Popcorn Isn't Just Popcorn

| 11/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

Country MoonWho doesn’t love popcorn? Well, I know a couple folks. There just has to be something wrong with anyone who doesn’t like this light, fluffy salty treat for the taste buds.

For us connoisseurs of America’s favorite snack food by volume, we know that popcorn is a lot more complicated than just one snack. After all, you can add most any flavoring to it ranging from cheese, chocolate, spices and caramel to name a few. There are also many different varieties of popcorn to choose from, something that will suit everyone’s palette.


Popcorn 101

To help distinguish which kind is most suitable to your taste, there is a little popcorn 101 information that needs to be clarified. What few people know is that all corn is a human invention. It cannot exist naturally in the world. Instead, it must be planted and protected by humans. It is believed that popcorn was developed in central Mexico at least 7000 years ago from a grass called teosinte.

Many folks who are unfamiliar with traditional corn farming methods believe that popcorn can come from the large fields of corn that they see. Not so. There are actually three types of corn. Dent corn, so named for the dent that forms on top of the kernel as it dries, is commonly known as field corn. Sweet corn is higher in sugar than dent corn. There are over 300 varieties of sweet corn plants which are harvested in their immature stage and eaten as a sweet summer treat.

Then there’s popcorn. This is a special type of corn that has a dense, moisture-resistant shell or hull. This strong hull allows pressure to build up inside the kernel when heated until the whole kernel explodes (hopefully!). Even though other whole grains like amaranth and sorghum can also pop, popcorn is what we all know and love.

There are basically just two kinds of popcorn; butterfly and mushroom. The main difference between these two is the shape of the kernel. Butterfly, also called snowflake, is best known for theatre popcorn and homestyle popped popcorn products that are usually eaten with just salt and butter.

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