves are cut and dried in the sun. A powdery wax is created and removed by beating the leaves to get a yellow or brownish-green, depending on the age of the leaves and processing techniques.
Peeps also contain various food dyes and preservatives, like potassium sorbate, approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
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