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According to The Popcorn Board, the oldest ears of popcorn ever found in the United States were discovered in the Bat Cave of west central New Mexico in 1948 and date back to more than 5,600 years old. Scholars agree that corn, and more specifically popcorn, originated in the Americas. It is believed by many experts that corn was developed by centuries of breeding and crossbreeding wild grasses like teosinte.

USDA research has found that Popcorn really caught on during the 1890s and was very popular even through the Great Depression. Street vendors, pushing steam or gas-powered poppers, used to follow wherever a crowd might be. 

They were a common sight at fairs, parks, and expositions, and restaurants also began to sell this fluffy snack. During the Depression, popcorn at 5 or 10 cents a bag was one of the few luxuries struggling families could afford. While other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived. At home  most popcorn was made on the stove top until Pillsbury invented microwave popcorn in 1982 (see directions for both methods below).

Fresh popcorn on the cob is available at The FARMstand starting in October. All of the popcorn that we sell at The FARMstand is locally grown right here in Lexington, SC

Stovetop method

  1. Gently flick corn kernels off with your thumb into a large bowl or paper bag, and blow away any debris.
  2. Add two tablespoons vegetable, peanut, sunflower, safflower, or canola oil to a heavy-bottomed, lidded pot.
  3. Add several “test” corn kernels in the pot—this will indicate when the oil is the correct temp. Cover and heat at medium-high.
  4. When you hear the kernels pop, remove the pot from heat. Add ⅔ cup of corn kernels, and shake to coat with oil.
  5. Return pot to heat, and leave the lid cracked enough to let steam escape but not the popcorn. Shake periodically.
  6. When there are 2–3 seconds between pops, remove from heat and enjoy popcorn from the cob.

Microwave method 

  1. Put whole corn cob, or extracted kernels, into a medium-size paper bag
  2. Fold the end of the bag over twice, and microwave on high heat until popping slows to between 2–3 seconds.
  3. Be careful of steam when you open the bag. Enjoy your popcorn on the cob!


Results may vary depending on microwave power.

Air Fryer Method

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF and use aluminum foil or parchment paper line the bottom of the basket. Leave the sides as free as possible to allow the air to circulate.
  2. Gently flick corn kernels off with your thumb into a large bowl or paper bag, and blow away any debris.
  3. (optional) Lightly coat the popcorn kernels with your cooking oil of choice.
  4. Place the popcorn into the lined air fryer basket. Try to make sure the kernels aren’t on top of each other – a flat palette of single kernels is best.
  5. Place the basket into your air fryer and cook  5 minutes or until you hear 2-3 seconds between kernels popping.
  6. Open the basket slowly, because rogue kernels may come flying out!
  7. Add salt and any additional toppings desired (melted butter is a favorite in the FARMhouse) and serve immediately.

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