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Find out how much you know about this popular snack food
The oldest known popcorn kernels were found in New Mexico and are believed to be at least 4,000 years old!
It Takes 135 Pounds of Pressure to Pop Corn
Each kernel of popcorn contains a small amount of water, which, when heated, turns to steam. When the pressure reaches about 135 pounds per square inch, the kernel will explode.
Popcorn Comes in Two Basic Shapes
Most popcorn comes in two basic shapes. The larger snowflake shape is what you’ll find in ballparks and theaters, while the smaller mushroom shape is used for confections like caramel corn.
Only One Type of Corn Will Pop
There are six types of maize (pod, sweet, flour, dent, flint, and popcorn) but only popcorn, a.k.a. Zea mays everta, will pop when heated.
Americans Eat Enough Popcorn to Fill the Empire State Building
Americans eat so much popcorn — more than fifty popped quarts per person per year — that it could fill the Empire State Building 18 times!
Un-popped Kernels are Called “Old Maids” or “Spinsters”
Kernels that are too dry won’t be able to create steam (or pressure) and won’t pop. They’re playfully called “old maids” or “spinsters.”
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.
5 (Easy) Savory Popcorn Recipes for Movie Night
There’s a recipe for rosemary thyme black pepper popcorn, a spicy chili lime popcorn, coconut turmeric saffron popcorn, and more! Click through to grab all five recipes and let me know which one is your fave.
There are a few health benefits to eating popcorn. In addition to being high in fiber, popcorn also contains phenolic acids, a type of antioxidant. In addition, popcorn is a whole grain, an important food group that may reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension in humans.
Lower Risk of Diabetes
Whole grains are known to offer many health benefits to humans. One important benefit of eating whole grains is a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, which has been shown to be especially true for middle-aged men and women.
In addition, popcorn has a low glycemic index (GI), meaning that it may help you maintain your blood sugar levels more easily and avoid fluctuation associated with foods high in GI. Diets with a lot of low-GI foods can help people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes improve their glucose and lipid levels.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
High intake of fiber, which is prevalent in popcorn, has been found to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as coronary heart disease. Fiber is an important part of a balanced diet, and popcorn is ideal if you need a snack that contributes to your daily fiber intake.
Lower Risk of Hypertension
In addition to lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease, eating popcorn without a lot of added salt or butter may help you lower your blood pressure or lower the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Weight loss and management can be a challenge for many. Popcorn offers a snack solution that can help you avoid weight gain. Its high fiber content, in addition to its low calorie count, contributes to this important health benefit. These properties of the snack can make people feel more full than a less healthy, fattier snack would.
More Things to Do With Popcorn
So we&aposve broken down the major (and not so major) methods for making popcorn. But we&aposve haven&apost even discovered all the fun things you can do to dress it up! If you&aposre looking for popcorn inspiration, look no further.
Those who like heat (and a little zest) will love this Sriracha-Lime Popcorn. Italian lovers look no further than this Italian Popcorn with Parmesan made with olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and freshly grated Parmigiano cheese. And of course we can&apost forget snack mix and popcorn balls. Browse our entire collection of popcorn recipes for more inspiration.
The only reason this became a popular idea, is because a company called General Foods used this as a marketing campaign in 1944.
They coined the phrase to sell more of their cereal Grape Nuts.
The campaign stated that “Nutrition experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
1 - Sriracha, Lime, and Sesame Popcorn
2 - Rosemary, Brown Butter, and Lemon Popcorn
5 - Parmesan-Garlic Popcorn
These recipe all start with a measured amount of popped popcorn, and it can be popped however your heart desires: in an air-popper, on the stovetop (here are directions for how to do that, if you never have), or in the microwave. If you use microwave popcorn, use one bag per recipe, and look for the plainest kind you can find (ideally with no butter or salt added).
These five flavors of popcorn all use a simple melted butter sauce, and four out of five — all except the maple-bacon popcorn — can be made entirely in the microwave. How about THAT for modern convenience?
POPCORN ART AND CRAFTS
14. POPCORN ART
Put out a bag of popped popcorn along with construction paper and art supplies-challenge children to come up with some creative art using the popcorn!
15. POPCORN COLLAGE
Colored Glue (can also use paint or food coloring mixed with glue)
Provide many different colors of glue glue should be thick enough to hold the popcorn
Paint a picture with the glue
Press popcorn onto the painted parts
16. DECORATE POPCORN BAGS!
Small Paper Bags
Crayons, paint, markers, stickers, etc.
Put out a variety of markers, paint, stickers, etc. Decorate the bag in fun designs. Write the word ‘Popcorn’ on it. When complete, fill with popcorn! Enjoy!
17. CORN ON COB COLLAGE
Yellow and green construction paper, Glue, Un-popped popcorn
1. Cut a “corn cob” and “husks” out of paper. Glue the “husks” around the “cob”.
2. Spread the glue on the “cob” and cover it with un-popped popcorn
18.PUFFY POPCORN FLOWERS
Materials: Popped Popcorn, Powder Tempera Paint (any colors), Green Construction Paper, Glue, Cardboard
1. Put handfuls of popped popcorn in plastic bag and add powdered tempera paint to each one.
2. Shake well to distribute paint all over the popcorn.
3. Cut stems and leaves out of green construction paper and glue them to cardboard.
4. Glue on the colored popcorn to make flowers. (Seasonal flower art towards page bottom)
A POPCORN SCIENCE AND ART LESSON FOR KIDS
Idea and sample provided by Carol Felixson in Los Angeles Times–May 5, 2004
19. POPCORN FLOWERS
There are several species of popcorn flowers. They are members of what is commonly known as the fiddleneck family of plants. Once the flowers open and bloom, they look like popped corn…The flowers have white petals with yellow ‘kernels’ in the center.
As an extension of this art idea–have kids research “Popcorn flowers”!
Cardstock paper or poster board
Red tissue paper
Green tissue paper
1. Cut strips and other shapes of blue and green tissue paper (sky and ground)
2. Mix water and white glue until it has the same consistency as paint.
3. Working on one small section at a time, paint the mixture onto poster board with a brush.
4. Place a piece of tissue paper on top of each glued area. 5. Next “paint” over the top of the tissue. Let it dry.
6. Brush on a second coat of the glue and water.
7. Last use full-strength glue to paste popcorn on top of the tissue paper.
8. Once everything dries, outline the flowers with a marker.
20. POPCORN SHAKER #1–RAIN STICK
Cardboard Paper towel cylinder
Scraps of material
Rubber bands or tape
1. Paint cardboard tube and let dry.
2. Cut two circles out of scrap fabric, big enough to cover the open ends of the cardboard tube.
3. Place one fabric circle over tube end and secure with a rubber band or tape.(Tape if child is under 5 and rubberband if over 5)
4. Add popcorn kernels to tube (About a tablespoon full).
5. Secure second fabric circle over open end of tube with rubber band or tape.
6. Hold tube in the middle and shake or turn to make “rain noise”.
21. PLASTIC SHAKER #2
- Find a clean, empty plastic container with a screw-on lid, such as a peanut butter jar or a individual serving juice or milk bottle.
- Put a spoonful of popcorn kernels in the container.
- Put some glue around the edge of the container and screw the lid on tightly.
- Allow the glue to dry before shaking.
- Decorate with stickers or colorful masking tape.
22. SHAKER #3–USE PRINGLES CAN
Put popcorn kernels inside of a Pringles can. Secure the plastic lid of the can with tape. Paint or cover the can with construction paper and shake it!
23. POPCORN SCULPTING
1/4 cup margarine, plus 1 tablespoon extra
1 bag mini-marshmallows
12 cups popped popcorn
3 packages gelatin (such as Jell-O, 4 serving size), different flavors and colors as desired
Choice of the following foods, such as sprouts, celery sticks, carrot slices, raisins, pretzel sticks, etc.
Wax paper or serving plate
Large wooden spoon
Large microwave-safe bowl or saucepan
1. Place the margarine and the marshmallows in the microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the two on high for 1 to 2 minutes until the marshmallows are puffed.
2. Using oven mitts, remove the bowl of marshmallows from the microwave. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon.
3. Divide the popcorn into three separate bowls.
4. Pour equal amounts of the marshmallow mixture over popcorn.
5. Sprinkle a different color of gelatin over each bowl of popcorn and marshmallow mixture. Quickly stir with the spoon until the gelatin and marshmallow mixture evenly covers the popcorn mixture and let cool.
6. Rub some margarine on your hands. Take some of the popcorn mixture and mold into an interesting form. Add different colors of the popcorn mixture to make different parts of the sculpture.
7. Place the sculpture on wax paper or a serving plate. Add any of the remaining foods to make an interesting presentation of the sculpture just before serving.
20 Things You Didn't Know About Popcorn
High in fiber, low in fat, and a tiny spirit in every kernel -- here are 20 things you didn't know about popcorn.
1. Popcorn's scientific name is zea mays everta, and it is the only type of corn that will pop.
2. People have been enjoying popcorn for thousands of years. In 1948, popped kernels around 5,000 years old were discovered in caves in New Mexico.
3. It is believed that the Wampanoag Native American tribe brought popcorn to the colonists for the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
4. Traditionally, Native American tribes flavored popcorn with dried herbs and spices, possibly even chili. They also made popcorn into soup and beer and made popcorn headdresses and corsages.
5. Some Native American tribes believed that a spirit lived inside each kernel of popcorn. The spirits wouldn't usually bother humans, but if their home was heated, they would jump around, getting angrier and angrier, until eventually they would burst out with a pop.
6. Christopher Columbus allegedly introduced popcorn to the Europeans in the late 15th century.
7. The first commercial popcorn machine was invented by Charles Cretors in Chicago in 1885. The business he founded still manufactures popcorn machines and other specialty equipment.
8. American vendors began selling popcorn at carnivals in the late 19th century. When they began to sell outside movie theaters, theater owners were initially annoyed, fearing that popcorn would distract their patrons from the movies. It took a few years for them to realize that popcorn could be a way to increase revenues, and popcorn has been served in movie theaters since 1912.
On the next page, you'll find the rest of our list of things you didn't know about popcorn.
In this segment of our list on things you didn't know about popcorn, you'll find unique names for unpopped kernels and how much popcorn Americans consume each year.
9. Nowadays, many movie theaters make a greater profit from popcorn than they do from ticket sales, since for every dollar spent on popcorn, around ninety cents is pure profit. Popcorn also makes moviegoers thirsty and more likely to buy expensive sodas.
10. What makes popcorn pop? Each kernel contains a small amount of moisture. As the kernel is heated, this water turns to steam. Popcorn differs from other grains in that the kernel's shell is not water-permeable, so the steam cannot escape and pressure builds up until the kernel finally explodes, turning inside out.
11. On average, a kernel will pop when it reaches a temperature of 347 degress Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).
12. Unpopped kernels are called "old maids" or "spinsters."
13. There are two possible explanations for old maids. The first is that they didn't contain sufficient moisture to create an explosion the second is that their outer coating (the hull) was damaged, so that steam escaped gradually, rather than with a pop. Good popcorn should produce less than 2 percent old maids.
14. Ideally, the moisture content of popcorn should be around 13.5 percent, as this results in the fewest old maids.
15. Popcorn is naturally high in fiber low in calories and sodium-, sugar-, and fat-free, although oil is often added during preparation and butter, sugar, and salt are all popular toppings.
16. Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year. That's enough to fill the Empire State Building 18 times!
17. Nebraska produces more popcorn than any other state in the country -- around 250 million pounds per year. That's about a quarter of all the popcorn produced annually in the United States.
18. There are at least five contenders claiming to be the "Popcorn Capital of the World" due to the importance of popcorn to their local economies, and only one of them is in Nebraska. They are Van Buren, Indiana Marion, Ohio Ridgway, Illinois Schaller, Iowa and North Loup, Nebraska.
19. Popped popcorn comes in two basic shapes: snowflake and mushroom. Movie theaters prefer snowflake because it's bigger. Confections such as caramel corn use mushroom because it won't crumble.
20. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world's largest popcorn ball measured 12 feet in diameter and required 2,000 pounds of corn, 40,000 pounds of sugar, 280 gallons of corn syrup, and 400 gallons of water to create.
Helen Davies, Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen
How to make white chocolate popcorn…
This is a super easy recipe but there are a few things you want to consider.
- Pop some popcorn.
- You need 7 cups of popped popcorn to make this white chocolate popcorn.
- I personally like to use air-popped popcorn because it remains crispy once coated in white chocolate and there is no oil flavor in this sweet popcorn.
- I realize air-popped popcorn does not have any salt on it and that’s alright for me. I like the candy-coated popcorn and don’t miss the salt. Oddly enough most people say they like the salty-sweet flavor of this popcorn even though there is no salt in it.
- If you really want salt, just sprinkle some in as you stir in the white chocolate.
- I do not recommend using buttered popcorn to make this white chocolate popcorn as the butter can make the popcorn lose some structure and won’t be as crispy.
- Remove all of the un-popped kernels.
- You don’t want to have your friends biting into hard un-popped kernels so be sure to remove them.
- I pop my popcorn into one large bowl then I lift it out allowing the kernels to fall to the bottom of the bowl and place the popcorn in another large bowl.
- Melt and temper 12 ounces of pure white chocolate or melt some white confectionery coating.
- If you use pure white chocolate you must temper the chocolate in order for it to set up properly. See my chocolate making tips page for more information.
- I personally use Peter’s White Caps to make my popcorn and have been selling it to very happy customers for over 30 years. It has a lovely sweet vanilla flavor and a nice creamy texture. which are available in most grocery stores has a very similar flavor and will work great for this white chocolate covered popcorn recipe too.
- Pour the white chocolate or confectionery coating over top of the popcorn and toss to coat.
- Just toss until coated. Do not continue to stir as the chocolate will begin to harden.
- Pour out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
- Immediately sprinkle on the snowflake sprinkles and blue and white jimmies.
- You don’t want to stir these in because they will get coated in white chocolate and they won’t show up very well.
- Just sprinkle them over top.
- Tap the tray a few times to make sure the candies and sprinkles stick to the wet popcorn.
- Refrigerate for about 10 minutes until the white chocolate hardens.
- Remove and break the white chocolate covered popcorn into smaller chunks.
- Some of the sprinkles and snowflake candies will fall off.
- If you want you can use a bit of melted white chocolate to attach them to the popcorn.
- Don’t break this popcorn into individual pieces. You will break the popcorn too much if you try to get the pieces too small.
Products you’ll use to create this “Frozen” White Chocolate Popcorn can be found at Amazon.com (commission earned for sales). I found a few other Disney Frozen Containers too.
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I know this is a super simple recipe but I created a video tutorial so you can see just how easy it is to make yourself.
Micronutrients and Fiber in Popcorn
Popcorn nutrition labels do not include large amounts of many micronutrients, but you should look out for sodium in your popcorn. Many people add salt or salty seasonings to popcorn.
This is usually on top of the 74.7 milligrams of sodium, per cup, that oil-popped popcorn already contains. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a high-salt diet can put you at risk for high blood pressure. This puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease.
Because corn is a grain, popcorn is relatively high in dietary fiber. One cup of air-popped popcorn contains more than one gram of fiber. While it's possible to get too much fiber, the Mayo Clinic reports that getting enough dietary fiber can:
- Regulate bowel movements
- Lower cholesterol
- Regulate blood sugar
- Help achieve and maintain a healthy weight
It's important to remember that the amount of fiber and specific micronutrients that you need depends on several factors. You may need to adjust your intake based on your current state of health, activity level or health goals.