At my house, popcorn is it's own food group. My picky eater will eat it every time. My always-starving boy finds it a filling, inexpensive snack. And I love that popcorn satisfies my crunchy, salty cravings without bad fats or gluten. Normally, I like to DIY air pop our popcorn in the microwave, but once we move into our tiny house motor home, I won't be able to do that. (The microwave/convection oven combo in the coach specifically comes with a warning not to. And you do know that store bought microwave popcorn not only has unhealthy fats, but the chemicals in the bag are known to cause cancer, right?) So I'll be popping our popcorn on the stove.
If you've always had microwave popcorn, you may be totally unaware that it's just as easy to make popcorn on the stove top using an ordinary pan with a lid - or, if you prefer, a whirly-popper. Some people actually prefer stove top methods, and I admit, the popcorn does seem to have more flavor when made this way.
How to Make Popcorn with an Ordinary Pot
What You'll Need:
about 3 tablespoons oil (I use olive oil, but I know people who love their popcorn made with coconut oil)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
3 qt. pan with a lid (a heavier pan works best)
How to do It:
1. Place the pan over medium high heat and add the oil. (If using coconut oil, allow it to melt completely.)
2. Put about 3 kernels of popcorn into the pan. Put the lid on the pan.
3. When the kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels. Put the lid on the pan and remove the pan from the burner for 30 seconds.
4. Put the pan back on the stove. Once the kernels start popping, shake the pan back and forth on the burner. (This helps prevent burning.) Keep the lid ajar just a little, to allow steam to escape.
5. When the popping slows down to one pop every two or three seconds, remove the pan from the stove. Remove the lid and pour the popcorn into a bowl.
6. If desired, drizzle melted butter over the popcorn. (I don't do this.) Season with salt.
Making Popcorn with a Whirly-Popper
I grew up making popcorn in an ordinary pan, but just recently, I found a whirly-popper at a church rummage sale. It was 75 cents. It came home with me. And I have to say, we love it! I think it does a better job than the pan method, and is a bit easier, too. You don't have to shake the pan or try to keep the lid ajar. Here's how you do it:*
1. Pour about 3 tablespoons of oil into the popper. Place the pan on the stove over medium high heat. (If using coconut oil, wait until it's totally melted before proceeding to the next step.)
2. Add 1/2 cup popcorn kernels. Shut the lid.
3. Slowly rotate the handle on the popper. In about 5 seconds, the handle should make a full rotation. This stirs the kernels and prevents burning.
4. The kernels will start popping. Keep turning the handle. Once you feel resistance when turning the handle, stop and remove the popper from the stove.
5. Pour the popcorn into a bowl. If desired, drizzle with butter. (Again, I don't do this.) Season with salt.
So, so, SO good!
* Always follow the manufacturer's directions, which might vary a bit from these steps.