Monday, April 22, 2013

Chewing It

The Greeks used chewing gum, or so we think. They took the bark of the mastic tree, drew out a resin from it and chewed it; to brother freshen their breath and clean their teeth (mark that down for the apocalypse garden).

The Indians in North America used a resin from the spruce tree and taught this to the colonists, this was overwhelmed by paraffin flavored wax, but that too was lost when chewing chicle came to New York. Chicle is the sap of trees found in Central America, that once harvested is boiled to the desired consistency and then chewed . . . the Mayans are believed to have chewed the boiled sap. It is believed it arrived in New York via General Santa Anna, who brought the material from Cuba (where he was in exile from Mexico), in hopes to market it as a rubber substitute and fund a new Mexican Revolution. He failed in this but the did bring the product and habit to the attention of Thomas Adams who tried to use the substance for a variety of uses but in the end just found it best to chew it and spit it out. He patented it and started marking and marketing his gum, Adams New York No. 1.

Thus the chewing gum industry was born. Later flavors were added, first up was licorice, this was called Black Jack Gum.

Somewhere around the time of World War II, probably because of various shortages, the natural ingredients of gum lost their natural base and synthetics were put in the gum; few gum companies still use natural saps in their gums.

Only one company uses chicle in their gum, Glee Glum, but their product description is a little off,

"It is also the only gum on the market that contains chicle in its gum base!"

Its "contains chicle, but it too has synthetics. So if you want some natural chewing gum plant a spruce tree or a mastic tree. Once its mature, cut it a few times, draw out the sap and make some gum. A full grown tree can product about 9 tons of sap/gum a year.

Mastic tree in Greece

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