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Information @ a Glance           

 General
  • Popcorn or Popping Corn is a type of corn which explodes from the kernel and puffs up when heated. Special varieties are grown to give improved popping yield. Some wild types will pop, but the cultivated strain is         Zea mays subsp. mays, which is a special kind of flint corn. Popcorn was first formally discovered by Native Americans thousands of years ago.
  • Popcorn was very popular in the 1890s, until the Great Depression. As corn crops became more depleted during the Great Depression, nuts often replaced popcorn as snacks. During the Depression, popcorn was a luxury at 5-10 cents a bag, yet even when other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived.
  • Popcorn is sold either as a plain or flavor-added popped product, or as an un popped product in moisture-proof containers ranging from plastic bags and sealed jars to ready-to-use containers both for conventional and microwave popping. Popcorn flavor is enhanced to individual tastes with the addition of salt and butter. There is no end to the uses of popcorn. One recipe book lists 200 different recipes.

Process

  • Start with the butter. Put your butter into the small pan (anywhere from a heaping table spoon to 1/4 cup depending on your pot size and your decadence quotient for tonight). Set this stove on low or medium-low heat and let the butter melt while you cook the popcorn. If you're using non-standard flavorings, you may want to add that to the mix as well (depends on the flavorings).
  • Next, pour enough oil into the pot to form a thin layer on the bottom. Add 3 or 4 'sacrificial' kernels, turn the heat on high, and wait. When the first kernels start popping, add the real payload -- about enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Put on the lid. Turn the heat down slightly (on a 10-notch dial, I'll turn it down to 8 or 9) and shake the pan every few seconds. After about 1/2 minute or so, you should have a pretty continuous popping coming from the pan. At this point, you should be shaking the pan most of the time. My standard is 3 seconds shaking 1 second resting on the burner (to collect heat). The popping should build to a furious crescendo and then subside.
  • Once the popcorn has reached the perfect moisture level, it is then cleaned and the kernels separated and cleaned. This is where Weaver Popcorn inspects each kernel with an optical scanner.

Market

  • Quality popcorn can also be sold on the open market since the product will keep indefinitely if properly stored. This is risky due to the very unpredictable popcorn market. Growers willing to become small-scale processors can also package and sell popcorn for local sales. Blue corn and popcorn  prices would be expected to be slightly higher than white/yellow food corns; however, specialty corns generally also have a lower yield.

  • Demand for popcorn continues to increase, especially in the movie theater and multiplex cinemas industry. In addition to strong demand for imported popcorn, Korean consumers consume even more white corn in the form of popped kernels. Imports of processed popcorn have declined in recent years.

  • In South Korea, popcorn imports have been growing steadily. The only competition for U.S. producers comes from Argentina, which supplies about 4 percent of the import market. The United States is the only supplier of raw white popcorn and processed.

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