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Why Are Sprinkles Called Jimmies?

Last Updated on February 25, 2024 by Lauren Beck

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The popular candy decorations known as sprinkles, often seen on cakes, cupcakes, and ice cream, go by various names depending on your location. In the northeastern United States, they are frequently referred to as jimmies.

But why are sprinkles called jimmies, and where did this term come from? In this article, we’ll explore the origins of this popular term, as well as provide some information about sprinkles and jimmies.

Why Are Sprinkles Called Jimmies?

The origin of the term jimmies to refer to sprinkles is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the northeastern United States. 

Jimmies specifically refer to the elongated sprinkle often used on ice cream. While the terms sprinkles and jimmies are often used interchangeably, jimmies are a popular topping for desserts in the northeastern region.

What Are Jimmies?

Jimmies are a type of sprinkle that is elongated and often used to decorate desserts, particularly ice cream. 

They are typically made from sugar, corn syrup, and food coloring, and have a crunchy texture. Jimmies come in a variety of colors, including chocolate, rainbow, and pastel shades.

What Are Sprinkles?

Sprinkles, also known as nonpareils or hundreds and thousands, are small candy pieces used as a decoration or topping for desserts. 

They are typically made from sugar, cornstarch, and food coloring, and come in a variety of shapes, including tiny balls, stars, and hearts. Sprinkles can be used to decorate cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other desserts.

Where Did the Term Jimmies Originate?

The origin of the term jimmies is a bit unclear, but there are a few theories. Some believe that the term comes from the sprinkles’ resemblance to the traditional Jim Crow-era uniform worn by African-American railroad workers, which featured blue and white stripes. 

Others believe that the term is a nod to Jimmy Bartholomew, the founder of Just Born Inc., a Pennsylvania-based candy company that has been producing jimmies since the 1930s.

Difference Between Sprinkles and Jimmies

cake sprinkles poured at the top of a table with a cup

While the terms sprinkles and jimmies are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. 

Sprinkles are the more general term used to describe any type of small candy decoration, while jimmies specifically refer to the elongated sprinkle often used on ice cream.

What Are Sprinkles Called Around the World?

In different parts of the world, sprinkles are known by different names. In the United Kingdom, they are often called hundreds and thousands. In Australia and New Zealand, they are known as hundreds and thousands or fairy bread sprinkles [1]. In India, they are called jimmies or rainbow jimmies.

Are Rainbow Sprinkles and Chocolate Sprinkles the Same?

Rainbow sprinkles and chocolate sprinkles are not the same. Rainbow sprinkles are made from sugar, cornstarch, and food coloring and come in a variety of colors. Chocolate sprinkles, on the other hand, are made from chocolate and have a rich, chocolatey flavor.

What Is Jimmies Style Sprinkles?

Jimmies-style sprinkles are elongated and have a slightly crunchy texture. They are often used to decorate ice cream cones and are available in a variety of colors, including chocolate, rainbow, and pastel shades.

Do Sprinkles and Jimmies Go Bad?

Like most candy products, sprinkles and jimmies do not have an expiration date. However, their color and texture may change over time, and they may become stale. It’s best to store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to maintain their freshness.

What Are Jimmies on Cupcakes?

Jimmies on cupcakes are a popular decoration. They are typically used to add color and texture to the frosting or to create a fun design. Jimmies are also commonly used to decorate ice cream, as they add a crunchy texture and a pop of color.

Do Jimmies Have Flavor?

Jimmies themselves do not have a distinct flavor, but they can add a sweet crunch to desserts. Some brands may use different types of sweeteners or flavorings to add a unique taste to their jimmies, so it’s always best to check the ingredient list if you have any dietary restrictions or preferences.

Conclusion

The term jimmies has been used for decades to refer to the elongated sprinkles that are often used to decorate ice cream. While the origin of the term is uncertain, it is clear that jimmies are a popular topping for desserts in the northeastern United States. While the terms sprinkles and jimmies are often used interchangeably, jimmies specifically refer to the elongated sprinkle often used on ice cream. Regardless of what you call them, these colorful candy toppings can add a fun and festive touch to any dessert.

Reference:

  1. https://www.myrecipes.com/news/the-mysterious-and-fascinating-history-of-sprinkles#:~:text=In%20certain%20regions%20of%20the,hail%2Dstorm%22%20in%20Dutch.
Lauren Beck
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