National Popcorn Day, a day to honor one of America’s oldest and most beloved snacks, is January 19.
Following are some fun activities, facts and recipes to celebrate:
Popcorn Day Activities
1. Stringing Popcorn: These can be hung outside for birds to eat
Need: sewing needles, string, popcorn
2. Guess the Amount (Fill container with kernels and have students guess)
Need: popcorn kernels, container
3. Popcorn Air Hockey: Can you “volley” the kernel back and forth 20 times without letting it fall?
Need: flat surface (table), straw (to blow), coffee stirrers (as paddles) or hands (as paddles)
4. Popcorn Relay Race
Need: popcorn, spoons
5. Popcorn Basketball: Can you flick a piece of popcorn into the basket?
Need: popcorn, baskets (i.e. muffin tins, small cups), backboards (wall, cardboard)
6. Popcorn word search (puzzle maker)
Use these words: popcorn, pop, kernel, explode, heat, moisture, grain, snack, crunchy, butter, oil, salt, fiber, bag, hull
7. Write a Popcorn Haiku (5, 7, 5 syllable pattern poem): Like this!
Oil, kernels, heat, time
Many loud explosions heard
Pop, crunch, snack time. Yum!
8. How many words can you make from this phrase?
“Fresh hot popcorn”, “Popcorn tastes good”, “I like popcorn”, “Hot buttered popcorn”
9. Popcorn coloring pages
10. Read facts about popcorn and write about the history of popcorn
• Americans consume some 13 billion quarts of this whole grain, good-for-you treat. That’s 42 quarts per man, woman, and child.
• Popcorn is a type of maize (or corn), a member of the grass family, and is scientifically known as Zea mays everta.
• 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.
• Most U.S. popcorn is grown in the Midwest, primarily in Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri.
• Popping popcorn is one of the number one uses for microwave ovens. Most microwave ovens have a “popcorn” control button.
• There is no such thing as “hull-less” popcorn. All popcorn needs a hull in order to pop. Some varieties of popcorn have been bred so the hull shatters upon popping, making it appear to be hull-less.
• The world’s largest popcorn ball, according to Guinness World Records 2015, was created in 2013 at the Indiana State Fair. With the help of Pop Weaver, Snax in Pax, and Indiana’s Family of Farmers, the popcorn ball weighed in at 6,510-pounds, 8 feet in diameter.
Adobo and Roasted Peanut Popcorn
4 quarts unbuttered and unsalted popcorn (air popped)
1/4 cup peanuts
1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from one 7-ounce can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce; reserve chilies for other use) OR 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil sprayed with cooking spray). Spread popcorn and peanuts onto prepared baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, sugar, adobo sauce and salt until foamy. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat evenly.
Bake 20 minutes, stirring once midway through baking time. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
10 cups air-popped popcorn
3/4 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. water
1/2 cup sugar-free apricot preserves
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Combine popcorn and cherries in large bowl.
Combine sugar, water, preserves, corn syrup, and lemon juice in a small saucepan; bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
Cook until mixture forms thick, “ropy” threads that drip from the spoon.
Pour slowly over popped popcorn and mix thoroughly.
Spray 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Press mixture into baking dish and cool completely before serving.
Cheesy Popcorn Bread
4 cups popped popcorn
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded jack or pepper jack cheese
1 (4 ounce) can mild, diced green chilies, drained, optional
Preheat oven to 400º F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
Process the popcorn in a blender or food processor until finely ground.
Pour ground popcorn into a large bowl and stir in corn meal, sugar, baking powder and salt until blended.
Beat egg, milk and vegetable oil together in a small bowl and stir into popcorn mixture just until blended.
Scatter cheese and chilies, if desired, over batter and stir just until evenly distributed.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned at edges and tester comes out clean.
Cut into squares to serve.
Edible Popcorn Party Bowl
10 cups popped popcorn
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 drops food color, optional
Spray the inside of a large, stainless steel bowl with cooking spray and the outside of a 2nd large, stainless steel bowl; set aside.
These 2 bowls will be used to form popcorn bowl at end of cooking time. (Note: if one bowl is smaller than the other, spray the outside of the smaller bowl.)
Spray a 3rd large bowl with cooking spray and place popped popcorn inside; set aside.
Stir sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar and salt together in a medium sauce pan.
Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and boil for 3 minutes to allow steam to wash down sides of pan. Remove lid and attach candy thermometer to pan.
Allow mixture to boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 290º F. Stir in food color, if desired.
Working quickly, pour syrup over popcorn and toss with a large spoon until popcorn is thoroughly coated.
Pour popcorn mixture into first prepared bowl and use a spoon to push mixture evenly up onto sides of bowl.
Firmly press second prepared bowl onto popcorn to form popcorn bowl. Allow popcorn bowl to cool completely between stainless steel bowls.
To serve, tip popcorn bowl out and place on platter.
Fill with popcorn to serve.
5 cups popped popcorn
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 400º F. Spray a 12- cup muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners; set aside.
Blend popcorn in a blender or food processor until finely ground. Pour ground popcorn into a large mixing bowl.
Add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cranberries and stir until blended; set aside.
Beat milk, egg, oil and almond extract together and pour over dry ingredients; stir just until combined.
Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about half full.
Divide almonds among muffin tops and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake 15-18 minutes or until tops are lightly browned; serve warm with butter.