National Caramel Popcorn Day is celebrated on April 6 every year. The much-loved popcorn is far from ordinary. Add some golden caramel syrup to the mix and things only get better. It’s double the fun at family movie nights. The thrills and jitters of a first date are made sweeter. Maybe you want to enjoy a bucket all to yourself or the love that comes from sharing. Caramel popcorn isn’t just a snack, it’s a sweet emotion. Few things can bring people together the way this food does. Given the intriguing history of this delicious treat, it’s easy to see why caramel popcorn is a must-have for today’s movie nights.
History of National Caramel Popcorn Day
Caramel popcorn is undoubtedly a favorite snack across America. How did the sweet treat become so popular? When did the phenomenon begin? The story begins in the 1800s. During this time, sweet popcorn was already a popular snack before caramel popcorn existed. People snacked on kettle corn cooked in salt and sugar at fairs or other special occasions.
Caramel corn first arrived on the scene in the 1870s, all thanks to two brothers, Louis and Frederick Rueckheim. The brothers immigrated from Germany and settled in Chicago, where they opened a popcorn store. They began experimenting with new toppings and flavors, from which a new concoction was born – peanuts, molasses, and popcorn. The mix was well-received and quickly became a crowd-pleaser.
When a customer tried the popcorn for the first time, he cried out, “That’s a crackerjack!”— an expression of the time that meant top-quality stuff. And that’s how the name Cracker Jack stuck. The Rueckheim brothers registered Cracker Jack in 1896 and started large-scale production in the United States. Cracker Jack’s enormous success kickstarted experiments with various combinations of syrups and popcorn. A craze that eventually gave birth to caramel popcorn.
Caramel popcorn today is made from molasses or a sugar solution. The mixture heats until caramelized, and the syrup turns a beautiful golden brown. The final touches involve coating or drizzling the syrup over popcorn. Caramel popcorn has become synonymous with fun times at movie theaters. A favorite sweet treat loved by millions of people all around the world, not just in the United States.
National Caramel Popcorn Day timeline
Indigenous Pre-Columbian people domesticate the popcorn variety of maize having yellow or white kernels.
The “Dictionary of Americanisms” by John Russel Bartlet includes ‘popcorn’ to describe its sound when bursting open.
Louis Ruckheim creates the first Cracker Jack version.
During the Great Depression, theaters charge vendors a dollar per day to sell popcorn outside.
National Caramel Popcorn Day FAQs
Why do we celebrate National Popcorn Day?
Popcorn forms the foundation for other snacks — even arts and crafts. Thus, the National Popcorn Board decided that this beloved snack deserved its day.
Why is my caramel popcorn not crunchy?
When caramelized syrup cools, air bubbles inside the solution create a soft texture. As a result, the caramel becomes chewy and not crunchy.
Is there an emoji for popcorn?
In 2015, popcorn was approved as part of Unicode 8.0 and included in Emoji 1.0.
National Caramel Popcorn Day Activities
Have a favorite brand of caramel popcorn? Pick some up at a store near you.
Make caramel popcorn
Try making some caramel popcorn at home. There are a ton of easy recipes online.
Have a movie night
Popcorn and great stories go hand in hand. Organize a fun movie screening at home. Remember, the bigger the batches of caramel popcorn, the better!
5 Facts About Popcorn That Will Blow Your Mind
The power of a pop
When popping, popcorn can reach a distance of up to three feet.
It was once banned
In 1949, movie theaters temporarily banned popcorn since it was too loud a snack.
Popcorn for breakfast
In the 1800s, people ate popcorn like cereal with sugar and milk added.
Popcorn during World War II
Americans ate three times more popcorn during the WWII sugar shortage.
Nebraska is popcorn central
Nebraska produces around 250 million pounds of popcorn a year.
Why We Love National Caramel Popcorn Day
For the love of comfort foods
Caramel popcorn is life. We know snacking ought to be healthier, but not today. Today, we indulge.
Caramel popcorn is better when shared. It’s the best day for overdue catch-ups with friends or a cozy movie night with the fam.
History in a bucket
Who knew that our favorite snack had such an intriguing origin story? It makes us appreciate it even more.
National Caramel Popcorn Day dates