If you've ever been to Ohio and visited the state’s many tourist sites, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it is likely you've seen buckeye candies. Buckeye candies are Ohio’s official state candy. Due to the state's large production of buckeyes, they are a favorite snack of locals and travelers alike. But for those who are unfamiliar with this kind of confection, they might just be a bit strange-looking. Let's explore what Buckeyes are and how they became very popular in Ohio.
The buckeye nut is a bright shade of brown, looks like a small acorn, and has a prominent “eye” that should not be eaten. The buckeye is the seed of the Aesculus glabra, or American Buckeye. The tree is native to Ohio, along with a handful of other North American states, including Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia, and Kentucky.
The buckeye is a popular souvenir in Ohio, especially near the Ohio State football stadium, “The Horseshoe.” During Ohio State football games, fans in the bleachers are often seen filling plastic tubs with buckeye nuts. Considered a good luck charm by the fans, this tradition started in the 1970s.
The buckeye nut itself is not edible, but the candy version is a combination of peanut butter and dark chocolate. Sometimes white chocolate is used instead of dark chocolate to make them softer in texture and taste.
The origin of buckeye candy dates back to 1919. The Buckeye Candy Company opened in Brooklyn, Ohio, which is located just hours north of Ohio State University. Three women, who were the wives of the candy company's owner and a salesman, decided to go into business making Buckeyes. They produced the candies in a kitchen in the back of their house and sold them to local grocery and pharmacy stores.
These buckeye candies became especially popular with football fans because they resembled the nut of Ohio's state tree. The Buckeyes sold buckeyes at Ohio State football games, and they were a hit! They were especially popular with men and boys, who were buying them to give to their girlfriends as presents.
Ohioans consume more than 6 million pounds of buckeyes per year. They are sold in many places throughout the state and have become a signature treat of the Buckeye state.
The Buckeye is more like Reese's peanut butter cup than a peanut butter ball. The peanut butter center is surrounded by a thin chocolate shell, then covered in thick chocolate.
If you're visiting Ohio, you can find buckeye candies sold in many gift shops and specialty stores in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and throughout Ohio. There are also shops that specialize in Buckeye candies.
If you're looking for a favorite Ohio souvenir to take home, buckeye candies are a great choice and a delicious one at that. You can find buckeye candies in many gift shops and national chain stores or local shops that sell specialty candy in Ohio.
If you want to get your hands on some of these authentic sweets from Ohio, there's no better place to get them than thousands of small businesses in the state. The Ohio Artisan Collective supports these small businesses by featuring products made by local artisans, makers, food companies, and artists. Buying local keeps inspiration alive in the next generation and the local community. Check out some of the members of our local artisan collective today.