How Is America's Favorite Snack Popcorn, Made?

There are several variations of popcorn...un-popped kernels, microwavable popcorn, and ready-to-eat popcorn. Let's talk about how it's made!

History of popcorn

Popcorn has been a staple in the American diet for centuries. However, how did popcorn become so popular and why is it such a delicious snack? Around 1500 BC people in Peru were roasting and eating corn. The Native Americans would roast the corn on an open fire until it popped. They called this dish Powhatan which means to make no noise. The Spaniards brought popcorn to Europe after they discovered America. 

Popcorn (aka popped corn) has been America’s favorite snack since 1893, when Charles Cretors invented the first steam-powered popper.

 

What does popcorn taste like?

Popcorn is a tasty snack that most people enjoy. It comes in many flavors, including but not limited to: butter, salt, lemon, chocolate-coated, and caramel corn. There are many ways to make popcorn, and making it at home is a widespread and fun way to go! The microwave is a quick method and is widely used. You can also make it on the stove or in an air popper for a healthier version of this delicious snack. When unflavored, popcorn has a very neutral, somewhat bland taste. That's one of the reasons it's such a great snack to flavor!

Choosing the right variety of corn

While there are many varieties of corn to choose from. In regards to popping corn, there is pearl, rice, purple, even red and black. The most popular variety for popcorn-making is white corn. White corn kernels tend to not have as much moisture and oil content as yellow or blue corn do, so they tend to pop easier and are less likely to burn. However, yellow or blue popping corn is also used a lot for gourmet style popcorn!

Preparing corn for popping

So now the question is...how is popcorn actually made?

When making popcorn at home, the first step in making it is to prepare the corn for popping. This can be done by removing the kernels from the ears of corn if you're making it from the ears. Otherwise, kernels are sold at stores ready to put in the pot!
Once you have your corn kernels ready, you will need to spread them out in a fairly thin layer in a pot or pan (with a top). Add sunflower, safflower, canola, or avocado oil to the pan. The next step is to shake the pan back and forth until all of the kernels are covered with oil and then place it over medium heat.
Get ready for some popping!

In a commercial manufacturing setting, popcorn is made quite the same, however the machinery is much larger and more efficient for popping big quantities of popcorn. Some popcorn is made in air poppers, and some is made in kettles.

Types of popcorn flavors and toppings

In America, the most popular topping for popcorn is salt or butter. However, there are many other toppings that can be used to enhance the flavor of popcorn. Herbs and spices such as paprika or cumin can add a savory kick to your popcorn. If you want something sweet, try adding cinnamon or sugar to your favorite kernels of corn. Finally, if you want something spicy and tangy use cayenne pepper or even hot sauce on your next batch!

BOHEMiYUM makes several delicious flavors including Himalayan Salt, Sweet Brown Butter, and Lemon Zest. Amazing!

 

Storing popcorn

Popcorn is best when it is fresh. To store popcorn for later, put it in an airtight container. If you can't find a container that fits the bag of popcorn exactly, try using a zip lock bag and folding the top over twice to close it tightly. Make sure there are no holes or gaps in the bag. Storing your popcorn in this way will keep it fresh for several weeks.

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