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Squirrel Nut Zippers – A Unique Old-School Caramel and Peanut Treat

Popular Squirrel Nut Zippers Candy

Last Updated on April 19, 2022 by Jim Edwards



Salty and sweet caramel candy like Snickers and Reese’s Cups weren’t the first to win people’s hearts. Old-school confectioners had discovered that by mixing peanuts with slightly salted caramel, they could create a delicious treat for people who loved dried nuts in their desserts and sweet treats.

Squirrel Nut Zippers were a delightful candy introduced in the 1920s by the Squirrel Brand Company, whose most popular products were nuts. These candies were wrapped in a paper covering and sold individually as well as in bags for enthusiasts of the sweet caramels.

Packaging of Squirrel Nut Zippers

History and Background of Squirrel Nut Zippers

These caramels candies were made by the same company that sold Chocolate caramel squirrel candies, a popular Milk Duds kind of sweet that was introduced in 1888. The candy is known to have a chewy texture similar to that of chocolate taffy.

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When the manufacturer of these candies, Squirrel Brand Company, moved to the North Caroline state, their business began to flourish. Therefore, to keep audiences hooked, the company began producing a new version of their classic chocolate caramel made of vanilla and nuts.

After its creation in the 1920s, the Squirrel Brand Company could not decide what to call Squirrel Nut Zipper candies until an unusual story in the newspaper caught a manager’s eye. A man had been arrested for his drunken behavior in Vermont who had managed to climb up the tree in his awry state and refused to come down even after much coaxing from the police.

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When he did come down from the high post, he blamed all of it on that “dang nut zipper”. Thus, the name for the candy was proclaimed to be Squirrel Nut Zipper Candies!

A small bag of Squirrel Nut Zipper Candies

What Do Squirrel Nut Zippers Taste Like?

Every small serving of Squirrel Nut Zipper Candies used to come in individually wrapped rectangles of soft vanilla caramel with each candy mixed in with a small amount of crushed peanuts for a yummy crunch.

The candy was well-received by the public since it was not extremely sticky and did not stick stubbornly into the crevices of your teeth. Squirrel Nut Zippers were small and used to be soft and chewy but hardened quickly when left unwrapped without their original packaging. These candies could be slightly warmed to restore their original soft and chewy texture.

Chocolate Squirrel caramel may have been the original flavor for the Squirrel Brand Company’s caramels, but they were hugely popular and well-known until the beginning of the 21st century. These candies were one-of-a-kind and did not need to be extremely tasty to win people’s hearts. Squirrel Nut Zipper candies were often passed to the audience at the performances of the old band, also named Squirrel Nut Zipper.

A large number of Squirrel Nut Zippers candies

Squirrel Nut Zipper Candies Nutritional Information & Ingredients

The nutritional information for a single serving of the Squirrel Nut Zipper candy is given below:

Calories 170
Total Fat 3 g
   Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 70 mg
Potassium 0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 37 g
   Sugars 25 g
Protein 1 g
Calcium 2%

The main ingredients used in creating these candies were: soy lecithin salt, corn syrup, peanuts, chocolate, cottonseed oil and/ or partly hydrogenated soybean, condensed milk, natural & artificial flavors, and sugar.

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Making The Squirrel Nut Zipper Candy

This is a short film showing the process of making the “Nut Zipper” candy at the Squirrel Brand Factory in Cambridge, MA. This was shot in May of 1997 by filmmaker Clay Walker.

Squirrel Nut Zippers – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where can I buy Squirrel Nut Zipper Candies?

By the 1990s, the brand of Squirrel Nut Zipper candies was transferred over to New England Confectionery Company, also known as NECCO. At that time, these candies used to be the oldest candies available in the USA, made by the oldest candy manufacturer in the country. Unfortunately, the Squirrel Nut Zipper candies are no longer available for sale since they were discontinued. Their discontinuation came with the NECCO company ceasing operations in the year 2018.

Which company produces the Squirrel Nut Zipper Candies?

Squirrel Nut Zipper candy was made by the popular confectionery brand Squirrel Brand company. Just before its discontinuation in 2018, Squirrel Nut Zipper candy was being manufactured and distributed by the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO).

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Image Credit – “Squirrel Nut Zippers , a vanilla nut caramel made by NECCO.” by A Train is marked with CC BY-ND 2.0.

Image Credit – “squirrel nut zippers” by Rakka is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Image Credit – Evan-Amos, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Image Credit – “Squirrel Nut Zippers is a candy?” by Brad Day is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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