National Popcorn Day is celebrated in January, although its exact date is a matter of debate. Various sources report it as January 19; others claim it takes place on whatever day the “big game” falls on.
Everybody loves popcorn — the granddaddy of all snack foods. Discovered in the Americas thousands of years ago, it has captivated people for centuries with its mythical, magical charm. Yet through the ages, it has remained relatively unchanged. Popcorn is a seed, which just happens to do some nifty things when heated.
Popcorn’s popularity comes from the fact that it tastes great, but also because it is connected to good times and the people we love. We eat it while playing games, cheering our favorite teams, at local fairs, during seaside vacations, wandering cities and, of course, at the movies.
Popcorn and movies go hand-in-hand. Why? With the advent of the “talking picture,” movie theaters began popping up across the U.S. in the late 1920s. They were wildly popular and theaters began selling popcorn to increase profit. Shortly after, during the Great Depression, a 5 or 10 cent bag of popcorn was one of the few luxuries down-and-out families could afford. With the economic hardship of the time and the need for escape and food, families would flock to the movies to feed the body and soul. That deep connection became embedded in our culture and continues today.
Check out some awesome recipes below!
Apple Popcorn Brittle
• 1 quart popped popcorn
• 2 cups apple and cinnamon flavored cereal
• 1 cup cocktail peanuts
• 3/4 cup apple juice
• 1 cup of sugar
• 1/4 light corn syrup
• 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In a bowl, toss together popped popcorn, cereal, and peanuts. Set aside. Butter sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan.
2. In a saucepan, combine apple juice, sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, and salt.
3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.
4. Cook to the hardball stage (250 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer).
5. Remove from heat. Pour syrup over popcorn-cereal-peanut mixture; toss to coat.
6. Spread in a buttered 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1-inch baking pan. Cool until hardened.
7. Break into pieces.
BBQ Popcorn Seasoning Mix
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
• 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Store mixture in an airtight container.
(makes 10 cups)
• 2 tablespoons garlic-flavored or vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
• 1 tablespoon melted butter, optional
• 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (found at health food stores, adds a cheese-like flavor without the calories or fat)
• 1 teaspoon curry powder, optional
1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (with a lid), place oil and about 3 popcorn kernels.
2. Heat over medium-high heat until a kernel pops. Add remaining popcorn; cover.
3. Once corn begins to pop, shake pot constantly over a heat source.
4. When popping slows, remove the pot from heat and transfer popcorn to a serving bowl.
5. Pour butter over popcorn, if desired, and toss.
6. Sprinkle yeast and curry powder, if desired, over popcorn and toss to distribute evenly.
7. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container.
Backyard Popcorn Crunch
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 3 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
1. Cream together butter and brown sugar till light and fluffy.
2. In a separate bowl, toss popcorn and walnuts.
3. Add creamed mixture to popcorn and nuts. Combine until coated.
4. Spread on a large baking sheet in a single layer.
5. Bake at 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or until crisp.