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January 18, 2019
By Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

Let's celebrate Popcorn Day this weekend!

The Popcorn Board says National Popcorn Day is celebrated the end of January, although its exact date is a matter of debate. Some sources say?January 19, while others celebrate the day of the "big game." Some of us celebrate popcorn every time we go to see a movie at the Riviera Theatre.

Did you know - Jolly Time brand pop corn, the American Pop Corn Company, was born in Sioux City in 1914? They have been in operation for over 100 years.

Here's a bit of the story from the Jolly Time website: Cloid H. Smith had an entrepreneurial spirit that couldn't be tamed. He drilled oil in Texas, operated the town drug store, dabbled in veterinary medicine, created Corn Huskers Hand Lotion, and founded a telephone company.

Cloid had farming in his blood. His father was a farmer and operated a seed store in town, where C.H. met popcorn. He used the money from his many business ventures to buy farmland in Sac County, Iowa, where he grew popcorn. When buyers offered him less than he wanted, C.H.?cut out the middleman. The company moved from basement to garage, settling at One Fun Place in Sioux City.

Iowa has made its mark in the popcorn industry.

The Popcorn Board website says most U.S. popcorn is grown in the Midwest, primarily in Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. That puts us right in the thick of the "popcorn belt."

Popcorn is a type of maize (or corn), a member of the grass family, and is scientifically known as Zea mays everta. Popcorn is a whole grain. It is made up of three components: the germ, endosperm, and pericarp (also know as the hull).

The peak period for popcorn sales for home consumption is in the fall. Americans consume 13 billion quarts of popcorn. - that's 42 quarts for each man, woman and child. Compared to most snack foods, popcorn is low in calories. Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup. Oil-popped is only 35 per cup. (Popcorn needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop.)

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.

We have also learned that popcorn has been around for centuries. In fact, early Native Americans believed a spirit lived inside each kernel of popcorn. When heated, the spirit grew angry, burst out of its home, and fled ito the air as a disgruntled puff of steam.

As much as we love to eat popcorn, there are a variety of popcorn "activities." When is the last time you made a popcorn string??Maybe over the holidays to drape on an old fashioned Christmas tree, or put outside for the birds to eat? How about Popcorn Relay Race, or Popcorn Basketball (flicking a kernel of corn into the basket)?

Let's celebrate National Popcorn Day this Saturday. It's always a good treat!



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