A Stone Age Snack and the modern day’s most profitable one
Popcorn – the most underrated, but overly consumed snack.
Have you ever wondered? What must’ve been the most commonly eaten universal snack around the world, despite of having such different taste buds and cravings from east to west? Well, as we hinted, you guessed it right, its Popcorn.
History – Let’s have a quick glimpse on the explosive history of Popcorn.
Did you know? the first corn was naturalized in Mexico 9,000 years ago and the oldest specimen of Popcorn was found in Bat Cave in New Mexico and is about 5,600 years old. For years it’s been speculated that Popcorn was introduced to the pre – Columbian North America by the Iroquois, with the process being observed by European settlers on the eastern part of continent. Popcorn is the official snack of Illinois. Since 1958, there has been an annual ‘ “Popcorn Day”. 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.
Facts – Some fun, weird and interesting facts about Popcorn.
1)Popcorn kernels can pop up to 3 feet in the air.
2)The world’s largest Popcorn weighed 5,000 pounds with 12 feet in diameter.
3)The scientific name for Popcorn is Zea Mays Everta.
4)Americans eat 17 billion quarts of Popcorn every year, this amount would fill the Empire State building 18 times.
5)Popped Popcorn comes in two shapes “snowflake” or “mushroom.” Because “snowflake” shaped popcorn is bigger, movie theaters typically sell that shape.
6)In ancient times, people would make Popcorn by heating sand in a fire and then stirring kernels of popcorn in the hot sand.
7)American Indians used to believe that spirits peacefully lived inside each popcorn kernel. When the kernels were heated, the spirits would get so angry that their “houses” would start to shake. When it got too hot, the spirits broke out of their houses in a very angry burst of steam.
9)Grains of Popcorn around 1,000 years old have been found in tombs in Peru. The kernels are so well preserved that they can still be popped.
10)The ideal popping temperature for Popcorn is 400-460° Fahrenheit. A kernel will pop, on average, when it reaches 347° Fahrenheit.
Health Benefits and Nutritional Values
1)Popcorn has more protein than any other cereal grain. It also has more iron than eggs or roast beef. It has more fiber than pretzels or potato chips.
2)There are six major maize types: pod corn, sweet corn, flour corn, dent corn, flint corn, and popcorn. Popcorn kernels come in three shapes: rice, pearl, and South American. Most commercial popcorn is the pearl type.
3)Popped corn contains large amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
4) Among other health benefits, popped corn helps build bones and muscle tissues and assists in digestion. It is also rich in antioxidants (polyphenols). Most of the nutrients are found in the “hull” or shell rather than the fluffy, white part. However, popcorn that has too much butter, oil, or salt compromises its health benefits.
1)Popcorn is GMO.
2)Popcorn contains gluten.
3)Microwave Popcorn contains diacetyl.
4)Popcorn is junk food.
5)Popcorn is high in fat and calories.
6)Microwave Popcorn contains PFOAs.
7)You can use a brown paper bag to microwave Popcorn.
Business and Economy
1)In movie theaters, for every dollar spent on Popcorn, about 90 cents is profit.
2)Popcorn has been sold in theaters since 1912. It has been a big money maker not only because popcorn is overpriced, but also because people usually get thirsty and, consequently, buy sodas or water as well.
3)While other businesses failed during the Great Depression, the Popcorn business thrived. Popcorn sold.at around 5 to 10 cents a bag, making it one of the more affordable (and possibly life-saving) treats for poor families.
4)Unpopped Popcorn makes up about 90% of sales for home consumption.
5)Approximately 70% of Popcorn sold in America is eaten in the home. The other 30% is eaten in theaters, stadiums, school, etc.
6)When televisions became popular in the early 1950s, Popcorn sales decreased because people stayed home to watch movies rather than go to a theater. However, when popcorn was more readily available at home, popcorn again became popular.
So, next time you start munching Popcorn, remember it’s got quite a long history behind. From Caves to Multiplexes, Popcorn has made an impressive journey.
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Note:Images are taken from various sources.