Gourmet popcorn has been around for thousands of years – it is believed Native Americans discovered how to pop plain corn by tossing it into the fire and watching it pop. Voila: popping corn was born. It is believed fossilized popcorn cobs were discovered in 4,500 BC in Peru and New Mexico around this same time period.
When American colonists arrived on the shores of America Native Americans showed the how to make popcorn and it was considered a popular mainstay during meals and some had breakfast with popcorn covered in milk.
By the early 1800’s popcorn shifted into the mainstream of America: farmers starting planting corn in large quantities as consumers began to make popcorn at home.
And, popcorn became even more popular as local fairs, carnivals and circuses began to sell popcorn to pump up profits. Then, enterprising theater owners started selling it to their patrons and popcorn became a staple for consumers.
During the 1800s, up until the Great Depression, corn cultivation thrived because it was inexpensive to harvest and feed to families and nutritious. Today most of the popcorn grown in the U.S. originates in the “corn belt” Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois and Ohio. Nutritious? You be the judge, this depends on the types of flavoring you add to your popcorn.
Let’s Get Granular About Popcorn
Corn stalks can get up to eight feet in height, producing corn cobs with individual kernels encapsulated in husks. Like ever crop, corn has to be pollinated too – this occurs when strands from the cornhusk are intertwined with pollen feathers from the top of the plant. After the corn matures, it is harvested, then dried, cleaned and polished – it’s ready for popping!
- Popcorn has three distinct parts know as the endosperm, percardia and the germ. And, popcorn is produced when heat is applied to the pericardia, this can be yellow, red, black, purple or even white.
- When heat is applied to a kernel of corn steam is created and moisture inside of the endosperm expands dramatically, which ruptures the exterior of the pericardia, producing a kernel of popcorn. And, if the proper amount of moisture is not present (10-15%) then the corn won’t pop.
Popcorn is a great source of fiber and aids in digestion; it’s a healthy snack too. It’s low in calories, has little fat, has a lot of antioxidants and complex carbohydrates. But, unfortunately, when you gourmet popcorn geeks add salt, oils or even more out of this world (hello Oprah) ingredients the natural value of popcorn begins to change.
Gourmet Popcorn Comes in Just About any Flavor Imaginable
Gourmet popcorn is made by adding ingredients and flavors which can be all over the map, from caramel, cheese, chocolate, dill, cinnamon, sea salt or more exotic flavoring.
Small plug: we sell the best gourmet popcorn in the world, Palo Popcorn made by real “cheesheads” (we us this term affectionately) in Wisconsin, the best in the world. And, it’s healthy too, only made with natural ingredients and uses healthy coconut oil.