Popcorn has delighted us for generations. It is our favourite movie snack, comfort food at home and a near-endless way to entertain children.
Popcorn has been around for thousands of years and has been used in a variety of ways, from worshipping gods to becoming a snack.
According to reports, the oldest popcorn known was discovered in 1948 by anthropologist Herbert Dick and botanist Earle Smith in the “Bat Cave” in west-central New Mexico.
The archaeologists deduced that popcorn was first made by throwing corn kernels onto sizzling hot stones, tended over a campfire or onto heated sand, causing the kernels to pop.
This was not eaten as a snack – the corn was sifted and then pounded into a fine, powdery meal and mixed with water.
Popcorn has many health benefits, including improving digestive health. Popcorn is rich in antioxidants, helps in metabolism, and provides energy, reduces depression and supports healthy bone function.
It also controls blood sugar levels, combats tumour cells and reduces the craving for food.
Famous for its versatility and ease of preparation, it is an excellent base for just about any flavour combination.
If you are looking to up your snack game, this spicy smoked paprika popcorn recipe by Jessica Koslow is worth bookmarking.
Spicy smoked paprika popcorn
Yield: About 12 cups
½ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil with a high smoke point (such as corn, canola, or sunflower)
⅓ cup popcorn kernels
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp sweet paprika
Hot smoked paprika to taste
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat, heat the oil and three popcorn kernels.
When the kernels pop, add the remaining kernels, lower the heat to medium-low, and cover almost all the way with a lid, leaving a tiny crack open for steam to escape (face the crack away from where you are standing).
Cook, shaking occasionally, until the popping stops.
Transfer the popcorn to a bowl, and immediately toss with salt, cumin, sweet paprika and pimentón, if using. For the utmost crunch, let popcorn settle for 5 to 7 minutes before eating.