Interesting Popcorn Facts

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A popcorn maker.
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  • Popcorn’s scientific name is zea mays everta,Ā  which means ” corn turned inside out” and it is the only type of corn that will pop.
  • The unpopped kernels are called “old maids” or “spinsters”. Good popcorn should produce less than 2 percent of “old maids”.
  • Popcorn kernels will start popping at the temperature of 347 degrees and can pop up to 3 feet in the air.
  • Some Native American tribes believed that a spirit lived inside each kernel of popcorn. The spirits wouldn’t usually bother humans, but if their home was heated, they would jump around, getting angrier and angrier, until eventually they would burst out with a pop.
  • The real reason why popcorn pops… Popcorn kernels contain water. Inside the kernel is a soft patch of starch with around 14% moisture. The moisture is contained by the hard outer shell of the kernels. This allows pressure to build inside the kernel until an explosive “pop” results
  • The Indians of North and South America popped corn 2,000 years ago. Popcorn was popped by throwing it on sizzling hot stones tended over a raging campfire. Naturally, as it popped it shot off in various directions. The game was to catch the popcorn and the reward was snacking on it.
  • Some Indian tribes discovered the delicacy of popping oiled popcorn while it was still on the cob. Somehow the corn stayed attached to the cob and it was eaten in the same manner as corn on the cob. This is the ancestor of buttered popcorn.
  • It is said that they flavored popcorn with dried herbs and spices, possibly even chili. They also made popcorn into soup and beer and made popcorn headdresses and corsages.
  • The colonists loved popcorn so much they served it with sugar and cream for breakfast. This was the very first puffed breakfast cereal.
  • Mr. Perry Spencer is credited with discovering microwave popcorn in 1945. He discovered that when popcorn was placed near a microwave it would pop. This led the way to the development of the microwave oven.
  • January 19 is National Popcorn Day!
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