Disclosure: This post and recipe was created in partnership with Kansas Soybean, Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Pork Association, I was compensated for my time, all opinions are my own.

Santa Carbs is coming to town. Sorry protein, we’re talking about fiber today. I get it, I like balanced blood sugars too, but I also like a happy microbiome. Our gut bacteria feed off of the fibers found in food. The average American eats about 10 grams of fiber, but we need 25+ grams of fiber each day. It’s not only about the number though, our gut benefits from a wide variety of different fibers. Fiber is found in foods like fruits, veggies, beans and even popcorn! Talk about gut healthy snacks, you can inch your way toward the 25 grams goal with each cup of popcorn containing about 4 grams of fiber. Popcorn is naturally gluten-free, non-GMO and can easily be made dairy free (I recommend popping with coconut oil).

Kansas Farms: Eat Local 

If you have spent anytime driving through the Kansas farmland, you may have spotted popping corn and not even known it! I love supporting local Kansas businesses, which includes Kansas farms too! I chatted with Kim of Papa Baldy’s, a local Kansas farm, about what it takes to get popcorn from the field to becoming a gut healthy snack food. 

 

Popping corn seeds are planted and watched very carefully. Popping corn is a lot more fragile than the corn we grow for animal feed or for delightful sweet corn. Kim and her family know the popping corn is ready to harvest when they microwave an entire ear of corn in a paper sack. If it pops then it’s ready. Once the field is ready, the popping corn is harvested right from the fields. They use special technology to separate out each and every kernel to make sure that it is just right. Then Kim and her family weigh and bag every single kernel with love. The variety that Kim grows is called mushroom popcorn. It produces big smooth kernels that are used by gourmet poppers because it is less likely to break and any flavoring you add has more surface to coat. 

Connecting With Famers

A normal ear of corn size compared to a popping corn ear.
popping corn

Over the last several years, I have loved partnering with Kansas Soybean, Kansas Farm Bureau, and Kansas Pork to meet Midwest farmers. That is a little more difficult this year, but farmers are still out there growing food for us. Kim and her family are a small operation of only a handful of people including her in-laws. They grow other crops besides popcorn, but Kim and her family wanted to have a bigger connection with the families they are serving. That is when they decided to start growing popcorn. Having that face-to-face (or rather FaceTime) connection with the farmers that grow my food makes me so appreciative for the hard work that goes into it. Now I know, any time I pick up a loaf of bread I may be eating something grown by Kim and her family, but I know for sure when I pop a bowl of popcorn that it was hand packaged by Kim! Want to connect more with Kim and her family? Check out her Facebook and Instagram.

One of Kim’s favorite traditions is sharing popcorn with her family. Today I’m sharing my take on her family favorite cinnamon popcorn recipe. I know it will quickly become a festive favorite in your house too!

Cinnamon Popcorn
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Ingredients

  • 5-6 cups of popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 (9oz) bag of red hot candies

Instructions

  1. Pop the corn using your chosen popping method.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  3. Put the popped corn on a cookie cooling rack on a cookie sheet so that the unpopped kernels fall out and don’t get in the mix.
  4. Put the popped corn in a large bowl.
  5. In a saucepan on the stove, bring to boil the butter, maple syrup and red hot candies.
  6. Boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly until the red hots have become part of the liquid syrup mixture.
  7. Pour the hot liquid syrup mixture over the popped corn and stir it until all of the popcorn is coated.
  8. Pour the coated popcorn onto a large cookie sheet that has been greased.
  9. Stir every 15 minutes for 1 hour while in the oven.
  10. After an hour, pour the popcorn out onto wax paper and let cool.
  11. Enjoy!
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https://www.kansascitydietitian.com/2020/12/snack-your-way-to-a-healthy-gut/

Check out these other gut healthy snacks: 

Connect with Kim and order your own Papa Baldy’s popcorn on her facebook and instagram