Monday, April 20, 2009

popcorn made from scratch

I made a very exciting discovery this weekend: popcorn made from scratch, with no special equipment and no microwave. That's right--low tech popcorn--who knew? You saw this post, right? Which led me to this picture on Soulemama's photostream, where so many mamas were commenting on the wonders of popcorn. Soulemama graciously answered my question, "so how do all you mamas pop your corn?"
Turns out it's headspinningly easy. Try this: take a big stockpot, the kind you use to make soup in, put in 1 T. canola oil and 1/2 c. popcorn (yeah, I was able to find just regular popcorn amongst all the microwave corn). Put it over medium-high heat, with the lid on, and wait. It will start popping on its own! When the popping begins to slow, remove it. That's it! No scary shaking of the pan or anything remotely skill-requiring! By the way, I found that the popcorn is even tastier and the salt sticks better when I use 2 T. of canola oil--I'm decadent that way.
Turns out Dieter and Faith and I are very into popcorn. Too bad I didn't know about this when I was "vegan 'til six"--what an excellent vegan snack. Anyway, here's the thing I'm so amazed over: how did we all get to thinking that we need an extra gadget to make simple popcorn? I remember growing up in the 70's having a cool oil popper with a hard clear lid so you could see the corn popping. Then in the 80's remember when everyone was getting air poppers? No way were my parents going for that--no flavor! Later, we all just started making mircrowave popcorn--but how gross is that, with all its chemicals and how it is so prone to burning. Yuck. So now, we can get back to basics. I can tell that "popcorn from scratch" is going to be one of our very favorite afternoon snacks.

I'm back to work today, feeling refreshed and fortified. Only eight more weeks until summer break (I was a bit optimistic when I said six before)--my mind is spinning with plans and ideas. Happy Monday to everyone!

29 comments:

Lisa said...

We have the new version of the old fashioned popper- put oil in the bottom and a little wand moves around the kernels. Hard domed top with mysterious holes- do we put butter there to melt? seems messy. It makes really yummy popcorn, when I think to pull it out.

Joy said...

Hmmm...so it doesn't burn, even without the shaking? I'm lazy and just buy organic microwave popcorn. I've always been too tense to try the kettle-shaking way my dad always made popcorn. Maybe I'll give it a try. Any ideas for making kettle corn? My kids beg for that, but I'm scared of what Orville might have put in it. :)

Tia said...

As far as I am concerned, this is the only way to have popcorn. I have been having it this way for years and it is delicious! So glad you discovered it!

Sarah and Jack said...

Just in case you didn't already know this trick, you can make your own microwave corn too.

Just pour 1/3 cup of kernals into a brown paper lunch sack, fold down the top and pop for around 2 minutes.

voila! Microwave corn with no funky chemical taste.

Tori said...

I've tried the brown paper bag microwave version which is yummy but the stove top might be easier! All I can find is the regular size lunch sacks which always seem too small. Thanks for the tip!

Jenna aka Town&Country Mouse, formerly Citygirl said...

Yay!! Isn't this the greatest?? I used to make "regular" popcorn all the time until I had kids (and babywearing kinda scared me off of standing over a hot stockpot with popping oil) But after the brewhaha over the micropopcorn production causing health problems for the workers...well, I felt it was time to get back to common sense. The best part, like you mentioned is that I can use the same pot (no need for more things/clutter).
We cook ours in unrefined (nice and dark) peanut oil. But I can't wait to try coconut oil...I heard from the Bethany Actually blog that tastes great too-- http://bethanyactually.com/friends-mini-kites-and-popcorn-at-the-park/

Chris said...

No shaking of the pot? I always shake the pot, but perhaps I will try it next time without shaking. The pot version is our standard popcorn. I've tried adding sugar to make kettle corn, but so far I haven't gotten the heat/amount just right. (Supposedly you can just add some sugar in with kernels when the oil is hot.)

Jessica said...

I've got to get some real popcorn now at the store!

Andrea said...

I too have been doing popcorn this way for years. Yep, no shaking. I even walk away and just come back when i don't hear much popping any more. Also, I have discovered that white popcorn is so much nicer than the standard yellow. The kernels are smaller and you don't end up with the sharp bits stuck in your teeth nearly as often. Here in So Cal though I can only find it at Albertsons and Ralphs markets. Give it a try and see the difference.

christina said...

Pot popped popcorn is the Best! I do it on occasion. I need to experiment more with flavors as my two little ones aren't that into it plain. Even with some butter and salt they aren't impressed. So far they do like it with cinnamon and sugar! I've always shook it over the stove though, i'll have to just let it be next time.

Anonymous said...

We do this often also! Tastes great I agree! For a little added flavor, after popping we mix butter & flax oil...salt and YUM! A little omegas and the kids are none the wiser!

wayfarer said...

i love making popcorn from scratch. My son loves it too. He's 3. But i can't tell you how many adults tell me to get a popcorn maker and i just never saw why. Why the extra clutter and dish. Why take away the fun? Then of course for christmas, i get a popcorn maker. I hate it. There it sits wayyyy back in the cabinet because i can't donate it because the person is a frequent visitor. argh. I love simplicity. Simplicity is fun. Simplicity is good for the environment and good for teaching kids that their food comes from natural places. Thanks for letting me rant. :-)

Julie said...

I saw that post too! We love having popcorn from scratch for dinner and like to include sliced apples and cheese along side.

Evenspor said...

I don't care for popcorn popped in oil, so I use the paper bag in the microwave method. For the mamas looking for new flavors to try, here's a recipe I like for "Cool Ranch" popcorn. Everyone I've made it for loves it:

http://desertspor.blogspot.com/2008/06/feeling-snacky.html

Note: This recipe is for if your popcorn is dry, like cooked in a paper bag or an air popper. If you cook it in oil on the stove, you probably don't need the oil in the recipe. You could probably just sprinkle the dry ingredients on. But I can't guarantee anything, since I haven't tried it that way myself.

Sheila D. said...

My husband and I are not huge fans of microwave popcorn. We would want popcorn, buy a box of the microwave pop kind, and then only eat one bag! The rest would sit in our cupboard for the longest time!

Well, I read this post, over at smallnotebook, and we can't get enough!

It's funny (or saddening) that we have to be reminded of simpler times!

Thanks for sharing your convert!

Nina said...

You read my mind. Thanks for the inspiration.

We've been microwaving popcorn in a plain brown paper bag for years. Simple and cheap, but recently I decided to unplug the microwave for various reasons. We have only two problems without the microwave, popcorn and we don't know what time it is. I keep looking in the direction of where the microwave was and realizing how often I looked at the clock.

Off the make an afternoon snack. I hope you are having a peaceful day back to work.

melissa s. said...

we use olive oil which adds a little extra flavor, very yummy. also, it sounds weird but a sprinkle of nutritional yeast adds flavor and well...a little nutrition :-)
happy popping!

Di said...

Yum - I love popcorn! I remember my mum telling me that at the end of the second world war when she was a small child candy rationing in the UK lasted until the 1950s and family friends once sent popcorn kernels from the US for them to try and she and her sisters had fun cooking them - unfortunately they didn't realise they needed to put the lid on the pan!

Elizabeth said...

We've just always used any old pot to make popcorn. Am I the only one who doesn't own a microwave?

Saver Queen said...

Popcorn is an excellent frugal snack. Make sure to coat the kernals in the oil so it's all evenly distributed. The options for toppings are endless, btw - you don't have to stick to salt!

Saver Queen said...

Sarah and Jack - I use this trick all the time. However I do find that it is more prone to burning this way.

Melissa said...

I'm always afraid of having to put a lot of butter on it-- but the canola oil helps with the flavor, huh? I buy our popping corn, which I never pop because of the aforementioned butter issues, at Earth Fare in the bulk section, by the way.

Peggy said...

I make popcorn as a snack at least 3 times a week. There is the mama version with only salt and the papa version with lots of butter. Mama's version is for healthy snacking. Papa's is reserved for movie night (that is also the only time the kids drink root beer).

Maiz said...

Here's a tip if you must make it buttery (although I enjoy other toppings, sometimes I just MUST): After you pour the popcorn into the bowl, put the pot back on the stove and put in a generous pat of butter. When it's melted, take it off the heat and put the popcorn back in. Cover it and shake the pot to coat the popcorn. Add salt and shake again. Perfection! (And no extra clean-up!)

Rach said...

We love popcorn here and I have been known to eat it for my dinner. I have never used the microwave stuff - just the regular popping corn. I do give it a little shake every now and then. x

Andrea said...

This is how we always make popcorn and it is so good and easy and delicious (for extra fun, I buy the multicolored popcorn kernels at the health food store). It reminds me of the time my friend asked me in about 4th grade, "how do you make tea without a microwave?" It's so easy to let technology take over!

vincent said...

My boyfriends mother gave us her old air popper, and I use it. It is kind of tasteless, but no oil required and I like it. I still make it on the stove for my boyfriend, this is really our favorite way. So, quick and easy. We use the organic kind and it is so GOOD...

Elaina said...

you inspired a movie night with stove-popped corn at our place this weekend. so yummy (much better than our usual microwave popcorn) and a great change of routine. thank you!

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