POPCORN, POPCORN TRIVIA
Popcorn pops because water is stored in a small circle of soft starch in each kernel. As the kernel is heated, the water heats, the droplet of moisture turns to steam and the steam builds up pressure until the kernel finally explodes to many times its original volume.
January 19 is National Popcorn Day
Popcorn was designated as the Official State Snack Food of Illinois in 2004.
Corn was first grown about 7000 years ago in the highlands of central Mexico, and by the first century B.C. was a staple crop of all the agricultural peoples in the Americas. One of the first uses of corn kernels was for popping.
The oldest ears of popping corn were discovered in a bat cave in New Mexico; they are over 5,500 years old.
A shortage of baking flours after World War II forced breadmakers to substitute up to 25% of wheat flour with ground popped popcorn. Over the years, popcorn also has been used as an ingredient in pudding, candy, soup, salad and entrees.
Americans consume 1.12 billion pounds of popcorn a year. That's is about 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year.
Americans ate over 68 quarts of popcorn per person last year.
Some Native American tribes popped corn right on the cob, by spearing the corn cob with a stick and holding it near the fire. The kernels would pop and stay attached to the cob.
Popcorn was actually the first food to be microwaved deliberately. In 1946 Dr. Percy Spencer of the Raytheon Corporation was experimenting with a magnetron (a new type of vacuum tube) when he noticed that the chocolate candy bar in his pocket had melted. He was curious, so he placed some popcorn kernels next to the magnetron and turned it on - the popcorn popped. After experimenting with various other food items (including an egg that exploded!), he and Ratheon realized they were on to something and continued on to develop the first microwave oven.
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