Celebrate National Popcorn Day with Caramel Corn

When driving down the road in the Midwest during growing season, many people think the endless acres of corn they see could be picked and eaten for dinner, or dried and popped for a snack.  However, the majority of those acres are field (dent) corn, which is used for livestock feed and other products.


99 percent of corn grown in Iowa is “Field Corn”.


461 million bushels or 21 percent of Iowa Corn went directly into livestock feed in the 2014/15 marketing year. In livestock feeding, one bushel of corn converts to about 8 pounds of beef, 15.6 pounds of pork, or 21.6 pounds of chicken. (Source: Iowa Corn)

Sweet corn and field corn differ from popcorn.

Sweet Corn Stand 2016

Sweet corn is harvested when the kernels are still tender.


Field corn is harvested when the kernels are dry or begin to dent.

The Popcorn Board does a great job explaining the different types of popcorn here.


Photo credit to The Popcorn Board.

Now to learn a little more about popcorn!  When Emily was in 4-H she gave a presentation on popcorn. POP, POP, POP!


Nearly all of the world’s popcorn is produced in the United States.

Each kernel has water inside it. When the kernel is heated, the water turns to steam. Because of the kernel’s hard coating, the steam has difficulty escaping. The steam eventually escapes, causing the kernel to explode, or “pop”.

The average American eats about 60 quarts of popcorn each year. (This is illustrated by the 5 gallon buckets in the picture above.)  As a whole, Americans consume 17.3 billion quarts of popcorn each year.  Popcorn is said to be America’s favorite snack food. Popcorn is a healthy snack.  (Yesterday, at our church’s after school program, we served popcorn for the snack!)

Find other great information about popcorn from the Popcorn Board.


We like to eat popcorn for supper on Sunday nights; however we also support the dairy and beef industries by adding a little butter and  serving beef sticks on the side!



1 c. brown sugar

1 stick of butter

1/4 c. corn syrup

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

16 cups popped popcorn

  1. Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in a 2 qt. glass bowl.  ( I use the 2 qt. Pampered Chef Measuring Bowl.)
  2. Place bowl in microwave. Bring to a boil (about 2 minutes), then cook on high for another 2 minutes.
  3.  Remove from microwave and stir in soda and vanilla.
  4. Put popped corn in brown paper grocery bag.
  5. Pour syrup over corn.  Close bag and shake.
  6. Cook in bag on high in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes; shake.
  7.  Repeat, but shake every 30 seconds.
  8.  Pour into wax paper lined pan and allow to cool.

This recipe is from the Silver Anniversary Cookbook from Community Reformed Church, 1983.  

(I actually combined two different recipes.  When I make this I think of these two families.  I have fond memories of working with them in the Sunday School department several years ago!)

As we come to the end of another gloomy day here in central Iowa, I think it is a great evening to curl up with a great book or a movie and enjoy some fresh popped popcorn or maybe even some caramel corn!

Have a great evening!