Today is: National Popcorn Day

Simon Howden

Corny Facts  

  • Americans consume approximately 16 billion quarts of this whole grain, good-for-you treat. That’s 51 quarts per man, woman, and child.
  • Popcorn is listed as a sugar free snack by the American Dental Association.  It is low in calories along with apples, cheese, pears, nuts and plain yogurt.
  • Popcorn is a type of maize (or corn), a member of the grass family and is a whole grain.
  • Most U.S. popcorn is grown in the Midwest, primarily in Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri.
  • Many people believe the acres of corn they see in the Midwest during growing season could be picked and eaten for dinner, or dried and popped. In fact, those acres are typically field corn, which is used largely for livestock feed, and differs from both sweet corn and popcorn.


  • The peak period for popcorn sales for home consumption is in the fall.
  • Most popcorn comes in two basic shapes when it’s popped: snowflake and mushroom. Snowflake is used in movie theaters and ballparks because it looks and pops bigger. Mushroom is used for candy confections because it doesn’t crumble.
  • How high can popcorn kernels pop? Up to 3 feet in the air.
  • The English colonists ate popcorn at the first Thanksgiving feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was brought as a gift by the chief’s brother. The colonists ate the popcorn with milk and sugar. This is the first known breakfast cereal.
  • Kettle corn was first introduced in the early 1700’s. The Settlers would pop the popcorn in large cast iron kettles. They would use rendered lard and whatever sweetener they had on hand. Many times it was molasses, honey or sugar cane.
  • Microwave popcorn was first discovered in 1945. Perry Spencer discovered that popcorn would pop when placed near a microwave. Mr. Spencer led the way to development of the microwave oven.
  • Popping popcorn is one of the number one uses for microwave ovens. Most microwave ovens have a “popcorn” control button.
  • Popcorn is enjoyed in many different flavors in other parts of the world. Germany, Luxemburg, Switzerland and Belgium like their popcorn sweet. Americans love their popcorn with salt and butter and a slew of sweet coatings. The Japanese eat their popcorn with seaweed or shrimp flavorings.


Sources: 19 January 2012.

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