How much do you know – or think you know about popcorn?
Here are the Top 13 Facts about popocorn:
1. Popcorn can grow to be 30 times its original size when it pops
2. Popcorn kernels come from actual corn, but not the type you eat for dinner! Only one variety of maize creates the kernels which become the popcorn we all know and love: zea mays everta.
3. There are two different shapes of popcorn: the butterfly and the mushroom. The butterfly shape is best for powdery flavors such as white cheddar and buffalo, and the mushroom shape is most optimal for caramel flavors. The shape of mushroom popcorn holds heavy flavors like Apple Caramel quite well.
4. How do popcorns pop? The answer is simple: pressure. The pressure from the heat placed on popcorn kernels causes a failure in the kernel’s skin, which results in the skin “popping”
5. The oldest known popcorn was found in New Mexico; the discovery of small heads of corn and several individual popped kernels was made by Berbert Dick and Earle Smith in 1948. These kernels were carbon dated to be around 5,600 years old.
6. Sometimes, after popcorn has finished popping there are still unpopped kernels remaining. These kernels do not pop because they don’t have enough moisture within them to create enough steam for the explosion. These unpopped kernels are known in the popcorn industry as “old maids.”
7. An average American eats almost 70 quarts of popcorn every year, and Americans consume approximately 17.3 billion quarts of popcorn annually! That’s a lot of popcorn!
8. Popcorn can be cooked with butter or oil, or it can be air popped.
9. Sometimes popcorn isn’t used only for consumption! In some places in North America and on the Balkan peninsula, popcorn is threaded onto string and used as a wall or Christmas tree decoration.
10. Nebraska grows the most popcorn, having over ¼ of the national production of popcorn. Other high popcorn-producing states include Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri.
11. In the 1800s, Americans consumed popcorn as a breakfast cereal. This meal consisted of popcorn with milk and sweetener.
12. When freshly harvested, popcorn can pop, but not very well due to its high moisture content. This leads to poor expansion and chewy pieces of popcorn; additionally, high moisture content makes popcorn susceptible to mold when stored. Thus, popcorn growers dry the kernels until they reach an optimal moisture level which allows the popcorn to expand the most.
13. The most ideal popcorn popping temperature is between 400-460 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now, it’s time to go pop some!