Comfort foods could be described as the right smooth tasting medicine at the right time. They just go down soooo good.
In terms of comfort foods, ice cream, home baked pies, donuts and coffee may immediately come to mind but please, please, please, let’s not forget the popcorn.
You see, eating popcorn has an added benefit.
So often those memories are made sitting next to family members, friends or someone that we love and care deeply about.
We never want to take popcorn for granted. That is why it comes in so many different mouthwatering flavors.
Caramel, strawberry, chocolate kettle corn, caramel apple, butter toffee pretzel, cheesy jalapeno and so many more.
Ah, very delicious. Very comforting.
Popcorn and its origins have quite a fascinating history.
Corn was first domesticated 9,000 years ago in what is now Mexico. Archaeologists discovered that people have known about popcorn for thousands of years. In Mexico, for example, remnants of popcorn have been found that date to around 3600 BC.
Wow, we learn something new every day.
Popping of the kernels was achieved by hand on the stovetop through the 19th century.
Kernels were sold on the East Coast of the United States under names such as Pearls or Nonpareil. The term popped corn first appeared in John Russell Bartlett’s 1848 Dictionary of Americanisms. Popcorn is an ingredient in Cracker Jack, and in the early years of the product, it was popped by hand.
At least six localities (all in the Midwestern United States) claim to be the “Popcorn Capital of the World;”: Ridgway, Illinois; Valparaiso, Indiana; Van Buren, Indiana; Schaller, Iowa; Marion, Ohio; and North Loup, Nebraska.
There are some manufacturers of flavored popcorn who no doubt may feel that they are the popcorn manufacturers of the world.
“Americans love popcorn, and their love doesn’t quit.”… Rosecrans Baldwin
Let’s meet three of them.
We know that you have heard of The Popcorn Factory. Of course you have.
At thepopcornfactory.com they share kernels of enlightenment. “For more than 35 years, The Popcorn Factory has been the “popcorn authority” with our impressive collection of crowd-pleasing gifts and great-tasting snacks. We start with the finest corn grown right here in the USA and transform each kernel into premium popcorn using 100% corn oil and infusions of the very tastiest flavors. The Popcorn Factory pops over 1 million pounds of popcorn per year, and all of our popcorn is Kosher OU-D.
Since 1979, we’ve been delighting customers with delicious, premium popcorn and impressive, all-occasion gift tins, baskets and towers. In all that time, we’ve remained committed to bringing you fresh product, unique ideas and above all, complete satisfaction.”
Now that was satisfying.
What makes Garrett Popcorn so special?
The leadership at garrettpopcorn.com would like to pop by and explain. “We hot air pop our signature blend of kernels, which we then mix into our secret family recipes. Every batch is handmade throughout the day, and the result is an irresistible snacking sensation, which has generated lines of historic proportions outside of our retail shops for decades.
Our highest priority is to satisfy our customers’ cravings for great popcorn. When local fans asked for a mixture of sweet and salty, we created the Garrett Mix®: a blend of our famous CaramelCrisp® and CheeseCorn recipes. It remains our most popular flavor and a consistent favorite throughout our entire fan base. Our year-round menu also includes Plain, Buttery, Cashew CaramelCrisp, Almond CaramelCrisp, Pecan CaramelCrisp and Macadamia CaramelCrisp. Keep an eye out for our seasonal flavors from time to time as well. You never know what will pop up!
Our great taste has gone global, but hometown values guide us. Although our popcorn has traveled to New York, Japan and Singapore, our many Chicago locations keep us firmly grounded at home. When you visit, you can find us in the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, next to popular theater and tourist attractions, or as you catch a plane at O’Hare International Airport.”
Great idea. One day we should all fly in and take them up on that.
Now for our next one, we would like you to repeat their name five times very fast to guarantee that you memorize it.
Ready? Kukuruza, Kukuruza, Kukuruza, Kukuruza, Kukuruza and yeah, that’s right.
At kukuruza.com they comfort and educate, “What’s with the name, you ask? KuKuRuZa is pronounced just like it looks. Ku-Ku-Ru-Za. Say it with us. Kind of fun to say isn’t it? In case you were wondering, “kukuruza” is Russian for corn.
Our popcorn is grown on a family farm in Washington State and lovingly crafted into our 15+ KuKuRuZa creations in Seattle, WA.
We love trying new things. New exotic ingredients, new flavor combinations, new twists on classic recipes. Just talking about it is enough to get us salivating and our creative juices flowing.
This passion for new taste experiences is what gave birth to KuKuRuZa in 2004. It began with small batches over our home kitchen range, then it was specialty popcorn equipment in our garage, and finally we moved into our first retail shop. We like to think we’ve been pushing the culinary envelope of popcorn ever since.
Today, we offer our Washington-grown, Seattle popcorn creations in 16 KuKuRuZa shops located in Seattle, Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Cairo. Of course you can order online, but we hope you’ll also take the time to visit us in person the next time you find yourself in one of these cities! It’s the greatest honor we can imagine getting to share our popcorn with discerning snack connoisseurs around the world.”
Kukuruza? Forgive us if we only say this once but thank you so much for sharing.
Besides the delightful taste, there are major benefits to eating popcorn.
Popcorn contains fiber and is the only snack that’s 100% whole grain. Whole grains contain antioxidants.
Important to know for certain, but we still want to have fun.
We have a visiting female writer who would like to enhance the taste of popcorn with some fresh ideas.
All About Gourmet Popcorn
By Lisa Dozois
If your popcorn comes ready-made in a cellophane bag, or you toss a bag of popcorn into the microwave before the big game starts, you’re cheating your taste buds out of enjoying the wonderful flavor and texture that can only come from gourmet popcorn.
What Is Popcorn?
Popcorn, short for popped corn, isn’t just any corn. It’s made from Zea mays everta, a special variety of corn known for its short ears and its odd properties that cause it to burst open into those tasty buds we all love to eat. The reason popcorn ‘pops’ is because of a higher than normal moisture content inside the kernel, and a harder than normal kernel, or shell, surrounding that moisture.
As the temperature inside the kernel rises, the water expands and turns to steam. When the kernel can no longer resist the internal pressure, it explodes. Inside of the kernel is also a layer of starch. When the kernel explodes, and the superheated starch is exposed to the air, it expands into thin bubbles. These bubbles are attracted to each other, fuse together, and ‘pop’ it’s time to eat!
What Is Gourmet Popcorn?
There is ‘gourmet popcorn,’ and ‘gourmet popped corn.’ And it’s more than a matter of semantics. Gourmet popcorn refers to the type of corn used. Gourmet popped corn refers to the flavorings you add to the popcorn once it has been cooked.
What’s The Best Gourmet Popcorn To Buy?
There are no labeling guidelines or laws that determine which popcorn brands can be labeled ‘Gourmet,’ so you’re on your own here. There are several popular brands of popcorn on the shelves, as well as brands that are less well known but are often just as good.
Experiment with different ones until you find your favorite. But don’t you dare buy that popcorn that comes in the aluminum foil pan that you heat on the stove. You want popcorn that’s been kept away from excess moisture and that is as fresh as possible. And for that, you need popcorn that’s stored in a jar.
If you want true gourmet popcorn, then you’ll have to hit the Internet or gourmet food stores. Look for organic, hull-less corn. The hull, that dark center inside every kernel, is all but missing in the hull-less varieties.
Some good brands include Black Hills, Riehle’s, and Amish Country Popcorn. If you try the Amish brand, you should definitely order a jar of ‘red’ and a jar of ‘blue’. It’s not about color, it’s about taste and texture. The red is a bit more crunchy than the average popcorn, and the blue is naturally sweet with a very strong corn taste.
Here’s Where The Gourmet ‘Popped’ Part Comes In
Gourmet popped corn is popcorn that’s flavored with spices or other ingredients. Because there is no way for the flavoring to penetrate the hard kernel, the process of turning ordinary popcorn into gourmet popcorn, begins when things get popping![adToAppearHere]
Depending upon the type of flavoring and cooking equipment used, the gourmet ingredients are added either during the popping process, or after. Forget hot air poppers or microwaves. True gourmet popcorn has to be cooked in hot oil in order to bring out its full flavor. You can either heat oil in a pan, or use an electric hot oil popper.
The electric models have a hot plate that you lightly coat with a tablespoon or two of oil. The unpopped kernels, one-third to one-half of a cup, are spread on top of the plate, and a tall see-through cover goes over it all. Plug it in and a little automatic arm moves the kernels around to keep them from sticking or burning. After a couple of minutes, the popping begins and that wonderful aroma fills the room.[adToAppearHere]
Most electric poppers have a perforated indented area on the top of the cover you can use to drip liquid flavorings into the popcorn while it’s popping. It’s also a good spot to lay a slab of seasoned butter, because the heat will cause it to start melting around the same time the corn starts popping.
If you are seasoning your popcorn with dry ingredients, or wet but sticky ingredients like maple syrup, caramel, or other sugar-based substances, you need to wait until the popcorn is transferred into the serving bowl before adding them. If you’re going to cook popcorn on the stovetop, here’s how to do it:[adToAppearHere]
– Choose a covered pot tall enough to hold the cooked popcorn. One-half a cup yields 3 ½ to 4 quarts depending upon how fresh the kernels are.
– Pour 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable, canola, or gourmet popcorn oil into the pot and set it uncovered over medium heat.
– Drop one kernel into the oil, cover the pot, and wait for it to pop.
– Remove the cover and quickly pour the remaining kernels into the pot. Watch out for hot oil splatter!
– Gently shake the pot over the flame until one kernel pops. Then replace the cover and keep shaking the pot to keep the kernels from burning.
– When the popping begins to get fast and furious, tip the pot away from your face and body, and tilt the cover open slightly to let some steam escape. Then replace the cover and keep shaking until the popping slows down noticeably. Be careful you don’t scald yourself when the steam escapes!
– Don’t wait until the popping stops altogether, or you’ll end up with burned popcorn on the bottom of the pan.
Whether you’re cooking stovetop, or using an electric popper, dump the cooked popcorn into a serving bowl, add your gourmet flavorings, mix to coat, and dig in! Of course, eating gourmet popped corn requires adding gourmet ingredients. And there is virtually no end to the ingredients you can add.
If you’d like to get 52 gourmet popcorn recipes for free, so you never have to eat the same popcorn twice in a year, go to FreeGourmetPopcorn.com [http://freegourmetpopcorn.com]. Their most popular gourmet popped corn recipes are right on the home page, and you can sign up for their free newsletter and get 52 more. Lisa Dozois is a freelance article and copywriter specializing in helping her clients raise their visibility and sell more products and service. To put Lisa to work for you, Click here.
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