January 19: What’s Popping on National Popcorn Day

Today’s the day! And if you’re wondering what today is, it’s popping day!

What’s popping?

There are six kinds of corn but only one of them can pop. Popcorn (the one that pops) is a maize plant with the scientific name Zea mays everta. Most of the popcorn in the world is grown in Nebraska and Indiana but farmers in Illinois and other Midwestern states also grow popcorn.

Popcorn plants can grow to over six feet tall and they also thrive in sandy soil which is not ideal for most other crops.

Americans eat more popcorn than anyone else in the world. Even our microwaves have special popcorn buttons.

Yoder Popcorn, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Popcorn is a favorite snack for many families and comes in a few different colors including red, blue, yellow, and white. It is easy to eat while playing cards or board games. Most people know popcorn is a favorite snack at sporting events and movies.

What makes popcorn a great snack?

It is a whole grain which means it contains the germ, endosperm, and pericarp (also known as the hull) and it is low in calories. Air-popped popcorn has 30 calories per cup. Oil-popped popcorn has 35 calories per cup. It also can be flavored with different herbs and spices to fit your taste or mixed with dried fruit, nuts, and cereal for a quick trail mix.

To keep popcorn as a healthy snack, be careful when adding salt and butter as they will add sodium, fat, and calories.

Yoder Popcorn, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What makes popcorn pop?

To look at what makes popcorn pop, we first have to understand what a popcorn kernel is made of. A popcorn kernel is composed of three main parts:

  • Germ
  • Endosperm
  • Hull/pericarp

The germ is found inside the shell and is considered the living part of the plant. The endosperm (also inside the shell) is a starchy area that provides nutrients for the germ. Finally, the hull is made of cellulose an indigestible sugar, and provides the hard outer shell. In popcorn, the hull is harder and thicker than in other types of corn.

Yoder Popcorn, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why does popcorn pop?

A popcorn kernel must be able to withstand enough internal pressure for it to explode into our beloved snack. Popcorn’s thick hull is what allows this to happen. When you heat a kernel in the microwave, the microwaves transfer energy in the form of heat to the water inside the kernel.

The water absorbs the heat and it turns to steam and expands thus increasing the pressure inside the kernel. The pressure builds up inside of it to the tune of about 135 pounds per square inch.

This means that one little kernel explodes after resisting over 4 times the pressure inside car tires! When the pressure builds to an amount the hull can no longer contain, it explodes open resulting in a piece of popcorn.

Yoder Popcorn, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How high can popcorn pop?

Popping an afternoon snack of popcorn in the microwave generally isn’t a messy affair considering most popcorn cooking is contained in a bag. But if it wasn’t, you might have to watch out for flying kernels since popcorn can pop as high as 3 feet while it transforms from kernel to puff.

However, the tiny grains don’t just fly straight skyward as they expand; high-speed recordings of popcorn, as it cooks, show that the kernels actually flip like a high-flying gymnast thanks to starches that push off a cooking surface and propel the corn into the air. 

The way popcorn transforms from a hard nugget to a soft and springy morsel can seem like magic except scientists say it’s really just a trick caused by heat and pressure. As mentioned above each kernel has three parts: the germ (seed) found deep within the shell, the endosperm (a starch section used to nourish the germ if planted), and the pericarp (aka the hard exterior).

Moisture and starch are also packed into each tiny kernel; when heated, that microscopic amount of water creates pressurized steam. By the time a popcorn kernel reaches 350 degrees, the pressure is too much to contain and the pericarp explodes causing the starchy endosperm to expand outward. When the process is finished, the resulting popcorn has puffed up to 40 times its original size.

While the popcorn industry strives to get 98 percent popability from each bag of kernels, there’s likely still going to be duds at the bottom of the microwave bag. In those cases, it’s likely the pericarp was cracked or the kernel didn’t have enough internal moisture, both of which prevent any pressure buildup—which means that no amount of extra microwaving will give you a few more bites.

Yoder Popcorn, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Popcorn pops into two distinct shapes

When popcorn is all lumped together in a bowl, it just looks like… popcorn. But an up-close inspection shows that kernels pop into one of two shapes transforming into butterflies and snowflakes (winged, multifaceted shapes) or mushrooms (rounded puffs).

Butterflies occur when the popped kernel turns inside out while mushrooms are created when the kernel’s endosperm expands instead of flipping. Generally, mushrooms are sturdier and can withstand the additional cooking process to become caramel or kettle corn.

Whether your bowl of popcorn gets more mushrooms or butterflies mostly depends on factors uncontrollable from your kitchen like the popcorn plant’s genetics or how much water the plant received while it was growing in the field.

Yoder Popcorn, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fun facts about popcorn

  • According to the USDA, Nebraska and Indiana grow most of the popcorn
  • Nebraska produces an estimated 250 million pounds of popcorn per year—more than any other state
  • Americans eat around 17 billion quarts of popcorn every year; this amount would fill the Empire State Building 18 times
  • Popcorn can pop up to three feet in the air
  • If you made a trail of popcorn from New York City to Los Angeles, you would need more than 352,028,160 popped kernels
  • General Mills patented the first modern microwave popcorn bag in 1981
Yoder Popcorn, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Popcorn is not just for eating

Check out the following ideas for other ways to use popcorn:

  • Stringing popcorn: These can be hung outside for birds to eat or hung on your Christmas tree
  • Popcorn air hockey: Use a straw to blow the kernels back and forth or your hands as paddles to volley the kernel back and forth 20 times without letting it fall
  • Popcorn relay race: In teams, use spoons to transport popcorn back and forth
  • Popcorn basketball: Flick a piece of popcorn into the basket (muffin tins, small cups or your own mouth)

By the way, I have another post on National Popcorn Day: January 19: However You like Popcorn Enjoy It TODAY on National Popcorn Day

Related popcorn days

  • National Caramel Popcorn Day (April 6)

Worth Pondering…

Have you ever pondered the miracle of popcorn? It starts out as a tiny, little, compact kernel with magic trapped inside that when agitated, bursts to create something marvelously desirable. It’s sort of like those tiny, little thoughts trapped inside an author’s head that―in an excited explosion of words―suddenly become a captivating fairy tale!

―Richelle E. Goodrich

20 Healthy Snacks for Your Next RV Road Trip

Bring these 20 healthy snacks on your next road trip

Who doesn’t love good travel snacks? While fuel stops can provide you with a convenient, on-the-go snack, you’ll want to be careful with what you choose to eat while on the road.

As tempting as it may be to grab that Snickers bar when you stop to fill up on fuel for your road trip, you may regret that decision. Not only does a Snickers bar have absolutely no nutritional value to help your body get what it needs, it will actually put harmful chemicals in your body such as high fructose corn syrup.

By packing good, healthy snacks for your road trip, you’ll find that you won’t be tempted to grab that Snickers bar because you know something better is waiting for you in your RV.

If you eat healthy snacks and limit the unhealthy ones you should be more alert while driving. You might also feel good and have more energy to set up camp once you arrive at your destination.

Apples make a healthy treat © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What makes a good snack for a road trip?

Have you ever been on a road trip where you picked up a sweet treat at a fuel stop only to feel hungry again twenty minutes later? That’s because there is a significant difference between healthy snacks that will stave your hunger for a long time and not-so-healthy snacks that will make you feel hungrier in the long run.

So, what makes the healthiest, best road trip snacks?

Balance and measure

One thing you might want to try to do is to choose food that balances your blood sugar. If you eat fresh fruit like an apple pair it with protein. Have a handful of nuts, a smear of peanut butter, meat slices, or cheese.

Just be careful to watch your protein serving size, as nuts, cheese, and meats can pack a lot of calories. It is a good idea to measure out your snacks before driving. Otherwise, you might open a large bag of trail mix and mindlessly eat as you go which can result in an unhealthy calorie intake.

Pistachios make a healthy treat © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Taste the rainbow

Another suggested way to eat healthy on the road is to pack a rainbow of snacks. It is as simple as having natural foods that are different colors. For example, you can pack orange carrots, red apples, yellow bell peppers, green broccoli, and tan hummus.

Some people say the brighter your natural food color, the healthier it is (usually). Many white or brown foods indicate that they have been processed such as crackers. Limit those foods and avoid foods made bright from food dye.

When looking for a healthy snack, you also want to consider what contains healthy fats. Our bodies need fat but we want to have more healthy ones that come from natural foods. For example, consider making a sandwich with avocado instead of mayonnaise.

If you crave salty or sweet travel snacks while on the road, then treat yourself! Just limit road trip food that makes you feel groggy while driving your rig.

Favorite road trip snacks

The following are ideas for healthy road trip snacks that can be modified for you and your family.

Here, then, are my top picks for healthy road trip snacks.

Apples at a fruit stand © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Good ol’ fresh fruit

Many people like to munch on road trips, which is why chips and jerky and other stereotypical road trip snacks are popular. But, fresh fruit is an excellent alternative munchy! Living off chips leaves you feeling groggy and hungry.

It’s a good idea to pair fruit with some protein to help prevent your blood sugar from spiking which can cause tiredness and hunger once the fruit’s sugar wears off. Consider pairing all your fresh fruit snacks with protein like a handful of nuts, a hard-boiled egg, or string cheese.

Grapes are a great, healthy snack for those with a sweet tooth and those who like to munch to pass the time! Apple slices with peanut butter are also a great way to satisfy that need for a crunchy snack.

2. Protein bars

Protein bars can stick with you to keep hunger at bay until you arrive at your destination. Be careful, though with your choice of protein bars. There are countless protein bars out there that are full of nothing but sugar and crazy additives and preservatives that you’ve never heard of.

Instead, look for a protein bar with natural ingredients that will give you the nutrients your body needs and wants without the sugar crash. Be sure to read the nutrients table.

Or consider a meat-bar. Yes. That’s a thing. There’s Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar, Chicken Sriracha Strips, and Oven Baked Pork Rinds.

Amish cheese from Holmes, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Meat, cheese, and crackers

Meat, cheese, and crackers are a favorite snack. Not only does this delicious combination taste great but it packs a big punch of protein to help tie you over during a long drive.

Though they are more expensive than making your own, you can buy premade packs from the grocery store that are quite yummy.

Consider bringing summer sausage, salami, pepperoni, or your favorite lunch meat. You can also include whatever type of cheese you love. Some folks like to buy blocks of Pepper Jack or Swiss and cut them into bite-size cubes. Cheese Snack Sticks and Babybel cheeses are two easy on-the-go kinds of cheese you can take. They both come with self-contained packages which help keep them fresh until you are ready to nosh.

4. String cheese

You’re never too old to eat string cheese especially when you know the nutritional benefits it provides. Pair your string cheese with apple slices and you’ll have a snack that perfectly covers healthy fat, good protein, and complex carbs. With this trio of nutrients, you won’t be hungry again for a while and you’ll also feel your energy levels increase.

Eggs for purchase © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Hard-boiled eggs

I have to admit that hard-boiled eggs are not my favorite but they do make a great snack. They are a great source of protein and come with their nature packaging. These little eggs are not only easy to prepare, they are easy to store and easy to eat on the road. You can add a little salt or paprika to spice it up a bit. Just remember, easy on the salt!

For some extra crunch and the perks of some quality complex carbs, add some whole wheat crackers to your egg snack for the perfect pick-me-up.

6. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds pack a lot of excellent nutrients. You can choose the unshelled roasted seeds for an easy-to-eat snack. These are easy to pick up at a convenience or grocery store.

Some people love opening the seeds themselves. It helps pass the time and can also help you eat less. Shelling them can help you feel fuller since it will take longer to eat your snack.

Just be sure to check the serving size since nuts and seeds can have a lot of calories. Plus, opt for salt-free sunflower seeds.

7. Granola bars

Granola and energy bars are convenient road snacks. Bars come in different flavors and can be healthy food but they are not all created equal. Some bars are packed with nutrients while others are just empty calories like a candy bar. You can also find bars with less sugar that will also be likely to have fewer calories.

8. Trail mix

Trail mix is one of the easiest healthy snacks for a road trip and it will fill you up for hours. One serving of a nuts and seeds trail mix has 336 calories, 25 grams of fat (only 6 grams of saturated fat), 4 grams of fiber, 11 grams of protein, and no cholesterol. Plus, this is one of the best road trip snacks for kids.

Trail mix is a great way to get healthy protein and fats into your road trip day. Trail mix takes a while for your body to process making you feel full and energized for a long drive. You want to watch your serving size and choose trail mix that limits candy in the mix.

A variety of vegetables at Galt Farmers Market, Galt, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Vegetables

Consider taking along baby carrots or celery sticks as a healthy snack while driving on travel days. This is an easy way to get your veggies in a while on the road. If you are not a huge vegetable fan, consider bringing a small tub of dip for the veggies.

Hummus is another healthy snack that can be paired with vegetables. You can even buy a lower-fat ranch or make your own using plain Greek yogurt and Ranch seasoning to keep it as healthy as possible. Or, if Ranch is your go-to vegetable dip, bring some along.

10. Beef jerky

This road trip snack is packed full of protein which is one of the best ways to satisfy your hunger. However, don’t opt for jerky from the gas station that comes loaded with preservatives and whose sodium levels are off the charts. Instead, pick up an organic, grass-fed one from your local natural foods store.

Popcorn is always a treat and its healthy © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11. Popcorn

Popcorn is a great source of fiber and complex carbs that will help your body stay regular and provide you with energy while on the road. Make sure you’re not getting the microwave popcorn that is filled with chemicals. Instead, grab one from the natural foods store that has ingredients of just corn, salt, and oil. Even better yet, pop some on the stove at home using olive oil or butter and just salt. That way, you know exactly what you’re getting.

Pistachios © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

12. Pistachios

The protein from these nuts is plant-based and they’re also packed full of unsaturated fats and fiber. Not to mention, they’re much lower in terms of calories than other nuts. Pistachios weigh in at just 4 calories per nut while Brazil nuts are 33 calories each.

Walnuts by the bulk © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

13. Walnuts

Pistachios aren’t the only great nuts on the block—walnuts are great for their own reasons. They have the highest amount of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids when compared with all other nuts which will help you feel full for a longer amount of time.

Carrots in a variety of colors © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

14. Carrots

Though carrots do have fiber in them and other great nutritional value, one of the reasons I suggest this as a road trip snack is because oftentimes when on the road, you find yourself wanting to eat simply because you’re bored. So, rather than fill that boredom with unhealthy snacks, munch on some carrots that will take you a while to eat and will keep you busy without making a mess.

Grapes for sale at a farmers’ market © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

15. Grapes

Similar to carrots, grapes are a great option for when you’re bored and want to eat something on the road. Healthy, clean, and easy to eat, grapes will help stave off the boredom. Just don’t go overboard with the grapes—they do have a lot of sugar in them.

16. Hummus and celery

Hummus is another great protein-packed snack that will help keep your belly full and happy. In addition, hummus is full of B vitamins. And celery is the perfect dipping stick. Low in calories, but high in water content, your body will love this hummus-celery combo.

17. Greek yogurt

It’s protein all the way with Greek yogurt. This little snack is full of it and will help keep you full until your next meal. Top your Greek yogurt with some nuts or fruit for some added fiber and energy.

18. PB sandwich (skip the J)

Though I love jelly, it usually doesn’t offer up anything but loads of added sugar. Instead, grab for quality peanut butter (be sure to check your ingredients and say no to peanut butter with sugar added to it for a healthy dose of protein and fat.

Slather that peanut butter on some whole wheat bread and you’ve covered your complex carbs, your protein, and your fat. If you’re feeling extra hungry, grab a banana, slice it up, and throw it in between the bread and have yourself a PB&B.

Assortment of dried fruit © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

19. Dried fruits

Before you buy any dried fruits, be sure you check the label. You do not want to get any that have added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Find the ones that simply have ingredients listed as just the fruit and nothing else. Better yet, make your own.

Rebecca Ruth Chocolates in Frankfort, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

20. Dark chocolate

Yes, you read that right: dark chocolate. While I don’t recommend chowing down an entire bar in one sitting (and you probably wouldn’t want to with the really dark stuff), there are some benefits from eating a bit of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is known to lower the risk of heart disease while also increasing brain function. As if we weren’t on board already!

Worth Pondering…

The most important thing is to snack on things that are filled with real food and nourishing ingredients that will leave you feeling energised and happy.

—Ella Woodward

January 19: However You like Popcorn Enjoy It TODAY on National Popcorn Day

This annual celebration recognizes a treat that satisfies munchies, day or night

On January 19th National Popcorn Day pops onto the scene with a crunch we all love to enjoy! This time-honored snack can be sweet or savory, caramelized, buttered or plain, molded into a candied ball, or tossed with nuts and chocolate. However you like it, enjoy it on National Popcorn Day, January 19th.

Buttered, salted, kettled, and drizzled with caramel, popcorn is one of those snacks perfect anytime, anywhere. It’s great on the go, in the theater, or your living room! Just be prepared to dig some of it out of your teeth.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Did you know that the corn we eat and the corn we pop are two different varieties of maize? The corn you’d find on your dinner table is most likely unable to pop at all. Only one variety of corn can become popcorn: Zea mays everta. This particular corn variety has small ears and the kernels burst when exposed to dry heat. 

In 1948, small heads of Zea mays everta were discovered by Herbert Dick and Earle Smith in the Bat Cave of west-central New Mexico. Ranging from smaller than a penny to about two inches, the oldest Bat Cave ears were about 4,000 years old. Several individually popped kernels were also discovered which have since been carbon-dated and shown to be approximately 5,600 years old. There’s also evidence of early use of popcorn in Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala as well as other places in Central and South America. 

Aztecs used popcorn to decorate their clothes, create ceremonial embellishments, and also for nourishment. Native Americans have also been found to consume and utilize popcorn in their day-to-day lives. In a cave in Utah thought to be inhabited by Pueblo Native Americans, popcorn has been found that dates back to over 1,000 years ago. French explorers who traveled to the new world discovered the Iroquois Natives in the Great Lakes region making popcorn. As colonists moved around North America and as the US came to be many people adopted popcorn as a popular and healthy snack.

The word corn in Old English meant grain or, more specifically, the most prominent grain grown in a region. When Native Americans introduce their most common grain, maize, to early Europeans, they aptly applied the word corn.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As early as the 16th century, the Aztecs used popcorn in headdresses worn during ceremonies honoring Tlaloc, their god of maize and fertility. Early Spanish explorers were fascinated by the corn that burst into what looked like a white flower.

Popcorn started becoming popular in the United States in the middle 1800s. It wasn’t until Charles Cretors, a candy-store owner, developed a machine for popping corn with steam that the tasty treat became more abundantly poppable. By 1900 he had horse-drawn popcorn wagons going through the streets of Chicago.

>> Read Next: Celebrating all things Pistachio on National Pistachio Day

At about the same time, Louise Ruckheim added peanuts and molasses to popcorn to bring Cracker Jack to the world. Then in 1908, the national anthem of baseball was born. Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer wrote Take Me out to the Ballgame. From that point onward, popcorn, specifically Cracker Jack, became forever married to the game.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

At the movies

Another romance connected to popcorn may have had a slow start but eventually took off. Today, who can imagine going to the movies without getting a box of buttered popcorn? While popcorn was an economical choice for snack food the expense of installing a machine and adequately venting the building didn’t seem worth the effort. If it weren’t for Glen W. Dickson, we would be purchasing our popcorn from a vendor on the street before taking in the show. Dickson put in the effort and expense of placing machines inside his theaters. After realizing how quickly he recouped his costs other theater owners followed suit.

The microwave oven spurred the next big advancement for popcorn. With the invention of the microwave, a whole new market opened for snack food. Magnetrons, a technology produced by Raytheon Manufacturing Corporation for the military during World War II were later used to develop microwave ovens. Percy Spencer was the man who made it happen. He used popcorn in his initial experiments during the microwave’s development. 

Today, Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popcorn a year, more than any other country in the world. A majority of the popcorn produced in the world is grown in the United States. Nebraska leads the Corn Belt in popcorn production.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Popcorn by the numbers

  • 17 billion quarts: Amount of popcorn consumed by Americans annually
  • 70:  Percentage of popcorn eaten at home
  • 90: Percentage of unpopped popcorn sales
  • 13.5: Percentage of moisture content in popcorn
  • 31: Calories in a cup of popcorn
  • 5,000: Years popcorn has been in existence
  • 1885: First commercial popcorn machine was invented by Charles Cretors
  • 1981: Making popcorn even quicker and easier to eat, the General Mills patent for microwave popcorn bags is approved
  • 250 million: Pounds of popcorn produced in Nebraska every year (also known as the Cornhusker State, although it’s third in overall corn production)
  • 3: Feet that a single popped corn can fly when popping
  • 400°F: Ideal temperature for popping popcorn
Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to celebrate National Popcorn Day

Celebrating National Popcorn Day is as simple and delicious as it comes! You can start by enjoying a bag of popcorn with your favorite toppings. Pop your favorite popcorn and share a bowl with a friend.

>> Read Next: Light Your Fires on National Chili Day

Ways to enjoy popcorn: You can have it with a classic mix of butter and salt or get creative and add your favorite spices and herbs to it! There isn’t anything that doesn’t go wonderfully with it. For a light heart-healthy addition you can skip the butter and shake it down with herbs like rosemary and thyme or spice it up with cayenne. Or you can forgo the healthy options and bury it under a delicious coating of caramel and bacon and enjoy the decadence.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Go global with popcorn: First made readily available in America in the early 1800s, this delightful treat has grown in popularity so that it is now a delicacy found the world over. And different places seem to enjoy their popcorn in different ways:

  • Japan: In addition to the standard ways, they appreciate flavors such as honey, milk tea, and curry
  • Europe: Enjoyed here as a sugary treat, popcorn is often sold in bags at the cinema rather than freshly popped
  • Nigeria: Best enjoyed by popping it in the microwave, a preferred flavor of popcorn here is fruit chutney
  • India: In addition to the standard butter and salt popcorn, it can be found in unique flavors such as miso soup, Thai red coconut, and anchovy garlic

Crafting with popcorn: You can also celebrate popcorn by doing crafts with it. Popcorn strings are a wonderful decoration use them to make garlands or even glue them to construction paper for a collage. String or glue popcorn onto a metal or styrofoam to make a festive popcorn wreath to welcome friends into your National Popcorn Day party. And don’t forget the paint and glitter to glitz it up even more. Popcorn can even be used as a filling for glass Christmas ornaments to make cute decorations that give a little nod to the day.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan a movie marathon: Three weeks into January? Chances are you just want to hide and eat comfort food—but, your resolutions. There’s a win-win! Tee up your favorite Star Wars Trilogy and pop a big bowl of popcorn. You can enjoy the wisdom of Yoda and keep to your diet. (A little olive oil and salt with the carby goodness of the popcorn may just hit the spot!)

Most of the popcorn we consume is either a Butterfly (also known as snowflake) or Mushroom popcorn. Butterfly popcorn produces a fluffy, winged kernel while Mushroom popcorn produces a denser more compact kernel. While both are delicious for snacking, Mushroom popcorn holds up better to caramel, cheese, and other coatings.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Yoder Popcorn

On our first visit to Amish Country in northwestern Indiana, we discovered Yoder Popcorn near Shipshewana. It has been a mandatory stop on each return visit.

In 1936, Rufus Yoder started growing popcorn on his family farm. In the Amish custom, he shared his excess crop with his neighbors and friends. They told their friends and neighbors about the excellent quality of Yoder Popcorn and soon a business was born.

After Rufus retired, his children Larry and Pauline continued to market Yoder Popcorn.

Yoder Popcorn © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1999, Yoder Popcorn was purchased by Rufus’ great niece, Sharon, along with her husband Richard and their youngest son, Russell, and his wife Allyse. Besides operating the Popcorn Shoppe, they farm 1,700 acres which include the acreage around the Shoppe.

>> Read Next: January 16: National Day Calendar + RVing with Rex 4th Birthday

A large variety of popcorn and related products are available at their store and on-line purchase:

  • Tiny Tender White: Very small kernel with a mild corn taste; enjoy crispy and nearly hulless popcorn
  • Baby Blue Popcorn: Tiny kernel that pops white with a dark center; sweet and crunchy with very little hull
  • Sunburst Popcorn: Large kernel with a red stripe (being that it is yellow popcorn, it will have that corn taste but with less hull than the Premium Yellow)
  • Lady Finger Microwave Popcorn: Tiniest kernel, completely hulless with a strong corn taste
  • Tiny Tender Yellow Microwave Popcorn: The ultimate in tenderness and is virtually hull-less (yellow popcorn usually pops a little bigger than white popcorn)
  • Mirowave Sample Pack: 3.5 oz. butter-flavored pouch of each of the following: 1-Yoder Premium Yellow, 1-Yoder Premium Yellow Extra Butter, 1-Yoder Premium White, 1-Yoder Yellow Tiny Tender, and 1-Yoder Premium Red
  • Gift Baskets: Price range from $6 to $62

Related popcorn days

National Caramel Popcorn Day (April 6)

Worth Pondering…

Have you ever pondered the miracle of popcorn? It starts out as a tiny, little, compact kernel with magic trapped inside that when agitated, bursts to create something marvelously desirable. It’s sort of like those tiny, little thoughts trapped inside an author’s head that―in an excited explosion of words―suddenly become a captivating fairy tale!

―Richelle E. Goodrich

17 Healthy Snacks for your Next Outdoor Adventure

Don’t forget these snacks for your next outdoor adventure

In a world of constant notifications, emails, texts, and phone calls, a camping trip can do wonders to help you disconnect. From hiking to spending quality time with friends and family, a single camping trip can be the perfect mind and body reset to help you feel relaxed, refreshed, and recharged.

But a health-boosting camping trip goes far beyond the planned activities—what you eat matters too! In this article, I’m sharing our favorite healthy camping snacks to help you come back from your outdoor adventure feeling better than ever.

Guggisberg Cheese, Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The summer months are great for hiking, biking, backpacking, kayaking, camping, and many other outdoor activities. You’ll need the right attire and equipment but it’s also always good to pack water and a snack even on short excursions. And not just any snack but something that will give you the energy and strength to keep going. Here are the 17 best portable snacks to fuel your outdoor adventure. (And please remember to carry out whatever you carry in!)

Willamette Cheese Company, Salem, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cheese

You’ll want protein to power your outdoor activities and cheese is a great way to get some on the go. Prepackaged cheese like those little Babybel wheels are easy to pack and unwrap anywhere and anytime or you could go with the stick varieties—they’re not just for kids’ lunches anymore! Want to get classy while camping? You can safely pack a hard cheese like aged cheddar, gouda, or Gruyère in a resealable container.

California Fruit Depot, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dried fruit

No need to worry about your bananas getting brown or your peach getting bruised when you pack a stash of dried fruit. Plenty of options—from raisins and cranberries to mango, apricots, and berries—are available at the grocery store and they contain the same amount of nutrients as the fresh kind. 

Energy bars

CLIF, RXBAR, Larabar, and numerous other brands all make energy or protein bars that are specifically designed to fuel you with various levels and combinations of protein, carbs, calories, and nutrients. When browsing the bar aisle, be sure to read the ingredient list; the more ingredients you recognize, the better.

Galt Farmers Market, Galt, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fresh fruit

Well of course I’m not against fresh fruit. Dried fruit may be a little more portable but there’s no reason you shouldn’t pack a fresh apple, orange, watermelon (pieces, not a whole one), grapes (try freezing them!), or other juicy fruit for your outing. Even more delicate fruit would work—just pack it tightly in an airtight container. 

Don’s Specialty Market, Scott, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jerky

I’m not talking ultra-processed, chemical-packed “jerky” like Slim Jims but quality jerky that’s high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It’s meat without the heat and most jerky varieties have a long shelf life and come in resealable packages that are perfect for on-the-go snacking. If you have a food dehydrator you can even make your jerky out of everything from beef, turkey, and venison to wild boar, ostrich, and alligator.

Eagle Ranch Pistachio, Alamogordo, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are both high in protein and easy to pack in your pack. Peanuts and almonds have the most protein in the nut category (9.5 grams and 7 grams, respectively, per ¼-cup serving) and pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds (9 grams and 6 grams, respectively, per 1-ounce serving) have the highest amounts among snackable seeds. 

Lucero Olives, Corning, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Olives

This isn’t just my crazy idea—eating olives on outdoor adventures really is a thing. In fact, some recreation stores (and grocery stores!) even sell bagged olives for bites on the go. Olives contain antioxidants and healthy fats and if you pair them with cheese, you can really class up your excursion.

Yoder Popcorn, Shipshewana, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Popcorn

Popcorn contains some protein (3 grams per ounce) and fiber (3.5 grams) and it will satisfy your hunger cravings without filling you up or slowing you down. Don’t go for the bagged varieties containing artificial ingredients—pop your own at home and put it in an airtight container to protect it from getting squished. Or pop it over a campfire!

Julia Sturgis Pretzel Factory, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pretzels

For a quick dose of carbs without a lot of calories pull out the pretzels and snack away. The bit of sprinkled salt will also help replace your body’s sodium which is a critical electrolyte lost when sweating. You can even use pretzels to scoop hummus and other healthy dips.

Galt Farmers Market, Galt, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Raw Sliced Roots

Thinly sliced raw root veggies—like sweet potato, kohlrabi, broccoli, and carrots, to name a few—can be a nice, hydrating change of pace. They provide way more nutritional value than most snacks plus they are refreshing and tasty. Another take: Cut a variety into matchsticks and mixed for a veggie trail mix. And add in some raw sweet onion slices which have the added benefit of warding off yellow-spotted lizards.

Rudy’s BBQ, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tortillas

Tortillas are a very versatile trail food with numerous advantages. They pack easily and don’t get smashed up like bread. Wraps are less messy than sandwiches. They pair well with dips like hummus or peanut butter. Heck, you can even eat them by themselves for some quick carbs

How do you maintain carb intake without carting around a loaf of squished bread? Tortillas, my friend! They’re flat, delicious, and also flat—perfect for knapsack packing. Premade wraps—PB&J, ham and cheese, smoked salmon, whatever. In a pinch, tear off pieces of tortilla to eat plain as you go. But I’d recommend taking some refried beans along to slather—it’s a great trail-side comfort food.

Farmers and Craft Market, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Trail mix

Okay, technically I’m cheating here as my list already contains the trail mix ingredients of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and candy. But how could I leave off trail mix which is the quintessential on-the-go source of energy? I can’t, because I love my trail mix.

While not creative inherently, trail mixes have taken an evolutionary leap from former camping days. No longer simply peanuts, raisins, and M&Ms; oh no, we’re talking pecans, pistachios, hemp hearts, dried pineapple, and pumpkin seeds. It’s not just filler anymore, folks. These days you can make a whole meal out of this once-humble offering.

Tuna

Low in calories but high in protein (not to mention heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids), tuna can be a fantastic food for the trail, mountain, and water adventures. Not only is it good for you but it also has a long shelf life. And if opening a can and mixing up some tuna sounds like too much work on the go, you can even buy pre-mixed pouches in the store.

Galt Farmers Market, Galt, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Vegetables

Celery, cucumber, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes…they’re all full of vitamins, minerals, and water which you’ll definitely want a lot of. Most veggies are about 90 percent water so you might want to put a damp paper towel in the bag or container. If you’ve brought a bunch and don’t want them crunched, try packing them in your cooking gear.

Dehydrated Everything

There are two factors that limit outdoor foods: perishability and space. Fortunately, nearly every food out there can be dehydrated and though it doesn’t always improve the food it does negate those two elements. It can also be done cheaply without a professional-grade dehydrator if you’re crafty and willing to put the work in.

Amish Acres, Nappanee, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pepperoni

Pepperoni starts out as ground pork, beef, or a mixture of the two. Producers then add paprika which helps give the sausage its characteristic deep red hue as well as garlic and other aromatics like fennel seeds to up the flavor factor. Once it’s packaged into sausages, the mixture is aged for several days before being smoked and dried. 

This versatile ingredient presents a whole world of possibilities just waiting to be discovered.

California Fruit Depot, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Fruit and Veggie Chips

The chip is a perfect vessel for trail snacking—non-perishable, delicious, and simple. But greasy chips mid-hike is asking for trouble. There are healthy alternatives with all those benefits; try dried or baked fruit and veggie chips. Countless recipes are available in hundreds of creative flavorings and varieties.

Truthfully, staying on top of your diet can be life or death, so carefully consider what you’re taking along. If you’re used to hiking with potato chips and oreos, try some of these alternatives instead — you may be surprised how much it improves your adventure.

Worth Pondering…

I hope you dance because…

Time.

Time is a wheel.

Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along.

Tell me, who wants to look back on their years and wonder where their years have gone.

—Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers, I Hope You Dance