And by popcorn I don't mean that nasty bag of crap you stick in the microwave with the fake butter and chemicals and preservatives. Have you ever opened a bad of microwave popcorn and the fake butter powder they put in it gives you an overwhelming urge to cough?? yuuuuuccckkkk....
NO. I mean real popcorn. From the stove top. With a little melted butter (it's BUTTER y'all), a little salt. Or maybe add some sugar and salt for a kettle corn. sometimes I make caramel corn. During Christmas I make white chocolate peppermint corn. It just depends. We just love popcorn. Its like the perfect snack. Crunchy. Salty. sweet. buttery. cant get enough. It is a good source of fiber, and technically popcorn, (according to research), is a whole grain. (AND) it is full of anti oxidants called polyphenols, which help fight and neutralize harmful free radicals. one serving of popcorn has more polyphenols than some fruit! (popcorn should not replace fruit in your diet, thats NOT what I am saying) You should also not drench it in butter and salt either. Just a little bit. everything in moderation.
now that being said...
My biggest beef with popcorn though is how awful it is to make on the stove top. It tastes the best that way though. I've had air poppers. I've tried it in every conceivable machine ever invented. Seriously the best contraption is those popcorn machines like at the movie theaters, but we have neither the time or money to get one of those. OK, I know that they do have the small ones , but I don't have the space to store something. (kitchen and cabinet space are a hot commodity..)
My popcorn routine would usually go something a little like this:
- Pull out my large saucepan from Ikea.
- Put oil in it and turn the stove to medium-high.
- Let the oil heat a tad and drop a kernel or two in and put the cover back on.
- When I heard the kernels pop and hit the lid I would pour the rest of the popcorn in (and pray the hot oil didn't spatter me), put the lid on grab a hot mitt and start shaking.
- I would swirl. I would shake. I would swirl some more. I kept shaking until all the popcorn was done, and pray the lid wouldn't come off during my vigorous popcorn dance.
- I would then bring it over to my large popcorn bowl and dump.
- I would see burnt pieces.
- I would see 1/4 of the unpopped kernels slide out.
No matter how hard i shook and swirled, I couldn't get all the pieces popped. I couldn't get big fluffy pieces with no burn or scorch marks anywhere. i know that part of my problem was the lid to my pan doesn't have a good enough steam escape vent, so a lot of the popcorn would get kind of "soggy" and the kernels couldn't really pop to their true potential.
The top 2/3 of the popcorn dumped out was fine, the bottom third was burnt and unpopped , and all the popcorn was kind of medium sized with a LOT of hull still remaining.. grrrr.
Welllllllll that being said, my life is now complete. Last week while shopping at Aldi's we were walking through the aisles and I saw THIS beauty.
It is the Kitchen Living Popcorn Popper.
I hemmed and hawed. did I REALLY need it? I mean my Ikea pan was fine (as long as I didn't turn it over and look at the underside all scratched and worn from constant shaking across the burner coils). The burn marks from the hot oil spatters were all healed. My method was good enough. Could I REALLY justify spending 15$ on a pan?? The box felt pretty light, was this pan even substantial? reliable? would this just be a waste of money?
My husband came over and said "Oh cool, a popcorn popper. Want it?"
"Well kind of, but 15$, I mean it's a little much.".
"Yes, but do you want it?"
"yes, but it's 15$ and I feel like that's silly for a popcorn popper pan"
"Yes, but do you want it?"
And with no thought, no pros/cons, nothing to give him pause he took it from my hands and dumped it into the cart and went along his merry way. The entire shopping trip I contemplated putting it back. I was doubting myself and this pan. But I let it stay, we purchased it and came home....
Seriously, THIS PAN HAS CHANGED MY LIFE!!!!
no preheating oil. No pan lid that may fly off from the shaking and swirling. none of that. Just one little handle you crank while the popcorn is popping. And boy does it pop. it pops. and pops. and pops. and pops.
It pops like nothing I have ever seen pop before. It pops like a movie theater popper...but on a stovetop!!
NO SHAKING!! No scratched up pan bottoms. No scratched up heating coils on the stove..
It is heaven.
Best part, it is so east to use the handle is so easy to turn that anyone can use it.
The handle is connected to a t shaped antennae of sorts that goes down into the pan and keeps the kernels moving along and keeps the bottom from sticking and scorching.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS??? This means NO more unpopped kernels. Not a single one.
No burnt pieces. none. zero. zilch.
Because of the air vents to let out the steam, all I have remaining int he pan is Big , fluffy, tender pieces of deliciousness.
The pan cools down quickly, and all you do is wipe it out. That's it.
You dump oil and popcorn in all at once. Put the lid on with the locking snap in place and start turning. It heats up really quickly, and pops so fast. All within 3 minutes. THREE MINUTES!!! It is amazing.
You can then dump into your community bowl and drizzle what you will. My new favorite..melting a little butter with some real local honey in it and drizzling the popcorn with the honey butter and sprinkling a little salt. UHHHHHH SOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOD!!!
My favorite popcorn I get at the Local health store called Healthy Home Market. They have a GREAT bulk section of spices, grains, flours, rices, salts, sugars etc.
They have this organic multi color popcorn that is AMAZING. It is about 1.99 a pound. We use about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of kernels for our family of 4. It makes a nice large bowl of popcorn for all of us to share.
Now I know I can get yellow popcorn kernels at Walmart. It is like 1.99 for a 2lb bag of great value yellow popping corn kernels. .And a lot of times I do.
( Once I even bought a 50# bag of yellow popcorn kernels from Sams Club. Yes. I. Did.)
So it cost about 75-80 cents per popcorn session using the multi color verses the cheaper 30-40 cents using generic walmart. Walmart also has a 2.3# orville redenbacher (redenbocker? reddenbacker??) for about 4.98, which is actually MORE expensive than getting it bulk. It really just depends on how serious you are about your popcorn.
I went to healthy Home Market looking for some odd type flour for a bread recipe I was trying. I saw the multi color organic popcorn and it piqued my interest. So I decided to just get a small bag of it to try... I think it ended up being like 1.55 for the amount I got. I popped it up and noticed right away the popcorn that popped was bigger. It was tastier, meatier. It was a gorgeous array of whites and off whites and pale yellows. It was REALLY delicious. There WAS a difference between that popcorn and the popcorn you can get off a shelf at target or walmart or your local grocery store.( I am not just being an insufferable health food store snob. I promise. ) Multi color popcorn will change how you feel about popcorn. you could almost eat it with nothing on it.
So last night i whipped up a batch (in 3 minutes!!!), sat and watched some Big Bang Theory and enjoyed the sheer beauty that is popcorn.