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National Popcorn Month – A Healthy Snack

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Welcome National Popcorn Month! What is more, because popcorn is so versatile, you can use it as a healthy snack and also change the color of items that you add to popcorn and have it during any holiday of the year! What is more, it is healthy and also inexpensive.  How cool is that?

Image from the Popcorn Board

Image from the Popcorn Board

You can also use a huge variety of ingredients with popcorn to make an unending variety of snacks. Keep in mind that although popcorn is very healthy, the items that you add to the popcorn may not be healthy.

Popcorn has been around for centuries.  Over the years it has become a favorite snack of the United States’ population and in fact, the United States has the most popcorn-eating people around the world.

Even during the Great Depression, popcorn sales actually increased because it was one of the few luxuries that families could afford.  Despite the fact that everyone had to cut back significantly and many struggled to find ways to provide items that they needed to survive, theater owners offered “Dish Night”.  One night each week, they gave one piece of tableware (one lunch plate, dinner plate, cup, saucer, or soup bowl) to patrons who attended the theater.  This way, people could complete a full dinner service set.  In fact, it was the ONLY way people could afford that!

Popcorn vendors tried to convince theater owners to sell popcorn in the theater; however, there was pushback from owners because they thought it would be too messy. Therefore, popcorn vendors put up stands right outside the movie theaters and sold bags of popcorn as people went into the theaters.  Movie sales exploded, which convinced theater owners to start selling popcorn inside the theater! Those that did not provide popcorn went out of business.

Question: Did you know that popcorn was instrumental in the invention of the microwave oven?

Interestingly, according to a 1987 NY Times article, microwave popcorn did not exist in 1978; however, in 1983, which was the first year that microwave popcorn was made available nationally, the sales generated were $53 million.  In 1986, the estimated sales were $250 million!

According to the Popcorn Board, a popcorn kernel is a seed with a tiny plant embryo inside with soft, starchy materials and all is surrounded by a hard glossy shell surrounding the seed. When the kernel is heated to high heat, the water inside the kernel turns to steam and the pressure from the steam causes the kernel to explode, turning inside out.

Have fun with this Popcorn Trivia Quiz that is offered by the Popcorn Board

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From the Popcorn Board, learn how to prepare perfect popcorn:

  • Not only is popcorn tasty and economical (for pennies you can enjoy a quart at home), it’s also easy to prepare. Whether you choose to pop popcorn in an electric popper, on the stove or over an open fire, follow these tips for perfectly popped popcorn:
  • Warm the popper, heavy pan or skillet. If oil popping your corn, add 1/4 cup of cooking oil to the pan. Allow the oil to heat. The best popping temperature is between 400 and 460 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil burns at 500 degrees.
    • If your oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. Any cooking oil will work provided it can retain the proper temperature. The less saturated the fat in the oil (like corn or sunflower), the less calories you add to your snack.
  • Don’t use butter because butter will burn.
  • Do not use olive oil because it burns at a lower rate than canola oil.
  • Test the heat of the oil by dropping in one or two kernels. When the kernel pops or spins in the oil, you’re ready to add the remaining popcorn. Pour just enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pan. Shake the pan to be certain oil coats each kernel.
  • Kernels that do not pop are known as “old maids.” They do not have sufficient water contained within the starch to create the buildup of pressure needed to pop the kernels.

If your popcorn does not pop into fluffy, crunchy kernels, it may have lost some of its moisture. Rejuvenate popcorn by filling a 1-quart jar 3/4 full with popcorn. Add one tablespoon of water. Cover and shake every five to 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed. In two to four days it should be perfect for popping.

Popcorn Nutritional Info

Popcorn Nutritional Info

  • Popcorn is a whole grain
  • Provides energy-producing complex carbs
  • Contains fiber, which you need daily
  • Naturally low in fat and calories
  • Has no artificial additives or preservatives
  • Is sugar-free
  • 3 cups of popcorn equal one serving from the grain group.

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Party Popcorn

Party Popcorn

Ways to Serve Popcorn

Party Popcorn (She Wears Many Hats):

6-7 oz. white candy melts, melted (white chocolate)

8-9 cups popped popcorn, lightly salted

Sprinkle with nonpareils, festive sprinkles, colored coarse sugar, etc.

 

 

 

Colored Microwave Popcorn

Colored Microwave Popcorn

Colored Microwave Popcorn

From the Yummy Life

By Monica Servings: 8 cups popped corn

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon liquid food coloring, or 1/16 teaspoon gel food coloring

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup popcorn

 

Supplies needed:

  • 2.5 to 3 quart microwave-proof bowl. If glass, should be tempered and have a high-heat tolerance.
  • Vented lid for bowl.

 

Directions:

  • Put butter, oil, corn syrup, salt and food coloring in bowl
  • Microwave just until butter is melted, 40-50 seconds
  • Stir to combine well
  • Pour popcorn kernels into bowl; stir to coat each kernel with mixture
  • Even out kernels in bottom of bowl
  • Put vented cover on top and microwave on high for approx. 4-5 minutes, when there are 1-2 second between pops
  • Microwave times will vary
  • Immediately spoon popcorn onto waxed or parchment paper lined baking sheet, leaving un-popped kernels in bottom of bowl
  • Carefully pick out any un-popped kernels that may have stuck to the popcorn
  • Popcorn quickly gets crispy as it cools
  • Store in airtight container

CAUTION: Bowl will get hot; use hot pads or oven mitts.

 

Flavors of Popcorn

 

Please leave a comment about the different ways that you serve popcorn.

 

Thanks

Traveling Nana

 

 

 

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