Each year on April 6 is National Caramel Popcorn Day. In January, we celebrated National Popcorn Day. We now add delicious caramel popcorn to the calendar, one of America’s favorite snacks. For many people, this chewy caramel popcorn treat is an all-time favorite.
Combining popcorn and molasses began in the early 1800’s. Caramel was common as well, and with the production of Cracker Jack, the popularity was ever increasing.
- Popcorn is made by boiling the water inside the corn kernel. As the liquid water becomes gaseous, it occupies much more volume and therefore causes incredible pressure in the kernel that causes it to explode into being inside-out.
- Unpopped popcorn kernels are called “old maids.”
- Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually, or 54 quarts per man, woman and child. This amount would fill the Empire State Building 18 times
- United States citizens consume more popcorn than any other country.
- Caramel popcorn or “caramel corn” used to be directly associated with Halloween for trick or treaters.
- Popcorn is scientifically known as Zea mays everta.
- The Wyandot Popcorn Museum (Marion, OH) is the largest collection of restored popcorn antiques.
- 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.
- Popping popcorn is one of the number one uses for microwave ovens. Most microwave ovens have a “popcorn” control button.
- “Popability” is popcorn lingo that refers to the percentage of kernels that pop.
- 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.
- The world’s largest popcorn ball was created by volunteers in Sac City, Iowa. Built in 2016, weighing 9,370 pounds and standing taller than eight feet.
- Popcorn is the official snack of Illinois. Since 1958, there has been an annual “Popcorn Day.
- Popcorn kernels can pop up to 3 feet in the air.
- When explorer Felix de Azara visited Paraguay in the 18th century, he noted that the people would place kernels on a tassel and then when it was boiled in fat or oil, the grains would burst. Women would adorn their hair at night with the popcorn
- An American electronics expert, Perry Spencer, invented microwave popcorn. When he paused in front of a power tube called a magnetron in 1945, he felt a “weird” feeling and noticed that the tube had melted a chocolate candy bar he had in his pocket. He decided to see if it would pop popcorn, which it did.
- American businessman Charles Cretors invented large-scale commercial popcorn machines in 1893. His was the first automated machine that could pop popcorn in its own seasonings uniformly.
- Orville Redenbacher is the #1 best-selling popcorn in the world. Its inventor, Orville, began to grow popping corn in 1919, when he was just 12 years old.
- Bizarre popcorn flavors include Beer-flavored Pub-Corn, Yo-Pop’s Butterfinger Crunch Popcorn, KukuRuZa’s Buffalo Blue Cheese Popcorn, Popcorn Palace’s Jalapeno popcorn, Jolly Time’s Mallow Magic Yummy Marshmallow Flavor Microwave Popcorn, Popcorn Pavilion’s Brown Butter & Sea Salt Popcorn, Kernel Encore’s Pumpkin popcorn, Popcornopolis’ Cupcake popcorn, and 479˚ Popcorn’s Black Truffle and White Cheddar popcorn.
- In movie theaters, for every dollar spent on popcorn, about 90 cents is profit
- More than 200 million boxes of Cracker Jack caramel-coated popcorn are consumed every year in the U.S. alone
- In 1893 Frederick and Louis Rueckheim came up with the idea to cover popcorn with molasses to sell at the World Fair in Chicago. Unfortunately, the molasses proved to be a little too sticky for customers to enjoy. The brothers returned to their factory, tweaked the recipe and came up with a drier, crispier recipe. Caramel popcorn was officially born.
- The word caramel was first recorded in the English language in 1725. Its roots are from the French and Spanish word “caramelo.”