(NAPSI)-National Popcorn Poppin' Month is a great time to celebrate the nation's favorite munchable maize. Whether you make it sweet, savory, salty, plain or pumped up, this fun food is economical and good for you.
As a whole grain, popcorn provides carbohydrates and fiber and is naturally low in fat and calories. It's a great in-between-meal snack that satisfies but doesn't spoil your appetite.
Here are a few fun facts to munch on and a tasty recipe:
Americans consume 16 billion quarts of this whole grain, good-for-you treat every year. That's 52 quarts per man, woman and child.
Popcorn is one of the oldest American foods, used by Native Americans both as food and as decoration. One way Native Americans used to pop popcorn was to toss kernels in heated sand and sift them out after popping. By the 1870s, popcorn was sold in grocery stores and at concession stands at circuses, carnivals and street fairs.
The peak period for popcorn sales for home consumption is in the fall. Compared to most snack foods, popcorn is low in calories: Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup, oil-popped only 55 per cup.
Candy Corn Popcorn Balls
Fast, easy and colorful, these popcorn balls can be fun to make.
Makes: 8 (4-inch) balls
3 quarts popped popcorn
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
3 cups miniature marshmallows
3 tablespoons (1/2 of a 3-ounce box) orange gelatin dessert mix
Candy corn, jelly beans, sour green apple candy sticks, licorice string, dried fruit, etc.
• Spray a large mixing bowl lightly with cooking spray and place popcorn inside.
• In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in marshmallows and gelatin dessert powder until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn and mix well until coated.
• Spray hands with cooking spray and press firmly to form into balls. Place balls on wax paper. Press candy decorations into balls to form eyes, a stem and a jack-o'-lantern grin. Serve immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap for storage. Add a ribbon tie to plastic wrap as a decorative closure.
Cleanup tip: Soak saucepan before cleaning.
For more facts and recipes, visit www.popcorn.org.
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