My cousin and I were recently discussing an article we read called Seven Foods You Should Never Eat. One of the no-no’s was microwave popcorn. The article told about the toxic (possibly cancer causing) chemicals that are present in the lining of the bag. The article said that studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize–and migrate into your popcorn. That’s enough right there to make me think twice about eating a bag of microwave popcorn. And I don’t know if you have ever looked at the ingredients in a bag of microwave popcorn, but I have, and you can believe me when I tell you how unhealthy they are. Hydrogenated oil is one of the ingredients that should always be a red flag. Hydrogenated oil has been chemically altered to make the oil more shelf stable. When hydrogenated oil is made they take the healthy, cholesterol lowering, unsaturated fats, and convert them to a fatty acid known as trans fat. These unhealthy fats are known to increase bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol. Talk about a serious artery clogger. If you see hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil on an ingredient list, and you will see it often, run (don’t walk) the other way (the exercise is good for you!).
So back on topic. Today I am going to show you how to make popcorn two different ways. Both easy, healthy, and in ScrimplyThrifty fashion…cheap!
DO IT YOURSELF MICROWAVE POPCORN
The first is easy microwave popcorn. You will need popcorn (the plain store brand popcorn that you can buy in a bag for a dollar or two will work just fine). You will also need plain brown lunch bags. 1 Tablespoon of butter (or oil) is optional. First Place about 1/3-1/4 cup of popcorn in the paper bag, then add the butter on top of the popcorn, if desired. You can opt to put it on after the popcorn is cooked, your choice. If you like the soppy buttery type popcorn, putting it on after is the way to go. Putting it in the bag just gives it a light buttery flavor, and a not-so-messy-to-eat popcorn. Ok, now just roll the bag a few times. I fold mine in a little on the corners to make sure it doesn’t open whilst popping. Place the bag on a plate (if butter is added) and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Just do like you do with store bought popcorn and listen closely. When the popping slows, it’s time to turn it off. Don’t strive to make sure every kernel is popped. Because we all know how unappealing burnt popcorn to everyone in the house…and maybe even your neighbors. he he! Be careful when you open it, steam burns! Dump it into a bowl, add your favorite toppings, shake it around a bit and there you have it! Yum!
EASY HOMEMADE STOVE TOP POPCORN
The second way to make popcorn is on the stove. This is also really easy, but not as easy as plopping it in a bag and nuking it! This recipe is for all of you die hard naturalists! I understand your plight, I really do, but sometimes it’s difficult to give up the convenience of just zapping stuff!
You will start with a basic three or four quart saucepan with a snug fitting lid. Heavy bottom pans are best. You will add 3 Tablespoons of oil (I prefer coconut oil- but any high smoke point oil will work just fine) and three kernels of popcorn. Heat pan on medium high heat. When two or three kernels in the pan pop, add 1/3 cup of popcorn into the oil in an even layer. Replace the lid, remove from heat, and count 30 seconds. This method brings the oil up to the right temperature as well as bringing all the kernels to a temperature where they will all be ready to pop at nearly the same time (leaving few kernels un-popped). Return the pan to the heat, and the popcorn will soon begin to pop, all at once! When this happens, tilt the lid only slightly to allow steam to escape, and gently shake the pan back and forth over the burner. when the popping slows down to 5-6 seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, pour it into a big bowl, and add butter and salt if desired. And there you have it! Easy homemade healthy popcorn that will cost you pennies,
Oils to try: Coconut, Corn Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or Bacon fat.
Flavorings/Toppings: Tabasco, Curry, Cumin, Chili pepper, Cayenne, or black pepper & grated parmesan cheese. Garlic butter & finely grated cheddar cheese.
I once perfected a recipe to make homemade kettle corn, but I don’t think I ever wrote down the recipe. It was so good that I couldn’t quit making it but finally I just had to stop! I’ll try it again one of these days and when I do, I’ll add it to this post. Beware though, If you do try it yourself, it is VERY addictive.
Happy popping everyone!