Kettle Corn and Ultimate Summer Fun Time
Everyone’s Favorite Summertime Snack
Everyone has his or her own guilty pleasure food, especially during the summer. For some people it might be ice cream, but if you live in Ohio, kettle corn is a must have! There’s something special about the sweet-and-salty taste that kettle corn has that makes it addictive. During the summertime, at places like the Chippewa Lake Flea Market, you can smell the aroma of freshly made kettle corn the 1st Sunday of every month. Have you ever stopped to think about where kettle corn came from? Here you will find the history of this American favorite food.
Where Did Kettle Corn Come From?
During the 18th century Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania would bring cast iron kettles to fairs and festivals. The kettles were lined with freshly made butter. They heated the butter to temperatures high enough to toss dry corn kernels into the kettles. They would use wooden utensils to stir the corn, as the kernels popped they would add sugar or honey to caramelize the popcorn. When they were finished making the popcorn they would toss salt over the freshly made kettle corn. During the 21st century kettle corn made a comeback and you can find it at most fairs and flea markets.
The simplicity of kettle corn shouldn’t make you underestimate the taste. There are several sugary additions that enhance the flavor of the newly made popcorn. Before modern times American pioneers would sweeten their kettle corn with molasses, cane sugar, or honey. Honestly, using different ingredients to sweeten kettle corn opened the door for a new flavor palate. Most households buy pre-made microwave kettle corn. Nowadays most American’s are introduced to kettle corn by going to county or state fairs, flea markets, craft shows, festivals or carnivals. Your parents and siblings might take you to one of these fun events during the summer and indulge in this sweet treat.
Making Your Own Kettle Corn
- ¼ Corn Oil
- ¾ Popcorn Kernels
- ½ Cup White Sugar
- ¾ Teaspoon Salt
If you’re feeling ambitious enough to make your own kettle corn, regular white sugar works just fine. Sugar isn’t all that you need to make kettle corn; you also need the right equipment. For the average cook at home you’ll need to add corn oil to a large pot over medium heat. After the pot is the right temperature add the popcorn kernels and stir. For the next 3-4 minutes shake the pot while adding the sugar. It’s important to remove the fresh kettle corn from the pot before serving. The sugar has caramelized in the pot, the heat from the pot will cause the remaining sugar to stick and burn.
Interesting Facts About Kettle Corn and Popcorn
- Popcorn and the Great Depression
Movie theaters during the Great Depression started offering popcorn at concession stands. Popcorn is fast to make, portable, cost effective, and tasty. Once this became a trend for moviegoers there was no stopping the popcorn bandwagon.
- How do popcorn kernels pop?
There are several types of corn, but only “popcorn” will pop. Scientists have figured out that popcorn kernels have enough water to cause the corn to pop. A tough skin, called a hull, encloses the water inside of the kernel. Meanwhile, as the kernel heats up, the water becomes steam and the pressure causes an explosion of deliciousness we know as popcorn!
- Popcorn is a… grain
There has been much debate about whether or not popcorn is a grain or vegetable. We know that corn is a vegetable, but popcorn according to the USDA is a grain. There are enough high quality carbohydrates found in popcorn to call it a grain.
- Kettle corn is a healthier option
Now that we know that popcorn is a grain we should add to the fact that it’s a healthy snack option. Kettle corn has sugar, but it’s still better than a candy bar. Even with the sugar and salt, kettle corn has far fewer calories.
- Why are there “Popcorn” buttons on microwaves?
As the popularity of popcorn grew, so did the need for a faster way to make popcorn. There became a demand to make popcorn by using microwaves because of the speed. Now there is a preset popcorn button for your convenience.