October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, a harvest time celebration of one of America’s oldest snack foods. As farmers head into the fields to gather crops, families and friends gather to honor this perennially popular food.
Popcorn existed long before today’s dizzying array of snacks, tracing its roots back thousands of years. Yet, throughout the ages, this enduring fan favorite has remained relatively unchanged. Popcorn kernels are the seeds of a large grain plant known also as maize. Once the kernels are stripped from the cob and dried to 14% moisture, they can be popped and eaten.
This seed-to-snack simplicity is just part of the allure. Whole grain, naturally low in fat and calories, and gluten free, popcorn is a good fit for today’s health conscious consumer. Yet it’s the taste and versatility that continues to make this one popular snack food. Americans consume some 16 billion quarts of popcorn each year. That’s roughly 51 quarts per man, woman and child.
Add in popcorn’s irresistible aroma, connection to good times, seemingly magical transformation, and the fact that it strikes a chord with the budget-minded, it’s easy to understand why there’s a month-long celebration for this America icon. Join in the fun by making the following fall treat, recipe courtesy of the Popcorn Board. Learn why popcorn pops, the history of popcorn, corny facts, recipes, and more at www.popcorn.org.
Down Home Apple Pie Popcorn
A timely fall treat, combining luscious flavors of the harvest.
Yield: 10 cups
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 1 cup dried apple chips, broken into large pieces
- 1/4 cup toffee bits
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Whisk melted butter with vanilla. Toss brown sugar with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
- Toss popcorn with butter mixture. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar mixture. Stir. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle apple chips and toffee bits over top. Bake for 15 minutes or until toffee bits start to melt. Cool before serving.
Tip: Add chopped pecans for extra crunch.