· By Jason Katz
The History of Caramel Popcorn
Caramel corn is a sweet, confectionery popcorn treat enjoyed by millions of people every year. Here at Popcorn for the People, we make our caramel popcorn by coating our mushroom shaped popcorn pieces (the mushroom popcorn shape is the best for caramel corn because it has more surface area to hold the caramel flavoring!) with irresistible caramel candy! All our popcorn is layered with high quality caramel.
Caramel popcorn is a huge fan favorite of ours, and there’s no question that people across America enjoy this sweet treat. So, how and when did America begin to love caramel popcorn? The when can be traced back to the 1800s.
Caramel corn was first introduced in the 1870s. Before this, sweet popcorn was a hugely popular snack years prior to caramel corn’s creation. Kettle corn, which is cooked in oil with sugar and salt, was enjoyed by many for special occasions, such as holidays and fairs.
Caramel popcorn came to be due to two brothers, Frederick and Louis Rueckheim, who immigrated to the United States of America from Germany and settled in Chicago. In 1870, they opened a popcorn store and began experimenting with unique flavors and toppings. One of these experiments produced a new concoction which was a mix of popcorn, peanuts, and molasses. This became a hit quite quickly!
A customer, after having tried this popcorn concoction from the two brothers’ popcorn store, exclaimed “That’s a crackerjack!” This, at the time, meant “great quality.” The name stuck! In 1896, the brothers registered Cracker Jack, and the product was mass produced in the United States. The success and popularity of Cracker Jack led others to experiment with popcorn and syrups, which led to the caramel corn craze!
Today, caramel popcorn is made by mixing a sugar solution or sometimes molasses and heating until the mixture caramelizes. When it turns to a golden-brown, the candy is drizzled over popcorn or mixed all together! It is often sold as a standalone product (like Popcorn for the People’s caramel popcorn) or mixtures of popcorn and snacks (like Popcorn for the People’s Chocolate Caramel popcorn, a mixture of caramel popcorn and chocolate popcorn).
Caramel popcorn has and will continue to be a delicious, sweet popcorn snack enjoyed by millions of people.