They come every Easter, like a little beady-eyed army. They come in many shapes – baby chicks, bunnies and other animals. And according to some urban legends, they're virtually indestructible.

We're talking about Marshmallow Peeps®, either the most delicious or most disgusting Easter candy ever invented (depending on who you ask). In honor of the Easter holiday, InventHelp® presents the story of Peeps, perhaps the most unusual candy to grace the Easter basket.

Marshmallow PeepsThese small candies are made from marshmallow, sugar, gelatin and carnauba, a waxy substance that gives the Peep its gritty, sugarcoated shell.

Marshmallow Peeps® are distributed by the Just Born Candy Company, founded by Russian immigrant Sam Born. It's said that Peeps were invented in 1953, when Just Born acquired another candy company, Rodda, that had a small line of 3-D marshmallow products.

Believe it or not, it originally took 27 hours to create one Peep! The little birds were squeezed out of tubes and painstakingly decorated by hand. That was until Sam Born's son, Bob, invented a way to mechanize the marshmallow-shaping process.

Today, it takes only 6 minutes to create a Peep. And that's a good thing – 2 million Peeps can be made in a day, and Bethlehem, Pa.-based Just Born anticipates that it will sell more than 700 million Peeps this Easter holiday season.

Over time, Peeps developed into a posse. The line now includes bats and pumpkins for Halloween; hearts for Valentine's Day; and red, white and blue Peeps for the Fourth of July.

Peeps are kitschy and iconic, which (along with the Internet) put them on the fast track to cult status. Many fan sites are devoted to Peep parodies, dioramas, travels and experiments. Peeps fanatics would argue that a good Peep is a stale Peep. Some slit the cellophane wrapping and leave it out for a while before eating.

There's even a Peep-eating contest held annually in Sacramento, Ca., which pits Peeps proponents against one another to see who can consume the most Peeps in 30 minutes. Remarkably, the record is 88 (we at InventHelp would love to know how the "winner" felt later that day.)

Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Peeps without actually having to consume them.

In case you were wondering, the rumor that Peeps are nearly indestructible turns out to be true. In a study conducted at Emory University, inventive scientists failed to destroy a Peep even after dipping it into liquid nitrogen or boiling water!

It turns out that these Peeps are some tough chicks!

While chocolate bunnies may be the most popular Easter candy, they don't elicit the rabid following of Marshmallow Peeps®. There are songs written about them, fan sites dedicated to them, and thousands of Peeps fans across America. We at InventHelp hope that if you see Marshmallow Peeps® in your Easter basket, you'll treat them kindly – that means no microwave!

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