The History Of Popcorn
Have you ever wondered the origins and history of popcorn? Who came up with the genius idea to pop kernels? And more importantly, how popcorn evolved to become a snack food enjoyed by millions of people worldwide? Well, lets take a deeper dive into the history of popcorn.
Here at Best Popcorn Company, we are die-hard popcorn enthusiasts. We love everything about this story from the kernel to the flavored filled bags of our freshly popped gourmet snack food. It’s the perfect treat for just about any occasion.
While the commercial side of popcorn is rather recent, there are cultures that have indulged in this snack long before American settlers took hold and mass produced the kernel we love today.
Who popped the first kernel?
It comes with no surprise that the first official first person to pop a kernel is debatable. Evidence dates back to New Mexico as old as 5600 years back. Mexican funeral urns that were decorated with illustrations of a maize god with popped kernels in the headdress from 300 A.D. There are also many cultures throughout South America that have artifacts showing their love of popcorn.
Native Americans also took a liking to this treat. When French explorers came to the new world, they too found popcorn being made by the Iroquois Indians and quickly fell in love. Popcorn’s popularity increased, even being eaten with milk and sugar, similar to today’s breakfast cereal.
Modern Popcorn Marvels
The name “popcorn” is also relatively new as it was sold as the name Pearl or NanPareil throughout the early 1800’s. Popularity soared by the 1840’s in America but it wasn’t until 1848 that the term “popped corn” was officially coined.
The first popcorn recipe was recorded by a man named Daniel Browne around the same time as he combined kernels with butter in a frying pan over a grill. Once each kernel popped, he added salt or sugar. He found that this method worked, but wasn’t perfect. The butter tended to burn before the pan became hot enough to pop the kernels. It was a great first attempt nonetheless.
By the 1890’s, the first popcorn maker was finally created by Chicago candy store owner, Charles Cretor. Discovering he could use similar steam powered machines for roasting nuts to pop the corn, he eventually created smaller versions of the machine for street cart use.
Over the next several decades, popcorn popularity ascended to new heights and the business soared without falter, even through the great depression since the price of sugar rose dramatically. Popcorn was always affordable even when other candies and treats became expensive.
Popcorn makes its way into the movies
It’s pretty hard to imagine going to the movies today and NOT having the option to grab a big hot bag of buttery popcorn. Before The Great Depression, popcorn was nowhere to be found as movie theater owners didn’t see the appeal. They finally recognized the popularity as everything else was expensive and popcorn was affordable. Even though the construction of popcorn makers into the theaters was expensive, they made their money back quickly. Seen as a luxury, popcorn was something that people could actually afford during these times.
Last but not least, you probably have been under a rock if you haven’t heard of the famous Orville Redenbacher. The company launched in 1970 and by 1981 had introduced the first patented microwaveable popcorn bag. 17 billion quarts of popcorn is eaten each year currently, with the numbers climbing as we write this article.
Many variations of popcorn have been created, eaten, and enjoyed since the 1980’s. Best Popcorn Company loves to indulge in the gourmet type which has ascended in the ranks of popularity just in the last few years alone. In fact, the gourmet popcorn market makes about $1 billion annually. There is a bag of popcorn for every type of taste, from cheeses, to nuts and caramel, to birthday cake and cookies & cream.
Gourmet flavors can be enjoyed at any occasion or event. The possibilities are endless. With our priority of the highest quality ingredients as well as our attention to detail, our popcorn is sure to make your day a great one.
The history of popcorn is progressing every day. Gourmet popcorn has become really popular and for good reasons. There’s something for everyone. Flavors to satisfy those that prefer classic style all the way to the sweet teeth. Shop our gourmet popcorn after you check out our wide variety of flavors and find out just how well we’ve used the history of popcorn and turned it into a fun treat that anybody at any age can enjoy!