Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes and they have different talents and skills. Some are strong, some are fast, some are smart, and some create fun just by being who they are. They face tough situations and try their best. They don’t always succeed, but they learn from their mistakes. The best thing about superheroes is that they all want to use their powers to accomplish good deeds.
The Power Pops are an elite team of popcorn superheroes who all work for the good of the popcorn crop. Get to know more about this team and what they can do!
Power of: Longevity, Strength
Power Description: Major Maize withstands the test of time. She’s durable and strong with the power of whole grains to fuel her.
Facts About Maize:
- Maize has been around for thousands of years.
- Popcorn is a type of maize, a member of the grass family, and is scientifically known as Zea mays everta.
- Popcorn differs from other types of maize in that it has a thicker hull. Of the 4 types of corn (sweet, field, flint, popcorn), only popcorn pops.
- Popcorn was discovered in the Americas thousands of years ago. The oldest ears of popcorn ever found were 4,000 years old, discovered in the Bat Cave of west central New Mexico in 1948 and 1950.
- Popcorn was integral to early 16th century Aztec Indian ceremonies.
- In South America, kernels of popcorn found in burial grounds in the coastal deserts of North Chile were so well preserved they would still pop even though they were 1,000 years old.
- Major popcorn producing states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio.
- Popcorn is one of the oldest snack foods in America and is still beloved today. Americans consume some 13 billion quarts of this whole grain, good-for-you treat.
Power of: The Green, Quality Control, Regeneration
Power Description: U.S. popcorn processors are responsible for producing most of the popcorn consumed throughout the world. That’s a big responsibility. Captain Kernel makes sure popcorn stays a high quality, affordable food.
Facts About Quality Control:
- All U.S. grown popcorn is 100% non-GMO.
- Popcorn processors dry popcorn until it contains between 13 and 14.5 percent moisture.13.5 percent is considered ideal to ensure maximum popability. An amount of moisture over or under these percentages greatly reduces popability.
- Processors consider the minimum expansion ratio for good popcorn to be 35 to 38 to one. However, some of today's improved hybrids will expand over 40 times.
- Good popcorn should provide at least 98 percent popped kernels with well under two percent unpopped kernels. Proper care at the processing level helps to assure this. Processors guard against contamination and other types of kernel damage, which could lower popcorn quality.
- Because home storage and handling can affect the moisture content of popcorn – and therefore the popability – opened packages of raw kernels should be stored in airtight containers until used. If kernels are too dry to pop, add a few drops of water to the kernels and allow them to absorb.
- Roughly 200,000 acres of popcorn are planted each year to meet the needs of popcorn consumers around the globe. That translates to over a billion pounds of popcorn sold.
- Each ear of popcorn contains roughly 500-600 kernels, enough to make about 3 quarts of popcorn which is 4 servings of whole grains and cost about 45 cents.
- 2 tablespoons of kernels makes 1 quart of popcorn for about 15 cents.
Power of: Magnetism, The Senses, Happiness Generator
Power Description: Super Poppy has the ability to draw you in. He awakens the senses through his powerful, delicious smell and taste. He’s able to change a boring snack into an extraordinary one, and guarantees a good time whenever he’s around.
Facts About The Power of Attraction:
- The senses of smell and taste are directly related because they both use the same types of receptors. Taste and smell work together to create the perception of flavor.
- Your sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than your sense of taste.
- Researchers estimate that humans can distinguish 1 trillion unique scents.
- Americans are so drawn to popcorn that we consume some 13 billion quarts of this whole grain, good-for-you treat. That’s 42 quarts per man, woman, and child.
- Popcorn tastes great, but it’s also connected to good times and the people we love. We eat popcorn while snuggling up together watching movies, sitting together playing games, cheering for favorite ball teams, walking hand-in-hand at a local fair, during seaside vacations, and while trekking through the big city.
- Smell has the ability to trigger memory, to remind us of good times. Incoming smells are processed in the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb has direct connections to areas of the brain that are strongly implicated in emotion and memory.
- The smell of freshly popped popcorn can stimulate your appetite, and whole grains can satisfy hunger cravings.
Power of: Transformation, Shapeshifting, Flight
Power Description: When he’s hot, the Edible Hull bursts and changes into another form. He is protected by a natural armor, a power suit, which gives him strength.
Facts About Transformation:
- Popcorn has a hard outer layer, the hull, which is essential for making it pop. The hull traps steam, creating a sort of pressure cooker inside the kernel.
- Each kernel of popcorn contains a small drop of water stored inside a circle of soft starch. The soft starch is surrounded by the kernel's hard outer surface.
- Popcorn needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop.
- As the kernel heats up, the water begins to expand. Around 212 degrees the water turns into steam and changes the starch inside each kernel into a superheated gelatinous substance. The kernel continues to heat to about 347 degrees. The pressure inside the grain will reach 135 pounds per square inch before finally bursting the hull open.
- As it explodes, steam inside the kernel is released. The soft starch inside the popcorn becomes inflated and spills out, cooling immediately and forming into the odd shape we know and love.
- A single kernel can swell to 40-50 times its original size.
- The first bit of starch that emerges forms a “leg” of sorts, which catapults the kernel like a gymnast as the remaining starch spills out. This is why popcorn jumps as it cooks.
Power of: Converting Data
Power Description: Fiborg’s spray jets allow him to infuse people with nutrients. He takes popcorn apart, and feeds the nutrient data into the human system.
Facts About Popcorn Nutrients:
- Popcorn is a whole grain and contains the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ, and endosperm. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but is also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.
- One serving of popcorn can provide about 70-percent of an individual’s recommended daily intake of whole grain.
- Popcorn contains no cholesterol, it is virtually fat-free (only 0.1 g per cup) and contains 90 calories in a three cup serving.
- Popcorn also contains a number of essential vitamins including: folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid and vitamins B6, A, E and K. A serving of popcorn contains about 8-percent of the daily value of iron, with lesser amounts of calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
- Popcorn contains antioxidant compounds called polyphenols.
Power of: Energy, Suppression, Protection
Power Description: She’s a lean, mean, hunger-fighting machine. She’s fast enough to make you feel full quickly, and satisfies you for a longer time.
Facts About Fiber:
- Popcorn is a whole grain and contains fiber, which grabs onto toxins as it makes its way through the digestive system.
- Because whole grains keep their dietary fiber, they play a key role in keeping bodies healthy.
- Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates, which are digested more slowly and supply a lower more steady release of glucose into the blood stream.
- Complex carbohydrates provide the body with energy.
- Because whole grains take longer to chew and are more slowly absorbed, they help in weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Popcorn is ideal for between meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn't spoil the appetite.
- Foods that are high in fiber fill you up on fewer calories.
- One serving of almonds (1 ounce), brown rice (1 cup) and popcorn (3 cups) all contain about the same amount of fiber (3.5 grams. Popcorn is slightly higher at 3.6 grams).
- Studies have shown that whole grains may help reduce the risk of developing many major diseases including heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers.
- Whole grains are low glycemic carbohydrates, which means lower blood sugar and less insulin production.
What’s Your Super Power?
If you could be a superhero, what would you be? Find out your superhero name below using the first letter of your first and last name!