IS POPCORN NUTRITIOUS?
Absolutely! Popcorn is a good source of carbohydrate energy and fiber. For individuals of normal weight, carbohydrate is the best source of body fuel. Fiber is not used for energy but is an important health factor which is insufficient in most American diets. There are two kinds of fiber – soluble plays a role in regulating hunger, cholesterol and blood sugar, and insoluble is important in gastrointestinal health. Plain popcorn has no artificial color or flavor additives and is surprisingly low in calories. Many medical groups feel popcorn has a nutritive value. Popcorn is a wholesome, fun food which aids digestion by providing necessary roughage. Health and medical associations regard popcorn as an excellent mealtime complement – sugar-free, low in fat or even fat free and low in calories.
WHEN WAS POPCORN DISCOVERED?
The English colonists were introduced to popcorn at the first Thanksgiving feast at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Quadequina, brother of the Iroquois chief, Massasoit, brought a deerskin bag of popped popcorn to dinner as a gift. As one of the oldest American foods, popcorn has played a significant role in our history. The Indians used it as a staple in their diet and in decorations. Headdresses, necklaces and corsages all included popcorn. By the time the colonists arrived in the new world, Indians were growing over 700 varieties of popcorn.
WHAT MAKES A POPCORN SEED POP?
The answer is water. A popcorn kernel is made of carbohydrate, protein, fat and water. The water is combined with the starch and as the kernel is heated to 450 degrees, the water turns to steam. Pressure builds inside the kernel until the seed coat (hull) can no longer contain the steam. A natural explosion occurs as the starch expands and the kernel turns inside out. Popcorn pops best when the moisture level in the kernel is 13.5%.
HOW TO POP POPCORN
On the Stove:
3 Tablespoons of your favorite popping oil - 4 oz Popcorn seeds - 1 Large Serving Bowl
Preheat oil on high heat in the bottom of popcorn popper for approximately 1 minute. Add popcorn to popper and cover. Lower heat slightly. Agitate popper until the popcorn ceases to pop. Pour popcorn into serving bow. Salt or add your favorite topping to taste.
In the Microwave:
Place 2/3 cup (4oz) of popcorn seed into the bottom of your microwave popper bowl. Add 3 tbsp of Oil (optional) Put the lid on the popper and place into your microwave. Cook on high for 3-5 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on microwave. When popping slows to 1 or 2 seconds between pops, cooking is complete. DO NOT OVER COOK OR POPCORN WILL BURN! Remove popper from microwave. Season popcorn to taste with salt or your favorite seasoning.