Let's Get Poppin'! It's National Popcorn Day!

2016

Image Source: HGTV

Happy National Popcorn Day! It’s time to celebrate this light bar snack that delivers a satisfying crunch and lends itself to endless flavor combinations. As long as you have a way to pop kernels (without burning them!), you have a canvas for endless experimentation.

Corn took a long road to get to our bars, restaurants, movie theaters and homes as the iconic snack it has become: It was domesticated from a wild grass in Mexico about 9,000 years ago. Now, specific strains of corn are planted just to create popcorn. It took several thousand years but eventually, popcorn became a business in and of itself in America. You can actually thank The Great Depression for this: popcorn was a cheap snack and thus became an income source for farmers who would have otherwise struggled.

You know one of these successful farming families, as they’ve become a household name: Redenbacher.

During World War II, America had to endure sugar rationing, which severely crippled candy production. A nation that loves its snacks, America made up for the lack of candy by tripling its popcorn production. Today, 6 Midwest locales have named themselves the Popcorn Capital of the World: Ridgway in Illinois, Valparaiso and also Van Buren in Indiana, Schaller in Iowa, Marion in Ohio, and North Loup, Nebraska. Popcorn is the official state snack of Illinois.

Here are 3 popcorn recipes that we love, and that we think you and your own guests will love, too. Some recipes call for popped corn rather than the microwave kind. If you don’t know how to pop corn yourself, here’s an easy method:

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil (grapeseed, canola or vegetable) in a medium heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. You may be tempted to use olive oil but it will be likely burn. Add a few popcorn kernels and let the oil heat up. When one kernel pops, add 1/3 cup of uncooked popcorn kernels and cover the pan. Shake the pan a little to spread the kernels evenly. Let the kernels pop for several minutes until the pan is full and the popping slows down. Remove from heat and transfer popcorn to a large bowl.

Maple-Nut Popcorn is sweet, salty and spicy snack.

This recipe for Bacon Caramel Popcorn calls for the use of (at least) 7 pieces of delicious bacon.

Sriracha Sesame Ginger Popcorn delivers a punch of heat and spice with Sriracha sauce, ginger and garlic.