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Very Special Grain ... or Is It Vegetable?

Posted by David on 4/11/2014
Corn is an interesting grain. And a vegetable, but it's mostly a grain.

Just think about how versatile corn is as a grain. Ora vegetable, but mostly a grain.

It can be a vegetable used as a side dish with a family dinner. It can come on the cob or off it. It can also be used to make cornbread which can go well with many different meal options. It can be used in cereals and as a sweetner in soda (corn syrup), and can be used in making various breads (corn meal) and even in our gas tanks as ethanol. 

As a grain, or a vegetable, it has many uses in many forms and it is perhaps the most versatile grain (or vegetable) you can find in farmlands around the country and the world. With so many uses, it is in high demand, so farmers can make quite a premium on an acre of corn crop. 

One of the uses we have not discussed yet, of course, is the corn used for popcorn. But did you know that popcorn is a special breed of corn that is not used in other ways? Popping corn is called this because it is the only species of corn that actually pops when heated.

Popping corn has a hull (hard outside shell) that is just the right thickness to burst open when the inside of the kernel gets heated, and the inside of the kernel has a small drop of water inside that becomes steam at high temperatures and generates pressure that forces the kernel to open. 

It is reported in the United States, we bought 1.16 billion pounds of unpopped popcorn in 1993. And in the last couple of years, we have bought a little less than 1 billion pounds a year. Think about that. One billion pounds of unpopped popcorn. This does not take into account sales of popped corn that are placed in decorative tins or might be available at movie theaters or some sports stadiums (or are they stadia?). And what is 1 billion pounds per year? That is slightly more than three pounds of popcorn for each man, woman and child in the United States.

Three pounds? If you have not done so yet in 2014, you need to pitch in to this. This weekend, as you watch NBA playoff basketball games, make yourself a family-size bowl of popcorn and gather the family around. And after that, put in your favorite DVD or Blu-ray movie and watch that. When one thinks about how many kernels can come out of a single one-pound bag of unpopped corn, we all have some work to do. 

If you need help making your quota, give us a call. We certainly have plenty of popcorn to be eaten.