Popcorn: Everything You Need To Know
Have you ever tried Chicago-style popcorn before? Oh my! My mouth waters just thinking about it. It’s the fluffiest of popcorn that’s perfectly mixed with cheddar cheese and caramel corn toppings, providing your taste buds with just the right balance of sweet and salty goodness. Popcorn: everything you need to know.
There are hundreds of different ways you can add flavor and enjoy your popcorn. Some people simply enjoy sprinkling salt or parmesan and a bit of butter on it or just eating it plain as a healthy alternative.
Popcorn: Everything You Need To Know
Raise your hand if you are guilty of eating popcorn in front of the TV, I know I am! Sometimes with butter and sometimes only with salt!
Dieters often resort to popcorn as their salty snack instead of picking up a bag of their favorite potato chips. That’s because it’s a lighter snack option without all the unwanted fats and fewer carbs.
Popcorn also contains certain minerals and nutrients that provide an extra bonus while enjoying it. Here’s more on popcorn and everything you need to know.
Popcorn kernels contain small amounts of moisture. When the kernels are heated, the water in them turns to steam and causes them to pop.
The shells on popcorn are not water permeable which causes them to explode, and because of this popcorn is set apart from most other grains.
Every year Americans eat around 17 billion quarts of popcorn. To put that into perspective, that’s enough popcorn to fill the Empire State Building 18 times.
Did you know that popcorn kernels can pop up to 3 feet in height?
If you compare them by volume, popcorn is hands down America’s number one favorite snack food.
Popcorn comes from corn (maize) and is scientifically known as Zea mays everta. It is a part of the grass family and is considered to be a whole grain food. It’s a natural and good snack, with little fat and few calories. Popcorn comes with no artificial additives or preservatives and also happens to be sugar-free.
Popcorn has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years, dating clear back to ancient times. There have been remnants of ears of popcorn that have been found in a “Bat Cave” in Mexico that carbon dates back to around 3,400 B.C.
Popcorn became extremely popular during the 1800s when it found its way into fairs, carnivals, as well as vendors on street corners, but for some reason, theaters stayed far away from it.
Types of Popcorn
There are two different types of popcorn; butterfly and mushroom. There’s no telling what shape butterfly popcorn will pop, while the mushroom-shaped popcorn is larger and more ball-shaped.
They are distinctly different in their shape, but there are other differences as well. Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular varieties available.
Yellow popcorn is most likely the kind that you find at your local grocery store. It comes large and yellow in color and is a variety that you will find at the theater.
As you would guess, white popcorn comes white in color, yet is slightly more tender than yellow popcorn.
Mushroom popcorn is fluffy in texture and is typically larger in size. They come ball-shaped, similar to that of a mushroom, and taste great with caramel or chocolate drizzle coated on top.
You’ll notice that the ladyfinger popcorn is rather small in size, but don’t allow that to deter you. Ladyfinger popcorn may be dainty but it’s the perfect option to use for topping baked goods and even soup.
Red popcorn pops white and has more of a crunchy texture and bland flavor. It comes smaller in size compared to the yellow and white varieties.
Blue popcorn is pretty similar to red. It comes smaller in size with a lot more crunch to it.
Purple popcorn comes crammed with the most flavor compared to all the other colored varieties. When it’s popped, it has a yellow color with little purple spots on them.
Popcorn is considered to be a healthy snack when consumed in moderation and before all the delicious toppings are added. They have around 19 grams of carbs and 15 grams of net carbs for a single three-cup serving.
Most of the fats that can be found in popcorn are the healthier ones, instead of harmful saturated fats.
Microwave & Air Popped
- There is a huge difference between microwave popcorn and air-popped popcorn.
- People often make the mistake of thinking that microwave popcorn is just as good for you as the other, but that isn’t the case.
- Pre-packaged Microwave popcorn sometimes contains hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils that have trans fats that are bad for you. Be sure and read the ingredients.
- This may surprise you but popcorn contains more nutrients and minerals than you might have originally thought.
- They have small traces of vitamin B, iron, potassium and copper, and come more heavily packed with minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.
- Popcorn also contains fiber, that plays a role in the health benefits we’ll get to in a bit.
Helps with Weight Loss
Air-popped popcorn is a good diet snack that fills you up quicker and takes you longer to eat. This works as a benefit to you. Studies have shown that popcorn is more satisfying than potato chips, where just 15 calories of popcorn were equally as filling as 150 calories of potato chips. That’s great news for dieters out there!
Promotes Eye Health
The popcorn hull contains lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, which work together to provide you with an extra boost for the health of your eyes.
Popcorn has fibers in it that help with regularity. It also provides gentle relief from constipation and helps reduce the risk of hemorrhoids and gut infection. So not only does it provide you with a healthy balanced diet, but also good digestion as well.
Prevents against Certain Diseases
Popcorn is a good source of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that have certain health benefits. They can improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure by reducing vascular inflammation.
Because of this, it can prevent cardiovascular disease as well as reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Some of these natural polyphenols in popcorn, which include flavonoids, lignans, stilbenes, and phenolic acids, are also able to prevent different types of cancer. Breast and prostate cancer are just to name a couple.
What is the shelf-life of Popcorn?
It would depend on if you have bags, microwave, or #10 cans. I don’t have any #10 cans right now to check that. Honeyville Grain sells it. It’s out of stock right now. For the boxed stuff I would use the recommended expiration date on the boxes. I have some in mason jars, (no oxygen absorbers) and I try to keep it no longer than 2-3 years. The #10 cans if commercially sealed should last for 20 years. I wish I had a #10 can to confirm that. It all depends on the packaging and the temperature where you store it.
Whenever you sit down to watch a movie as a family, popcorn is probably the first snack that comes to mind. It’s certainly enjoyed with butter, salt, and other yummy condiments on top, but can also be enjoyed plain as well.
It’s a healthy snack that should be eaten in moderation but has a number of health benefits that only make it that much easier to enjoy. How’s that for popcorn: everything you need to know? May God bless this world, Linda
The Best Caramel Popcorn Recipe
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21 thoughts on “Popcorn: Everything You Need To Know”
Hi, Linda! How are you and Mark doing?
I’ve never heard of some of those types of popcorn. If Amazon ever starts shipping in decent time again, I’ll have to see if I can find some of them. Maybe I’ll check Walmart online. They are shipping normally, but are out of stock on a lot of items.
I just wanted to clarify microwave popcorn isn’t bad for you and doesn’t have to contain anything except popcorn. You are talking about prepackaged microwave popcorn. I make popcorn in my microwave popper all of the time. Nothing goes in the popper except popcorn, than I add whatever I want after it’s popped. Microwave popcorn poppers are cheap and come in a wide variety of sizes.
I hope you and Mark are doing well. Love and hugs to you. Mare
Hi Mare, thank you, I just changed it to SOME pre-packaged Microwave popcorn. Thanks for catching that. Mark and I are doing well, under the circumstances. I hope you are doing well!! I’ve been doing the Walmart pickup and like you, they are out of several items. The Amazon shipping is so slow. They do ship pretty fast on dog food. I got a new puppy Izzy, a female ShihTzu so now I have two dog s to watch and play with. Life is good. Stay well, stay safe! Love and Hugs, Linda
How long will it keep – ? Can you store it? How can you store it?
Hi Karen, that would depend on if you have bags, microwave or #10 cans. I don’t have any #10 cans right now to check that. Honeyville Grain sells it. It’s out of stock right now. The boxed stuff I would use the recommended expiration date on the boxes. I have some in mason jars, (no oxygen absorbers) and I try to keep it no longer than 2-3 years. The #10 cans if commercially sealed should last for 20 years. I wish I had a #10 can to confirm that. It all depends on the packaging and the temperature where you store it. Linda
Hi Linda. I really appreciate this article. Another interesting fact is that popcorn is the only form of corn in the U.S. that is NOT genetically modified! It simply won’t pop consistently. So what you get in popcorn is true, unadulterated corn. And if you use cornmeal, there is no cornmeal that is better in taste, texture and nutrition than what you grind at home using whole popcorn kernels.
Hi Patricia, I did not know that about it not being GMO!! This is awesome news!! I LOVE it! Linda
Popcorn! Oh! now I have to go make some…even tho it’s 10am :o) I LOVE popcorn and will eat it for lunch or dinner. I have it many different ways. I prefer Orvill Redenbacher’s Microwave Tender White popcorn… Movie Butter is a close second. I order all different kinds from Lehman’s especially the Amish hull-less popcorn. I have a real problem with hulls getting stuck in my crowns. I bought an aluminum stovetop popper from Lehman’s and I’ve never looked back. I can’t find the name of it but it has a wooden handle and crank on it to stir the popcorn while it’s popping so it doesn’t burn. Naturally, no popcorn is good without lots of melted butter on it! I had a friend who would pop popcorn on the stove in an old blackened pot…with bacon grease! It sounds horrible but it was literally the best popcorn I’ve ever had! When she died, she left me her popcorn pan but it just isn’t the same without her.
As far as microwave popcorn goes, I’ve had several boxes in my food storage but if they aren’t used quickly, they seem to go stale and won’t pop as well. I keep a few boxes in my kitchen pantry but have given up on storing it. Regular popcorn is still kept in our food storage but it’s in airtight containers. I haven’t ever found any in #10 cans; I’ll have to look in to that.
Hope you’re doing well with the quarantine! We’re snug and comfortable, well prepared so this could go on and we’d be ok. It definitely pays to be prepared.
Hi Robbie, oh my gosh I bought the same popcorn popper from Lehman’s, it has a wooden handle and you cook it on the stove!! YES! It’s the best! I need to try bacon grease! I know that Honeyville Grain used to sell #10 cans of popcorn in a case of six cans. They have zero popcorn right now. I love lots of melted butter on it too! Gotta love food storage! Stay well, stay safe. Glad we are prepared! Linda
Okay, interesting article. I was not deterred by any of the descriptions except for the bland tasting Red popcorn. But maybe with some butter or seasoning it’s enjoyable.
As far as the nutrition aspects, popcorn has been applauded as perfect for those wanting to be able to snack and loose weight or eat something better than candy or too much ice cream or cake, etc. It’s good you explored it’s value and qualities as a snack food. It’s good to educate those who were unaware and good to remind us about it.
And even with good quality, natural butter it’s healthy because of the lack of chemicals and it’s filling. I feel as if it’s been chemical additives that have created medical problems…. not the food itself. I’m sure you remember when “they” were telling us that margarine was better than butter and now we’re being told to eat real butter or consume olive oil.
I read an article written over 10 – 15 years ago, maybe longer, about a man who needed to loose weight and he made popcorn his snack of choice. And for a diabetic, you always have to watch out for carbs and fats and sugar, but you still have to eat something to sustain your body. Being fat and sugar free (except for any added butter or ingredients) it’s perfect. Carbs are acceptable and we can burn those off with simple exercise.
Hi Frank, thank you for your kind words. I LOVE popcorn that’s for sure. When I got up this morning I decided because I’ve been eating snacks, way too many I need to walk. Just walk for exercise. Of course, I will stay clear if I see anyone outside. I didn’t realize what a “grazer” I am. I get up and go get some M & M’s, then some carrots, it seems like I never stopping snacking. Then popcorn, then toast. I need to get outside and walk. Stay well, stay safe, Linda
I LOVE popcorn! On a lazy evening, I can be seen eating it for dinner. This summer, I’m going to try growing some from some seeds I got from Baker’s Heirloom seeds. It’s purple corn. I have no idea what I’ll need to do to preserve some of the ears, and if I need to do something to it before I try to pop it, but it seemed like something fun to grow.
Hi Laura, oh I would love to hear from you how it grows, I have never grown it! This would be awesome to learn! Keep us posted! Linda
Popcorn is and always has been my snack of choice!! But, when you say “in moderation” well, what is that?? I have no control!! LOL!
I pop my corn in the microwave. A few years ago I purchased a silicon microwave popper from Pampered Chef and absolutely LOVE it.
I have made it with just butter and salt (my preferred), with cheese powder and with parmesan cheese. I also make caramel corn occasionally.
Hi Leanne, moderation, lol! Right now I’m not eating anything in moderation! Good grief, I’m eating when I’m not even hungry!! LOL! I need to look for your Pampered Chef microwave popper! I love that brand! Stay well!! Linda
Hi Linda, Love your article on Popcorn. I’ve been a popcorn lover since a teenager. When our children were little, but old enough to eat popcorn, we used a mirro aluminum pan with fitted lid to make our popcorn. I remember shaking that pan and filling it with popped corn. After about 20 years of shaking over a flame, we wore a hole in the bottom of the pan and had to pitch it. It was a very SAD day!
Naturally, all of our kids now love popcorn too and have it on a regular basis.
My hubby and I will sometimes have huge bowls of popcorn for dinner instead of cooking a meal. I know that sounds lazy, but it sure is good. I no longer have a gas range. So I bought an electric popper and it works great. In fact I’m on my second one. The first one got too hot and actually melted one of the handles off of the bowl that hold the popped corn.
Take care and stay safe.
Hi Suzanne, I may have to have popcorn for dinner tonight! Buttered, of course!! I remember shaking a large pan over the stove and waiting for that first pop! I love hearing your story about the pan! Stay well, Linda
Another popcorn lover here! Ever tried it instead of crackers in tomato soup? I love to do that!
Also–it’s no more bother to raise popcorn than sweet corn. (Just don’t put the two close together in the garden, or you’ll get some peculiar cross-pollinated corn!) I used to have my school classes raise popcorn plants–we’d use clear plastic glasses lined with paper towel and then filled with soil–popcorn seeds (out of a bag of grocery store popcorn) poked down between the paper and the plastic, so we could watch them sprout. The kids took them home, and many planted them in the ground–nearly every fall I’d have one or two of last year’s students proudly bring an ear or two of popcorn to show!
Or, check the local farmers’ market or local farm store. The one where we get our beef and pork always has some popcorn on the ear!
where can you buy MUSHROOM pop corn???
Hi Marlyn, mushroom popcorn is actually my favorite popcorn. Here is a link on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2wR247X Have fun popping!! Linda
I put up 5lbs in Mylar for each family unit in the group this morning.
Hi Matt, that is awesome!! People can always eat popcorn! With or without butter! Of course, butter on it is best! LOL! Good idea! Linda