Popcorn Trivia

  • What makes popcorn pop? Each kernel contains a small amount of moisture. As the kernel is heated, this water turns to steam. Popcorn differs from other grains in that the kernel’s shell is not water-permeable, so the steam cannot escape and pressure builds up until the kernel finally explodes, turning inside out.
  • Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year. That’s enough to fill the Empire State Building 18 times!
  • Nebraska produces more popcorn than any other state in the country – around 250 million pounds per year. That’s about a quarter of all the popcorn produced annually in the United States.
  • It is believed that the Wampanoag Native American tribe brought popcorn to the colonists for the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • American vendors began selling popcorn at carnivals in the late 19th century. When they began to sell outside movie theaters, theater owners were initially annoyed, fearing that popcorn would distract their patrons from the movies. It took a few years for them to realize that popcorn could be a way to increase revenues, and popcorn has been served in movie theaters since 1912 (and it is a nearly silent food to eat).
  • People have been enjoying popcorn for thousands of years. In 1948, popped kernels around 5,000 years old were discovered in caves in New Mexico.
  • Some Native American tribes believed that a spirit lived inside each kernel of popcorn. The spirits wouldn’t usually bother humans, but if their home was heated, they would jump around, getting angrier and angrier, until eventually they would burst out with a pop.
  • The first commercial popcorn machine was invented by Charles Cretors in Chicago in 1885. The business he founded still manufactures popcorn machines and other specialty equipment.
  • Nowadays, many movie theaters make a greater profit from popcorn than they do from ticket sales, since for every dollar spent on popcorn, around ninety cents is pure profit. Popcorn also makes moviegoers thirsty and more likely to buy expensive sodas.
  • Christopher Columbus allegedly introduced popcorn to the Europeans in the late 15th century.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest popcorn ball measured 12 feet in diameter and required 2,000 pounds of corn, 40,000 pounds of sugar, 280 gallons of corn syrup, and 400 gallons of water to create.
  • Popped popcorn comes in two basic shapes: snowflake and mushroom. Movie theaters prefer
  • snowflake because it’s bigger. Confections such as caramel corn use mushroom because it won’t crumble.
  • The largest popcorn festival is the Marion Popcorn Festival. This festival attracts over two hundred thousand people.
  • When popped, popcorn kernels can reach a height of 3 feet.
  • Every year, the United States grows nearly 500,000 tons of popcorn.
  • Native Americans pounded popcorn into cornmeal and ate it as a confection. They also made popcorn beer and popcorn soup.
  • Commercial corn crops are bred to pop large kernels to fill bags faster; unfortunately, this tinkering has led to a dramatic decrease in the corny, slightly nutty taste that we associate with popcorn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *