Salt water taffy is a chewy and soft candy. It originated in Altantic City, New Jersey. Although it has the name salt water taffy, it does not have any salt water in it. Instead, it is generally made from sugar, corn syrup, butter, cornstarch, flavoring, and coloring.
Also usually known as a boardwalk snack, it is said to have received its name due to a candy shop being flooded with water from the Ocean in 1883. This coated all of the taffy in seawater, and the owner joked he had salt water taffy. Then name seemed to stick and it became known as salt water taffy. We may never know if this is true, but for now this is the legend for how it got its name.
When taffy is made the final part of making it is to pull it. This means it needs to be stretched and then folded, over and over again. It is pulled and then folded in half, until it is extremely stretchy. This does have a purpose, and that purpose is to add air bubbles in the candy. It makes it chewier, and lighter to eat. In fact, taffy is already pretty difficult to chew, but this makes it a bit easier.
There are other candy that are pulled as well. You may know one, the lollipop. Lollipops are pulled but a machine in order to add air bubbles and attempt to make the candy a bit less hard so that it won’t break your teeth. This makes sense, because if you have ever bit off a piece of a lollipop you would notice it shatters similar to glass, versus breaking your teeth. This makes it lighter overall, similar to taffy. You might break a tooth on your taffy if it was not stretched enough.
To make it very clear, as mentioned, there is no salt water specifically in saltwater taffy. However, sometimes there is salt, and water included in the ingredients list. This will depend on the flavor. Another thing you may notice is that it is often found by the sea in various vacation spots.