Who doesn't love popcorn?! We know we sure do!
According to some stories of Native American folklore, it was believed that spirits inhabited the kernels of corn, and upon being heated, the spirits would grow restless, and would angrily burst out of their homes in a puff of steam.
It's not a stretch to believe that the king of concession stands is amongst the most recognizable smells to the average North American (the others being coffee, Vicks VapoRub, peanut butter, and Juicy Fruit Gum). Beyond being olfactorily recognizable, it is also one of the USA's most popular commodities and exports. Despite being significantly more popular amongst Americans than any other country, it is nevertheless a prominent product in the global commodities business.
Corn planting season typically begins in the early fall (depending on the region and weather conditions), and is usually harvested in mid-to-late summer. Depending on variety, corn can be a 90-120 day crop.
Of course, sweet kernel corn and popcorn are quite different from each other. The first is harvested at the peak of tenderness, and will be cleaned and hit produce shelves soon after.
Popcorn, on the other hand, is only harvested once acquires a brown hue. Furthermore, unlike sweet corn, popcorn is characterized by a very hard shell, with a soft interior. The shell of the popcorn kernels are non-porous, and trap heat and steam, causing the kernel to eventually erupt, or "pop". What we are really eating with popcorn is the soft interior of the kernel that been turned inside out!
As a commodity, popcorn stores well, and is typically available throughout the year. Futhermore, due to its reltively cheap price, it is used in a variety of processes. Popcorn can be purchased for large scale packaging and sale, bird food production, animal feed, and a variety of other purposes.