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Over 200 Million Boxes Of Cracker Jack Caramel-Coated Popcorn Are Consumed Every Year In The U.S. Alone. (Video)

Each year on April 6th, National Caramel Popcorn Day conjures up memories of fairs, sporting events, and fun snacking.

  • Combining popcorn and molasses began in the early 1800s. However, caramel was prevalent as well, and with the production of Cracker Jack, the popularity was ever-increasing.
  • Invented by Frederick Rueckheim, the popcorn merchant dabbled with creating a new snack. An immigrant from Germany to Chicago, he enlisted his brother, Louis, to help. After adding molasses and nuts, their snack was ready for an introduction to the masses.
  • Like many famous foods, Cracker Jack gained popularity on the stage of the 1893 World’s Fair.
  • After someone who sampled the product exclaimed “That’s a crackerjack!” (which at the time meant “of great quality”), the name stuck and in 1896 the brothers registered Cracker Jack ® and began mass producing the snack.
  • In 1908, something happened to connect Cracker Jack and baseball permanently in the American psyche, while also launching the business into high gear. A young entertainer by the name of Jack Norworth penned a catchy tune referencing Cracker Jack and the American pastime. The song “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” not only caused sales of the snack food to soar but the fans of the game continue to sing the song at every game.
  • Over 200 million boxes of Cracker Jack caramel-coated popcorn are consumed every year in the U.S. alone.
  • For most of its existence Cracker Jack was famous for including a prize inside every box — usually baseball cards, decoder rings, temporary tattoos, etc.  Nowadays, however, all Cracker Jack prizes are claimed digitally, because that’s where kids get their entertainment. [it’s an app]
  • 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.
  • Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually, or 54 quarts per man, woman and child.
  • 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, Ohio) is the largest collection of restored popcorn antiques.
  • 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.
  • The first caramels were hard candies dating back to the 17th century, made by American settlers who used sugar and water. Eventually, it was thought to add milkfat to change the consistency.
  • The word caramel was first recorded in the English language in 1725. Its roots are from the French and Spanish word “caramelo.”
  • An Average American eats almost 70 quarts of popcorn every year.  Americans eat around 17.3 billion quarts of popcorn every year. This amount would fill the Empire State Building 18 times.
  • Popcorn is the official snack of Illinois. Since 1958, there has been an annual “Popcorn Day.” [held in Sept. in Ridgeway, Il]
  • The world’s oldest known popper, a shallow vessel with a handle and hole on top was designed around A.D. 300. The first popcorn machine made its debut 1,500 years later at the 1893 World’s Fair (Columbian Exposition) in Chicago.
  • The oldest known popcorn was found in New Mexico; the discovery of small heads of corn and several individual popped kernels was made by Berbert Dick and Earle Smith in 1948. These kernels were carbon dated to be around 5,600 years old.
  • In the 1800s, Americans consumed popcorn as a breakfast cereal. This meal consisted of popcorn with milk and sweetener.


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