Popcorn is one of the oldest and most National snacks of all time.  Popcorn, and the maize it is made from are strictly an American food.  When you hear biblical counts of ‘corn’, or any mention of it in European History it is describing the most popular used grain in the area.  In England corn referred to wheat, and in Ireland and Scotland corn referred to oats.  In America, corn referred to maize, and when corn was brought back to Europe it stuck!  The oldest discovery of popcorn was made in 1948.  Just outside central New Mexico 4,000 year old popcorn was discovered in “The Bat Cave”.  Popcorn was a huge part of Native American life.  It was used in religious ceremonies, decorations, and as offerings.  It was used for ceremonial headdresses and also as casual jewelry and accessories.  In Native American ceremonies and culture Popcorn was made by putting the kernels on the hot rocks of a campfire. When the kernels would “pop” they shot out of the fire, an one would have to catch them to snack on them.

Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to be exposed to popcorn by the Native Americans.  Columbus observed it on his first voyage, and Cortez was the first to bring it back to Europe.  Popcorn somehow existed in East Asia (China, and India) before it made its way to Europe. Perhaps through Russia from North America.  Colonists in North America also were introduced to Pop Corn by the Native Americas of the North East.  Colonists loved it and would eat it with sugar and cream for breakfast.  Thus technically making the first puffed cereal.

Popcorn has continuously been a real American treat, being a novelty at World’s Fairs and community festivals.  During the depression it was a more reasonable snack items for families troubled by the economy.  Popcorn became a movie goer favorite, and with the invention of the microwave it became a good snack to enjoy movies while watching a home movie.  (popcorn was one of the first things to try and be cooked using a microwave.)

Americans eat an average of 70 quarts of Popcorn a year.  The largest producers of Popcorn are Nebraska and Indiana.

I never liked Popcorn, but I had some today and it was good!  I had Newman’s Own, my favorite brand of anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also mixed some of it with dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and a candy made with maple syrup and cinnamon.  A recipe for “New England Popcorn” from Newman’s Own website.

 

Why corn Pops!  C/o Factmonster.com

A popcorn kernel is actually a seed. Like other seeds, inside it has a tiny plant embryo (a life form in its earliest phase). The embryo is surrounded by soft, starchy material that would give the embryo energy for growing into a plant. A hard, glossy shell protects the outside of the seed.

The soft, starchy material holds some water. When the kernel is heated to a high heat (400 degrees F), the water inside the kernel turns into steam. The pressure from the steam causes the kernel to explode. The soft starch inside bursts out at about 40 times its original size, turning the kernel inside out. This creates the fluffy white area of a popped kernel.

The ideal popcorn kernel contains about 14 percent moisture. If the popcorn is much drier, it will not pop. Popcorn kernels should be kept in a tightly sealed jar so that they will not dry out.

 

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