Once created from the sweetened extract of the roots of the marshmallow plant, this sweet is now commercially made from corn syrup, gelatin, gum arabic, sugar and flavorings. Light, fluffy marshmallows come packaged in regular size (about 1½ inches in diameter) and miniature (½ inch in diameter). They may be white or pastel colors. Marshmallows are used variously to top hot chocolate and dishes such as sweet potatoes. They can be stored at room temperature, tightly sealed, for at least 6 months and can be frozen for up to a year.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.