Jelly Belly recently sent me several free samples of their new products, including a bag of Sunkist Fruit Gems. Wait a second, you may be thinking – what’s new about Sunkist Fruit Gems? Rosa, you took a picture of some back in 2007!
Turns out Fruit Gems are new again. Since Jelly Belly bought the Sunkist line, they revamped it to make it with all natural ingredients. Consequently, their colors are now far more muted without artificial help.
The all natural Fruit Gems come in orange, lemon, grapefruit, raspberry, and blueberry. My bag of 9 was missing the raspberry flavor. Any mathematicians out there want to report on the probability of that happening?
The Fruit Gems retained their original texture – a soft fruit-pate with a granulated sugar shell. It yielded instantly to my bite, and its exposed surfaces were perfectly smooth, with a glossy feel on my tongue.
Orange was mildly sweet with a mellow candied orange flavor that lacked any zesty bite or citrus sourness. Compared to the Sunkist Orange Slices, which I also got as free samples, it was rather muted in flavor.
Lemon had a bright citrus zestiness and a positively tangy lemon flavor. There was a slight bitterness to the finish that I really enjoyed, as it made the flavor feel more genuine.
Grapefruit was pink and tasted just like grapefruit with its characteristic pithiness. Here, too, the finish had an enjoyable bitterness to it.
Finally, the maroon gem was blueberry. Its flavor was more like blueberry jam or that blueberry-ish stuff that they’ll put on your pancakes at IHOP: blueberry-esque rather than like the fresh fruit. It had a deep red fruit flavor and some noticeable tannins.
I enjoyed the lemon and grapefruit flavored ones. Blueberry was decent, and orange was nice but could have been punchier. Overall, I think they still get an OM, though I should note these also come individually wrapped in bulk bins, so you can pick and choose your favorite flavors.
If you want a second opinion, you can read Cybele’s take on them on her site.