Popcorn is one of my absolute favorite things to eat. I could easily eat a big, huge bowl of it everyday and never get tired of it. Although I don’t it eat it everyday, I could very easily do so. The only reason I don’t though is because Larry is not nearly as big a fan as I am, so I have to settle for maybe just a couple times a week instead, unless I want to eat the whole bowl by myself, which I have done many, many times too.
Popcorn is an American tradition, with evidence dating it back 80,000 years. There was proof in the Bat Caves of New Mexico that show the Native Americans made popped corn 5600 years ago. When this was found in 1948, the kernels we so well preserved that they were still “poppable” at the time of discovery. The Native Americans have used popcorn for many different things, from headdresses to decorations, to snacks.
There are 6 types of corn used to make popcorn. They are grown mostly in Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, and Nebraska. They are from the family called Zea mays everta, which is the only type of corn that can actually “pop”. The corn, while still on the cob is considered to be a vegetable. Once the kernels have been removed from the cob, they are considered to be a grain, and this particular type of grain is a type of wild grass. The process that allows the kernels to “pop” happens when they are combined with hot oil and steam, creating pressure that forces the kernels to pop between 20-50 times their normal size.
Popcorn has been an American snack favorite since the mid 1800’s. It became popular at fairs and carnivals because it was relatively cheap to make, which means, they could sell it for a very low price and still make it very profitable. So even when money was tight, people could enjoy this easily transported, delicious snack. When air popped, popcorn is actually a relatively healthy snack. It is full of the same vitamins and minerals found in corn and it is very high in fiber. It is also considered to be a weight-loss friendly snack because it is so high in fiber, has low calories and has a low energy density, and popcorn is rich with antioxidants and polyphenals, which help prevent cell damage. But …. popcorn is only considered to be a healthy snack when it is not loaded with all the good stuff, like butter, salt, caramel, cheese, etc.
There are literally hundreds of ways you can flavor popcorn, with more and more ways being created all the time. Some people like it sweet, others like it with cheese, and some like it spicy.
But I am a popcorn purist. As much as I love to experiment with all others kinds of food, popcorn to me is best when made with just the simple stuff; popcorn, oil, salt and butter.
January 19th is National popcorn day. I know I am a day early, but it is popcorn day for me everyday. Let’s get popping.