El Paso, Texas (NAPSI) - Here’s food for thought: Popcorn, discovered in the Americas thousands of years ago, has beguiled people for centuries with its mythical, magical charm.

Today, it’s also lauded for its nutritional and economic value, while the alluring aroma and taste help make popcorn such a popular treat that Americans consume some 16 million quarts of it a year—roughly a quart per person per week.

Consider these corny facts:

• October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month.

• Popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories. Air-popped popcorn has roughly 30 calories per cup; oil-popped has only 55 per cup.

• Popcorn is a whole grain. It has three components: the germ, endosperm and pericarp, or hull.

• Of the four main types of corn—sweet, dent, flint and popcorn—only popcorn pops.

• Popcorn needs between 13.5 and 14 percent moisture to pop.

• Popcorn forms one of two basic shapes when popped: snowflake and mushroom.

• Popcorn Zombies are a treat:

Green Halloween Zombies
Yield: about 7 pieces (4½ x 3½ inches each)

2½ quarts popped popcorn

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

3 cups minimarshmallows

4 tablespoons lime gelatin powder

Red gum balls, candy corn, flat green candy strips (or fruit leather), green sugar sprinkles

Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Stir marshmallows into butter until melted. Stir in gelatin powder until evenly colored. Pour over popcorn and stir until evenly coated. With buttered hands, shape popcorn into 7 oval shapes. Flatten one oval shape slightly and squeeze one end to form a “skull” shape. Place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining shapes. To decorate: Press two gum balls into each skull to form “eyes.” Press candy corn into skull to form “teeth.” Use scissors to trim candy strips and press into top for “hair.” Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles. Allow “zombies” to set for about 20 minutes before wrapping individually in plastic wrap (or serve immediately).

For more recipes, tips and information about popcorn and Popcorn Poppin’ Month, October, visit www.popcorn.org or call The Popcorn Board at (312) 644-6610.