80,000-Year-Old Celtic Popcorn Recipe

January 4, 2015 Updated: January 2, 2016

This easy (potentially 80,000-year-old) recipe for Celtic or caramelized popcorn will you save from microwave popcorn—a nasty modern concoction. Read on to discover all about microwave popcorn, how native Americans popped corn, and how the Aztecs used popcorn to honor their goddess of agriculture, Chicomecoatl. 

A Recipe for 3-Minute Celtic (or Caramel) Popcorn

Use a thick bottom pan with a lid as the popcorn can jump almost 3 feet (a meter high).


  • Organic ghee (clarified butter), coconut oil, red palm oil or olive oil
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons organic corn kernels 
  • 2 tablespoons of organic sugar or 1 tablespoon Celtic sea salt

How to:

  • Melt your clarified butter or oil to cover the bottom of your pan.
  • Cover the bottom of your pan in corn kernels (and put the lid on quickly).
  • Heat medium high until you hear the first kernel pop, then lower the heat as much as possible until the popping stops. Quickly remove the popcorn from the heat and serve in a bowl or deep platter.
  • For Celtic popcorn; immediately sprinkle with Celtic sea salt.
  • For caramel popcorn: heat sugar in the same pan until the sugar melts and turns caramel- colored. Quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix.      

A Ceremonial Snack From Antiquity

Popcorn may well have been a snack ages ago! Scientists believe that the earliest use of wild and early cultivars of corn was for popping. And traces of popcorn have been dated back millennia and certainly to the time of early the American settlers. Even earlier, 5,600-year-old popcorn ears were found in the Mexican Bat Cave and corn pollen dating back an amazing 80,000-years was found underneath Mexico City. 

Early discoverers of America reported that Native Americans popped corn in heated sand and ceramic pottery to eat it ‘as a confection.’

The Aztecs worshiped their goddess of agriculture and the female aspect of maize and plenty, Chicomecoatl. They used the “white flowers” as ceremonial headdresses or necklaces. Chicomecoatl is normally depicted holding an ear or ears of corn.

The Nasty Side of Microwave Popcorn

It’s hard to say how much popcorn Aztecs and Native Americans consumed, but Americans today eat an impressive amount of about 64 billion cups popcorn per year. It would be a nice idea to think of that huge amount of popcorn was homemade because here is the small print to the microwave variety: 

A bag of microwave popcorn contains carcinogenic perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—the same stuff found in Teflon pans. Genetically modified (soy) oil and emulsifiers, trans fats, pesticide residues (if the corn kernels are not organic), Proply Gallat preservative and Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) made from highly toxic butane gas. Natural or artificial flavoring may contain beaver’s anal glands, monosodium glucamate (MSG) or diacetyl butter flavoring. The latter is linked to Alzheimers.

So, enjoy your homemade popcorn!

* Image of popcorn via Shutterstock, image of Aztec goddess via Wikimedia Commons.