October is National Popcorn Poppin’ MonthOctober is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, a harvest time celebration of one of America’s oldest snack foods. As farmers head into the fields to gather crops, families and friends gather to honor this perennially popular food.
Popcorn existed long before today’s dizzying array of snacks, tracing its roots back thousands of years. Yet, throughout the ages, this enduring fan favorite has remained relatively unchanged. Popcorn kernels are the seeds of a large grain plant known also as maize. Once the kernels are stripped from the cob and dried to 14% moisture, they can be popped and eaten.
This seed-to-snack simplicity is just part of the allure. Whole grain, naturally low in fat and calories, and gluten free, popcorn is a good fit for today’s health conscious consumer. Yet it’s the taste and versatility that continues to make this one popular snack food. Americans consume some 16 billion quarts of popcorn each year. That’s roughly 51 quarts per man, woman and child.Here are some interesting facts about popcorn.
- Compared to most snack foods, popcorn is low in calories. Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup. Oil-popped is only 55 per cup.
- Popcorn is a whole grain. It is made up of three components: the germ, endosperm, and pericarp (also know as the hull).
- Most U.S. popcorn is grown in the Midwest, primarily in Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri.
- Most popcorn comes in two basic shapes when it's popped: snowflake and mushroom. Snowflake is used in movie theaters and ballparks because it looks and pops bigger. Mushroom is used for candy confections because it doesn't crumble.
- There is no such thing as “hull-less” popcorn. All popcorn needs a hull in order to pop. Some varieties of popcorn have been bred so the hull shatters upon popping, making it appear to be hull-less.
Enjoy this great tasting low calorie (if butter is not added) whole grain snack.