Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away, and that means an explosion of pink and red cookies, cakes and stores full of those little chalky candy hearts. But as you toss back a few boxes this month, consider these 10 fun facts about Sweethearts.

Hearty Beginnings

The first hearts were invented in 1866 by Daniel Chase, brother of Necco founder Oliver Chase. They were called “Motto Hearts.” Necco was founded 14 years earlier, and the acronym stands for “New England Confectionery Company.” It’s one of the country’s oldest candy companies.

Round-the-clock Rollout

To satisfy demand for Sweethearts for Valentine’s Day, production for the next year starts right after the holiday in February and continues until mid-January. More than 7 billion candy hearts are made each year.

In Demand

Sweethearts are just behind chocolate in candy sales during the holiday of love. Some 13 million pounds of the little candies are sold every year — mostly in the six weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Best recipe

The famous candies are made from a batter of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin and food coloring. The dough is then rolled out, printed with messages, and cut into the tiny pastel hearts. It’s pretty much the same process and recipe that the company has used since the beginning.

Other Options

Before World War I, Sweethearts came in different shapes including baseballs, watches and horseshoes.

The Big question

The “Marry Me” heart is the most requested, Aimee Scott, Necco’s marketing director told Smithsonian.

Golden oldies

Original mottos from the candy’s earliest days still in production include “Be Mine,” “Be True” and “Kiss Me.”

Modern Mottos

Necco tries to keep current with the times and updates the phrases with trendy sayings of the times.   While “Dig me,” “Hep Cat,” and “Fax Me” are now out of circulation, others like “You Rock,” “Text Me,” and “Me & U” have taken their place. There are about 45 different sayings out right now.

It’s fitting

For each piece, 5 letters fit on the top line, and 4 fit on the bottom line. If a “W” is used, then there can only be 4 letters on the top line or 3 lines on the bottom.

Fun with science

When you’re sick of snacking on sugary hearts, there’s a fun experiment you can try. If you put your candy hearts in a glass of carbonated soda, they’ll float to the bottom only to rise back up again, only to sink again and so on. This is because the hearts are denser than soda.

(h/t Smithsonian)

Also see, How to avoid gaining weight during a cold winter

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.