5 Fun Popcorn Facts

Find out how much you know about this popular snack food

The oldest known popcorn kernels were found in New Mexico and are believed to be at least 4,000 years old!

It Takes 135 Pounds of Pressure to Pop Corn

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Each kernel of popcorn contains a small amount of water, which, when heated, turns to steam. This steam builds pressure. When the pressure reaches about 135 pounds per square inch, the kernel will explode.

Popcorn Comes in Two Basic Shapes

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Most popcorn comes in two basic shapes. The larger snowflake shape is what you’ll find in ballparks and theaters, while the smaller mushroom shape is used for confections like caramel corn.

Only One Type of Corn Will Pop

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There are six types of maize (pod, sweet, flour, dent, flint, and popcorn) but only popcorn, a.k.a. Zea mays everta, will pop when heated.

Americans Eat Enough Popcorn to Fill the Empire State Building

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Americans eat so much popcorn — more than fifty popped quarts per person per year — that it could fill the Empire State Building 18 times!

Un-popped Kernels are Called “Old Maids” or “Spinsters”

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Kernels that are too dry won’t be able to create steam (or pressure) and won’t pop. They’re playfully called “old maids” or “spinsters.”

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.