May 15, 2013

Air-Popping Popcorn Without an Air-Popper

If you are like me- you read too much. Somehow I always end up reading those stories about which food products are killing me lately. One I remember reading was about the chemicals that can be in a bag of microwave popcorn and while fine as an occasional treat, it really didn't provide the benefits of a low-fat snack when all of the oils were added for flavor plus it was full of carcinogens. Legend has it that an office worker died of cancer after 10 years of daily microwave popcorn eating. Don't check me on Snopes- it's probably not true. It is true though that microwave popcorn leaves a filmy feeling and has an off-taste for me.

I tried doing the old-style method with the metal and puffy foil contraption you shake for eternity over an open stove burner. First, I'm not not called klutz for nothing. Me + Hot Thing + Attempt at Shaking in a Controlled Manner = Recipe for Hilarious YouTube Video. Plus- it just was not consistent in popping. I'd get bored or tired or burn myself and wouldn't care about popcorn anymore halfway through  my dramatic interpretation of a Richard Simmons "Sweatin' for Your Popcorn" tape.

Truth is- the healthiest way is to air-pop your popcorn. I looked into getting a contraption for air-popping popcorn and really didn't want to add another kitchen appliance for a snack item. I talked myself out of it because it wasn't versatile  Also- it cost money. It is healthier though. No fat, very little calories and a whole grain treat.

Don't despair- I stumbled across a technique that I absolutely did not believe.... until I tried it. It works wonderfully. Here is how to get air-popped popcorn using your microwave, a glass or ceramic bowl, and a dinner plate:

Buy some loose popcorn kernels  A bag only costs a few dollars and will last you forever.

Pour 1/4 cup of kernels into a large ceramic or glass bowl. (I like glass because I can watch it pop.) DO NOT add anything else into the bowl like oil, butter, or water.

Cover the bowl with an upside-down dinner plate- allowing for a little gap so that steam can escape.

Microwave those beauties on high between 4-5 minutes. Stop when it gets to a few seconds between pops.

Crazy, right!? Results- sweet, crisp, air-popped popcorn sans extra cabinet hogging appliance. 1/4 of a cup of kernels pops enough for 3 to share.

I personally like white popcorn but yellow corn will work too. I have found that the flavor of the name brands is slightly sweeter than the store brand and the number of unpopped kernels was less but the store-brand bag was undated so it could have been older- just my experience.

Our favorite topping lately has been to melt a tablespoon of butter in the microwave with 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1tsp cumin, and a shake or two to taste of chipotle pepper (yes- they sell that in the spice aisle. I use it on everything.) Pour and toss popcorn for a little Texas popcorn kick. Want that kettle corn taste? Do the same with sugar and salt instead. We have also ignored the butter and sprinkled on some cinnamon or just gobbled it up plain. It's made for a super fast, tasty treat. Enjoy!

This post was written by Sarah of Just Off Normal. Visit her Etsy shop for handmade toys, games, puzzles and engraveables, or her blog formore craft ideas and other goodies!