Popcorn is a popular tasty treat. It is a favorite snack at movie theatres across America and is even the official snack food of the State of Illinois. First becoming available to the public at movie theatres during the great depression this flavorful snack is now found just about everywhere. It is sold at sporting events, theatres, fairs, circuses and the grocery store. With the invention of the microwave it has become something to enjoy anytime. Many families have movie nights at home and having popcorn during this time is an absolute must. The average American eats 54 quarts of popcorn each year with the United States consuming 17 billion quarts annually. Majority of the world's supply comes from the states of Nebraska and Indiana.
The oldest popcorn ever discovered was found in a cave in Mexico and is believed to be nearly 5,600 years old. Settlers from England learned of this treat from the Indians and its popularity has continued to spread. This special grain is able to pop due to the oil and moisture it contains. It is heated to an internal temperature of 180 degrees which brings the moisture inside beyond the boiling point. This turns it into a heavily pressurized steam. Pressure continues to build until the kernel can no longer hold it in. The pressure drops while the steam expands, causing the kernel to pop.
This light and airy snack is usually served salted or sweetened. One of the most popular ways to sweeten it is by adding caramel. Another favorite is cheddar cheese flavoring, and along with caramel and butter is commonly placed together in a tin for gifting. Giving a popcorn tin as a holiday or just because gift is practical because when kept air-tight the quality and flavor will last for a long time.
Although it is consumed year round it has found other uses during the holidays. Combined with marshmallows and rolled into balls popcorn balls are a popular treat to make for friends or neighbors. A popular pastime is to string it together to make garlands. Microwaving it is the quickest, easiest way to make it but a popcorn machine can be purchased to use at home as well. They come in a variety of sizes and some are even designed to look like the old-fashioned machines seen at the fair. While taking in a movie at the theatre or watching one with loved ones at home, popcorn is the ideal snack to munch on.