Salt water taffy doesn’t actually contain sea water. So how did it get its name?
No one knows for sure how salt water taffy got its name, but one legend holds that it came from David Bradley, who owned a candy store in the late 19th century.
The story goes that Bradley’s candy store became flooded during a major storm in 1883. His entire stock of taffy became soaked with seawater from the Atlantic Ocean, so he began to call it “salt water taffy” as a joke.
If you’ve ever seen taffy being made, you probably were fascinated by watching the taffy being pulled by a special machine. The pulling process is a critical part of making taffy.
Without pulling, taffy would be very hard. Pulling taffy aerates it by capturing tons of tiny air bubbles within the taffy. These air bubbles make the taffy softer & chewy.
Before special taffy-pulling machines were invented, candymakers would pull taffy with a simple hook attached to the wall. They would place a huge glob of taffy (10 to 25 pounds or more!) on the hook & then pull it five or six feet before folding it back on itself & throwing it back over the hook.
They would repeat this process – it was quite a workout! – over & over again until the taffy became soft & chewy.
No one knows for sure how many different flavors of taffy have been made. Since you can make taffy in just about any flavor, the answer would have to be in the hundreds.