We all love popcorn, right?
Who will not take notice of that buttery popcorn aroma wafting from your office pantry after you decided you wanted microwaved popcorn during your break time? Or make your household mouth water during movie night when you start poppin’ those popcorn with your fancy Whirley-Pop stovetop.
I know I do, and so do most Americans. In fact, studies show that Americans are estimated to eat 15 billion quarts of popcorn every year. That’s a lot of popcorn!
Whether it’s a simple snack between meals or accompaniment to a movie night, popcorn has been a reliable and delicious comfort food for generations. And while most days of the year are just another day on the calendar, January 19th, is special for snack lovers because it’s National Popcorn Day!
So while you’re enjoying your delicious snack, let’s do a deep dive and answer some of the most asked questions on the internet about popcorn.
Can you pop regular corn?
Your regular corn or sweet corn will not turn into popped corn. Although it would be really awesome if any corn kernels can be made into popped corn, as it turns out, only the variant of flint corn called Zea mays everta or “corn turned inside out” pops.
There are about 25 different varieties of Zea mays, and the two major types are rice popcorn and pearl popcorn. These corn variants are generally smaller, have an extremely hard hull and outer endosperm.
The magic behind the popping corn, as we all know, is the moisture that’s inside the kernel which is optimally about 13.5 percent. And when it's heated at about 400°F, it explodes inside out into a white, fluffy, irregular mass about 20 to 40 times its original size.
As of today, the United States is the biggest producer of popcorn in the world and the majority are grown in the Midwest, or the Corn Belt.
Ever wondered if you could pop corn from the cob??? You can! Check out the Petersen Family Farm's Microwaveable Popcorn on the Cob right here!
Who discovered popcorn?
Most historians believe that popcorn was invented by Native Americans thousands of years ago, with fossil evidence found by archeologists in the Aztec tombs as early as 4,700 BC.
Some popcorn kernels that were dated to be 4,000 years old were so well-preserved, they could still pop!
The Aztec called the sound of many kernels popping at once as totopoca, and it is believed that this high yield crop fueled the rise of their empire.
It is also believed that the earliest corns were all popcorns, but they were too hard to eat or grind into flour. Then after thousands of years, the Mesoamericans managed to cultivate varieties of corn which were good for flour and other food ingredients.
Furthermore, French explorers who came to the new world wrote about Iroquois Native Americans popping tough corn kernels in pottery jars filled with heated sand.
When did popcorn become popular at the movies?
Believe it or not, popcorn used to be banned and frowned upon during the early days of movie theaters in the 90s.
See, movies during the early days were mostly for the upper class, and that was mostly because watching a silent movie meant, the patron must know how to read.
And if you’ve been to these old movie theaters, they are architectural marvels, and these businesses want their patrons to experience the glitz and glamor of Hollywood. So during those days, having popcorn and other snacks will negatively affect the experience of upper class moviegoers, not to mention the mess brought about by popcorn in the establishment.
But in 1927, movies started to have sound, and more people were able to enjoy movies. Coupled with the Great Depression, movies became one of the main forms of escapism for people, and along with it the cheap popcorn snack.
During the Great Depression, sugar was also rationed, making popcorn one of the easiest and cheapest snacks to make. In fact a $10 bag of popcorn could last for years making it a high yield investment for vendors. And while movie going was skyrocketing it became the most common snack offering.
Still, popcorn vendors were limited to selling their snacks on street carts outside of the theaters. Some theaters also fought the snack by checking people’s coats. But we all know, that tactic won’t work, right?
Naturally, movie theaters wanted to cut the middleman. Then Julia Braden of Kansas City was able to persuade Linwood Theater to let her set up her own stand in their lobby which eventually turned into a popcorn empire for Braden. This also started the trend of theaters having popcorn stands within their establishment.
Having popcorn concessions in movie theaters also helped establishments as their high mark-ups boosts profitability, compared with having ticket sales alone.
Is popcorn healthy?
Popcorn is actually quite nutritious – it's low in calories and fat, high in fiber, and contains antioxidants. Plus, since it's made with whole grains, it can be a great source of complex carbohydrates for people who are looking to up their intake of these types of carbs. Not bad for something that tastes so delicious, just like Cornucopia Popcorn and The Art of Caramel.
That said, no matter how you choose to celebrate National Popcorn Day this year—whether it's by enjoying the classic buttery flavor or trying out something new—we hope you have a wonderful time doing it!
After all, what would life be without a little adventure (and lots of delicious popcorn)?
So grab some friends (or just yourself!), pop open a bag of your favorite kind of popcorn, and get ready for an unbeatable experience full of flavor and fun.
You’re craving and want to order popcorn right now you say?
Well, we're making it easy and convenient! Get your popcorn right here at Yumday. And you can also have fun listening to our podcast: Get it Poppin'... with Popcorn while you’re at it.