UACES Facebook October is National Popcorn Poppin' Month
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October is National Popcorn Poppin' Month

Popcorn makes a great snack, it is low in fat and calories and budget-friendly!

Nashville, Ark. – What food makes loud noises as it is cooked and gets lighter as it gets bigger? If you guessed popcorn, you are correct.

Popcorn lovers rejoice this is your month: October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month. Having been long regarded as a sign of good times, popcorn has found a new appreciation by today’s lean and green consumer.

Celebrated for its seed-to-snack simplicity, popcorn is also non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and naturally low in fat and calories, which makes it an easy fit for dietary preferences—and it is budget-friendly. A quart of popped popcorn costs as little as 15 cents. 

Add in popcorn’s irresistible smell, taste and versatility and it is easy to understand its popularity. With so many ways to eat it—plain, buttery or loaded with goodies—popcorn always fits the mood or occasion.

Popcorn facts

The Popcorn Board shares corny facts about popcorn. Here are a few:

  • Americans consume some 14 billion quarts. That is 43 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.
  • Popcorn has a thicker pericarp/hull than other types of maize/corn. The hull allows pressure from the heated water to build and eventually bursts open. The inside starch becomes gelatinous while being heated; when the hull bursts, the gelatinized starch spills out and cools, giving it its familiar popcorn shape.
  • Popcorn kernels can pop up to 3 feet in the air.
  • Popcorn is a whole grain made up of 3 components: the germ, endosperm and pericarp also known as the hull.
  • The peak period for popcorn sales for home consumption is--- you guessed it, the Fall.
  • Most U.S. popcorn is grown in the Midwest, primarily in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio.
  • Popcorn needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop.
  • “Popability” is popcorn lingo that refers to the percentage of kernels that pop!
  • There is no such thing as "hull-less" popcorn. All popcorn needs a hull to pop. Some varieties of popcorn have been bred so the hull shatters upon popping, making it appear to be hull-less.
  • Popcorn pops in two basic shapes, butterfly, and mushroom. Butterfly popcorn has a very irregular shape with large bumps. It has a light crispy texture but can break easily. Mushroom-shaped popcorn has a spherical center with a rough surface. This shape makes it sturdy enough to stir when adding flavorings or coatings.
  • The world's largest popcorn ball was created by hundreds of volunteers in Sac City, Iowa on June 18, 2016. The ball weighed 9,370 pounds—made up of almost 5 tons of popcorn—and was 12 feet in diameter. The ball was built at the Noble Popcorn plant where the volunteers worked to re-claim the "world's largest" title—a title the city had held 3 times prior.

For fun ways to celebrate popcorn this month, recipes, and more go to the website For more information about eating healthy, contact the Howard County Cooperative Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. You may also contact me via email at The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Recipe of the Week

Halloween is right around the corner. Here is a great recipe to make for a snack while watching your favorite Halloween movie! It combines two favorites – Sweet and salty!

Harvest Munch (Monster Munch)

  • 8 cups popped popcorn (if using microwave popcorn, use light without extra butter)

  • 4 cups mini pretzel twists

  • ¼ cup butter

  • ½ cup packed brown sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons corn syrup

  • 1 cup marshmallows

  • ¼ teaspoon salt (omit extra salt if using microwave salted popcorn)

  • 2 cups mini chocolate peanut butter cups

  • 1 cup candy corn

  1. Toss popcorn with pretzel twists; spread out on large parchment paper-lined baking sheet; set aside.

  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup; cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes or until brown sugar dissolves and mixture is bubbling.

  3. Stir in marshmallows and salt; cook for 30 to 60 seconds or until marshmallows are melted.

  4. Pour evenly over popcorn mixture.

  5. Sprinkle with mini chocolate peanut butter cups and candy corn.

  6. Let cool completely and creak into clusters.

                Yield: 12 servings

  1. Nutrition Facts per Serving: 340 calories, 12 g fat, 300 mg sodium, 56 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein, 103 mg potassium


By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.