Popcorn is a favorite snack of many Americans as well as others throughout the world. It is one of those rare snacks that people love and that is relatively good for you as well. Of course this depends on what other ingredients you add to it.
Popcorn has been around for thousands of years during which it was used in a multitude of interesting ways. Today, however, the majority of popcorn is consumed with some butter and salt. There are many other ways that popcorn can be prepared and we hope to open your eyes to many of these on this website.
In this section we'll present interesting information about popcorn to provide you with some background on this wonderful snack.
Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass
The history of popcorn goes back literally thousands of years. Although most of that time it was not prepared and eaten the way it is today. It was prepared like a porridge, a gruel, a breakfast cereal, a soup and even popcorn beer. Some cultures used popcorn as a currency, jewelry and to make headdresses.
The Great Depression and World War II were both a boon for the growth of popcorn in the United States. During this time in the history of popcorn Americans ate three times as much popcorn as they had before.
The most recent resurgence of popcorn popularity came with the availability of microwave popcorn in the 1980s. This wasn't the best tasting popcorn but, due to the convenience, people couldn't get enough.
Have you ever wondered, "What is popcorn?" Nearly everybody loves the fluffy and delicious snack known as popcorn. The aroma is enough to make almost everyone's stomach growl and grab a bag, cup or bucket of the yummy treat.
The corn grown for popcorn is quite different than the sweet corn we love to devour every summer. Popping corn has smaller kernels with spaces between them and has a hard and almost shell-like skin. This unique structure is what allows popcorn to "pop" or literally explode.
One reason for its popularity is the nutrition in popcorn. Popcorn is a whole grain food which makes it a high-quality carbohydrate source that is not only low in calories, but a good source of fiber.
Have you ever considered growing popcorn in your own garden? It takes some space but it's not that difficult. And the popcorn you get will probably be the best you ever tasted!
There are actually only two types of popcorn, but a host of varieties. They are butterfly and mushroom. The butterfly style pops into a large, fluffy and irregularly shaped pieces of popcorn. Mushroom style burst into smaller and more compact morsels. Commercial popcorn companies oftentimes mix both types in their products. That is why sometimes the popcorn will be big and fluffy while others are tighter and smaller. Mushroom type are best used for candy-coated popcorn.
Without the correct amount of moisture, about 14%, popcorn will not pop. That's why it's critical that the popcorn storage method maintain this moisture content. In just one day a popcorn kernel can lose 1% of its moisture if left uncovered. This seemingly small drop will decrease the quality of the popcorn. A drop of 3% will keep the kernel from popping all together!
Popcorn storage using glass or plastic airtight containers is the recommended method for maintaining the proper moisture content. These containers should be stored in a cool place, but not the refrigerator since that will cause the kernels to dry out faster.
As you sit down to watch a movie in front of your big screen with a warm buttery bowl of popcorn, have you ever wondered, "Why does popcorn pop?" Since even young children can make popcorn we all assume that the process of corn popping is probably a simple one. When in actuality the popping process is a fairly complex one in which many factors must be just "right" for the popcorn to pop at all.