Friday, September 17, 2010

Food For Friday: Homemade Popcorn

In recent months, I've been on a homemade popcorn kick.  It's one of my favorite snacks, is a healthier alternative to other munchies like potato chips, and it is a whole grain and good source of fiber.  With the chemicals used in microwave popcorn having come under scrutiny as "likely carcinogens," a quick and easy batch of homemade popcorn is a tasty and healthier alternative.  If I can have a great snack in less than 5 minutes with no added chemicals and know exactly what ingredients I put in, I'd prefer to skip the unneeded chemicals that I can't pronounce!  (I don't miss the added fat either!)
You only need a large lidded pan, your stovetop, and three simple ingredients: olive oil, popcorn kernels, and salt.  And really, the salt is optional.  (I prefer to use yellow popcorn because it pops fuller, but it's a matter of taste preference.  You can use white or yellow popcorn.)  After experimenting with ratios of oil to popcorn, I've found my perfect combination to be 3 tbls. oil and 1/3 cup popcorn.
Put 3 tbls. olive oil in your 3 quart or larger lidded pan.  Add 2-3 popcorn kernels and place the lid on the pan, then turn on the burner to medium heat.  Give the oil a shake every minute or so until all the kernels have popped.  This lets you know that the oil is hot and ready for the rest of the kernels to be added.  Be sure that all 3 of the kernels pop or you risk getting "popped" with hot oil and a flying piece of popcorn if you remove the lid with an unpopped kernel remaining! 
After all of your test kernels have popped, pour in 1/3 cup popcorn kernels and quickly replace the lid.
Using oven mitts or potholders, lift and shake the pan side to side every 15 seconds or so, to move the kernels around in the hot oil.  It will start popping rapidly.  It's important to keep shaking the pan so the kernels don't burn.  If you have kids and a spot where they can see but not touch, they would probably enjoy watching it pop!
It usually takes just a few minutes for the popcorn to finish popping.  Listen for the popping to slow to several seconds between pops, and when it sounds like most of the kernels have popped, remove the pan from the heat.  Let it sit for a minute or two with the lid on, until any final pieces are done popping (since any remaining kernels usually continue to pop for a minute or so after you remove it from the heat.)
This is when I remove the lid, and add a little bit of popcorn salt to the top, give it a little shake, and dump it into a bowl.  Then I add a little bit more salt to the top of the bowl to make sure it's evenly salted.  It's that fast & easy!
Then grab a movie or your family & friends and enjoy!  I think popcorn is a perfect snack for the cooler temperatures of fall, and also a great snack for Saturday football marathons.  My hubby takes care of those in our family!

If microwave kettle corn is what you crave, there is one quick addition to this recipe that allows you to have delicious homemade kettle corn!  When you add the popcorn kernels to the hot oil after your test kernels have popped, pour in the popcorn, then sprinkle 3 tbls. of sugar on top of the kernels, and replace the lid.  Pop as usual.  I would recommend measuring the 3 tbls. of suger into a little bowl so you can quickly pour it in with the popcorn and get the lid back on before the first kernels start popping!  When the popcorn is finished popping, salt as directed above and immediately pour into a bowl.  If you let it sit in the hot pan for too long after it has popped, it will caramelize & burn.


Liz said...

Yum!! I'm going to try doing popcorn this way from now on, thanks for sharing! ~Liz

Bonnie Nyquist said...

Your method looks wonderful,I have forgotten the simple things! I see you mention using 1/2C then 1/3C popcorn,which is correct? Bonnie Nyquist bonniesline at aol dot com