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Kettle Corn

Popcorn is such a staple snack for Americans that there are many variants available.  You can choose from regular, caramel, gourmet, and kettle corn. But however way this snack is prepared, there is just something irresistible about these treats that you can’t stop popping them to your mouth!

There is no definite story as to how the kettle corn was invented. But one tale goes back to the 1700s in Europe.  After a hard day at work, it was said to be the custom for immigrant farmers to pop corn in large cast-iron kettle that was used to render lard from hogs.  They then mixed-in molasses, honey, or sugar to add to the taste.

Another story followed that no one was doing kettle corn for many years until a Midwestern farmer remembered the way his grandparents popped popcorn. He used this idea at local events and revived the kettle corn tradition.


  • Did you know that there is a pop expansion test? It is called the Cretors Metric Weight Volumetric Test and is used as the standard in the popcorn industry. The measurement of cubic centimeters of popped corn per 1 gram of unpopped corn is called MWVT. The higher the MWVT number is, the greater the volume of popped corn per weight of unpopped corn!
  • Popcorn comes in two shapes: the snowflake or butterfly and the mushroom. Kettle corn and caramel popcorn usually come from mushroom-shaped pop since their surface can hold the flavorings and seasonings and doesn’t easily crumble. Snowflake/butterfly-shaped popcorn is commonly used by movie theater sellers because they pop bigger and are fluffier.
  • Popcorn was once one of the most thriving businesses, especially during the Great Depression when it was only worth 5 to 10 cents a bag. Then during World War II, sugar was sent overseas for U.S. troops so there wasn’t enough sugar left to make candy. Americans turned to popcorn as their preferred snack – eating three times more than usual.
  • In the 1950s, popcorn sales bore the impact when television sets became popular.  People were not coming to the movie theaters anymore and the popcorn consumption dropped.  Popcorn had a resurgence when people began eating it at home while watching television.

Buying Guide

Compared to the regular popcorn which is usually remembered for its salty, buttery or cheesy taste, and the caramel popcorn which has a sweet and crunchy covering over the popped kernels, kettle popcorn is associated with the slightly sweet taste, with hints of salt.

These different types of popcorns are all made from the regular popping corn versus the gourmet popcorn which uses a different kernel.  However, they are cooked differently.  Traditionally, kettle corn is made in an oiled, large iron kettle.  After the kernels have popped, salt and some sugar is tossed onto the oil, which helps bind it to the kernels.

Kernel corns are normally available at concession stands at fairs, carnivals, supermarkets. And now, even boxes of instant and microwaveable kettle corn can be bought at stores.

Production & Farming in Texas

Competition for kettle corn in Texas is definitely poppin’!  You can’t go to any farmers market and not encounter that freshly popped and sweet scent that we all associate to kettle corn.  Grab them and eat them while walking, or if you have enough control, bring them home for a non-stop snacking experience!

Preservatives, Additives and Chemicals

Kettle Corn is such a simple and healthy snack to make, needing just the popcorn kernels, some salt, oil, and sugar. In general, popcorn is considered a whole grain snack that is high in fiber and low in fat and sugar.  But looking at store-bought kettle corns, especially the microwavable variants, there comes ingredient add-ons that may not be as healthy as we think.

  • Sucralose – This is an artificial sweetener that is used as a substitute for sugar. It is said to be 400 to 700 times sweeter than sugar and with no calories! It also does not affect the blood sugar and insulin levels of average people who regularly use sucralose.  However, some studies say that it can affect some people’s blood sugar and insulin levels if they didn’t regularly consume these sweeteners and if they are with severe obesity. There were also reports that cooking with sucralose is recommended as exposing it with heat and other ingredients like glycerol, might produce other carcinogens and harmful substances.  The FDA considers this safe, though there is still no conclusive study about its long-term health effects.
  • Mixed Tocopherols – These are different types of vitamin E that can be found in oils, nuts, seeds and some leafy green vegetables. These are used to increase vitamin E and also as an antioxidant to prevent oils from going rancid.   It is said to be safe for consumption and can actually be beneficial in moderate amounts, as an excess in vitamin E may pose other health risks.


Kettle corn is usually sold in these pillow bags, or large pouches that keep from being exposed to air and moisture.  Some are also following the trend for the gourmet and caramel popcorns, selling their kettle corns in these bright and gorgeously designed tin cans.


Need an easy snack? Kettle corn will surely be one of the options as it is very tasty, light, and convenient.  Just grab a pack and snack away!  It is also readily available, making it easy for anyone to satisfy their cravings.


It is said that homemade kettle corn can last for about two to three weeks (if you can resist not finishing them all!) and should be stored in an airtight container.

Making Homemade Kettle Corn


  • ½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp salt (optional, to taste)


  1. In a large pot, put oil. Then add in the unpopped kernels, along with the salt and sugar.
  2. Keep the pot in medium heat, and constantly shake the pot to ensure that the popcorn and oil will not burn.
  3. Remove the pop from the heat once popping has slowed down.



  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 98
  • Carbs: 11g 4%
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Fiber: 1.2g 5%
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 5.8g 9%
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5g 2%

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