Your favorite treat to enjoy during a movie is over 5,000 years old! Need a hint? Here it goes, pop…pop…pop. Then the aroma of buttery goodness fills the theater that invites for a pure salty indulgence. When we encounter the fluffy billows of white Heaven, we are smitten, and people in the U.S. are addicted to it. May we present the one and only, popcorn, a treat that can be enjoyed in many ways. Popcorn can be paired with caramel, hot pepper, cheese, or even be dipped in chocolate. Dieters love popcorn as well, for a healthy snack, of course without some of the above. Many believe that popcorn is an American find, but this is not true.

Popcorn was found originally in the tombs by archaeologists in Peru. The kernels were so preserved that it could be used, not that they would want to! According to Fact Monster popcorn was found in a cave in Utah, where popcorn was so preserved it looked fresh and was still fluffy. Columbus observed the natives in the West Indies eating popcorn and wearing strands of it as part of their attire. He purchased a popcorn necklace, and brought it back to his land. Additionally, the Europeans were reportedly introduced to popcorn from the Native Americans during a meal. They would hold a dried ear of corn over an open flame with a stick. This was in 1621, and it was believed that Squanto taught the Pilgrims to harvest and pop the corn. However, the story is fiction, according to History.com, which explained that it came from a fictional story published 1889. So when did popcorn become to be so popular and where?

Settlers in New York and Vermont were likely the early makers of popcorn. By the 1800s it grew to be loved across the nation as people would enjoy it after popping it over a fire. Popcorn was able to grow when a man named Charles Cretors invented a popcorn machine and introduced it to the Chicago's Colombian Exposition in 1893. He created a steam powered machine that roasted chestnuts, peanuts, coffee, and of course--popcorn. Cretors filed a peddler license to be able to sell his product on the sidewalks, and created the first horse drawn wagon, and the invention became a commercial hit. No kidding, today Americans consume 17.3 billion of pounds of popcorn a year! “Most of the popcorn consumed throughout the world is grown in the United States. Although world-wide sales of popcorn are steadily increasing, Americans consume more popcorn than the citizens of any other country,” the Popcorn Board, a national non-profit organization, published. Yes, there is a Popcorn Board, and they also shared that it is one of the healthiest snack and economical foods available to people. There is much more to learn. Here are 10 facts you need to know about one the nations favorite snacks.

Top producer of popcorn.

A total of 250 million pounds of popcorn is produced by Nebraska. Indiana and Ohio are other states that produce popcorn.

A true love.

During World War II sugar was rationed and expensive to attain for the average person. People turned to popcorn to snack on instead sweets like cookies.

No summertime love.

The fall and winter seasons is a huge time for eating popcorn. During the summertime the sales dip, the Popcorn Board published.

How high can they jump?

Up to three feet in the air!

The great popcorn ball.

In 2013, Guinness World Records recorded that largest popcorn ball ever created in Indiana. The ball weighted 6,510 pounds.

Microwave popcorn.

Percy Spencer who worked for Raytheon Manufacturing Corporation, discovered how to use the punching press to raise the production levels. He was a leading expert in radar tube design, and eventually filed a patent for the microwave oven. The patent for the first microwave wave popcorn was in 1981 by General Mills.

It is healthy.

Popcorn is gluten free, has fiber, and is low in calories with 31 calories for one cup. It has lots of vitamins as well. Popcorn has vitamins B, A, E, and K, niacin, potassium and iron. Cook popcorn at home for a healthy snack, and avoid microwave varieties since many are loaded with preservatives.

More than a snack.

Popcorn is a good breakfast food and many people ate popcorn like we do cereal during the 19th Century!

A holiday tradition.

During the Victorian era people decorated mantels and doorways with popcorn balls. They also hung popcorn strings on the Christmas trees, like we see today.

Sales soared during the Great Depression.

The reason for the increase in popcorn sales during the Depression was the introduction of the snack to theaters. It was low in cost for the consumer and owners. By the 1920s owners started adding popcorn poppers in theaters

Finally, popcorn is so popular that there is a National Popcorn Day in January around the time of the Super Bowl! Before that, there is Popcorn Poppin' Month in October. This is a time when there is a celebration of America's oldest snack foods. Farmers, friends, family, and fans join in together to celebrate this amazing history of popcorn and it representation of having a great time. This month was chosen because of the harvest that takes place during the fall in the Midwest. Corn is king and is also the grain of the month as well, since it is the biggest grown crop in America.

No matter what month it is popcorn will always be a fun snack and cheap, too. Enjoy it plain, salty, with butter, or create your own versions of the snack for the family. It is good for a dieter and keeps those hunger pains away and it can manage your weight because of the fiber and low glycemic levels, as it will not spike blood sugar. Popcorn is just a great snack all around.

more from beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad