Skip to main content

Healthier Popcorn

We eat a lot of popcorn in our family.  And I mean a LOT.  We buy our popcorn kernels in bulk, by the 25 lb bag-full.  Yeah....we eat a lot of popcorn.  When we first got married, it was microwave popcorn. While it may taste pretty good, we figured out that microwave popcorn isn't the best for you.  Since moving more towards real food, we have found a happy place with our popcorn making, and I want to share our recipe and method with you, as well as some other options.

We use a stove top popcorn popper when we make popcorn at our house.  We were introduced to this method by my brother-in-law who would make us theater style popcorn whenever we would visit them.  He used the actual oil and popcorn salt that they used in movie theaters (purchased at Sam's Club) in his stove top popper.  That is originally how we used our popper as well, but then I started looking for healthier options.  This recipe is our favorite variation so far.

Photo Credit: Amazon
You'll need:

1. Stovetop popcorn popper (like the one on the right)
2. 2 tbs. Refined Coconut Oil
3. Scant 2/3 cup Popcorn Kernels
4. Course ground salt

Put your stove top popper on your stove top.  Turn heat to somewhere below Medium and whatever the next lowest number is.  Heat is important in this recipe, too hot and the kernels won't fully pop and you will end up hard and crunchy and, possibly, painful.  It is better to err on the low side for this one, even if it takes a little longer to cook.

Add 2 tbs of refined coconut oil.  This oil has NO coconut flavor.  I have found good, organic refined coconut oil at my local Winco, for about $10 for about 1.5 quarts, which is where I usually buy it.  But recently I found a whole GALLON of nutiva brand refined coconut oil at Costco for $16.  I was ecstatic.  I am probably going to go by two more gallons and throw them in my freezer and see how they do....I'll let you know how that goes.

Add a scant 2/3 cup popcorn kernels. I usually buy organic kernels at the health foods store nearby, but I'm not always super picky about it.  Close the lid and wait, turning the crank every couple of minutes.  When you start to hear the kernels popping, start turning.  If the popping stops, you can take a break for a little while, too.  Once the popping is pretty much constant, keep the crank turning until it won't turn any more.  Once it won't turn, remove from heat, but let the popping slow down before you pour the popcorn into a large mixing bowl.

Once in the bowl, top with course salt to taste. I use Himalayan Pink Salt in a salt grinder, also purchased at Costco.  Put some salt on top, and then toss the popcorn in it to coat it well.  I always do a little dash on top that I don't mix in since some of the salt settles to the bottom.  Enjoy!!

A note:  We rarely wash our popper.  Sound gross? Not really.  I figure the heat pretty much kills any icky stuff in there, and all that is left behind is the oil.  Anyone who has ever fried anything knows that you can reuse oil until it goes rancid, so leaving some in the kettle isn't a big deal.  The oil leaves the kettle seasoned much in the same way you would season cast iron.  This allows for using less oil in the future.  If this is your first batch in your kettle, or if it is squeaky clean, you may have to add 1/2-1 tbs extra coconut oil that first batch.  We wash ours if it starts to smell a little off, that means that something has gone rancid, but this rarely ever happens since we use it so often and the heat keeps it pretty clean.  BUT, if not washing you kettle bothers you, or if you feel it is unsafe, or if you are only using it once in a blue moon, by all means, wash away.

Variations:  I grew up topping my popcorn with Lawry's salt, and I have also enjoyed garlic salt and dehydrated Parmesan cheese on my popcorn.  In the mood for something sweet? Add 1/4 cup sugar to the kettle about the time it starts popping to make Kettle Corn...but just know that it may give your next batch a sweet flavor as well if you don't always wash between uses.

There are lots of other alternatives to the microwave popcorn bags you can buy in the store.
Photo Credit: Amazon





 1. Air popped.  This is the popcorn I grew up with, straight from the air popper, topped with lots, and lots of butter and salt.  The down side to this baby is that when you add oil or butter it shrivels up the popcorn....this is actually an issue for my kids who look at it and turn up their noses without even giving it a try.  I say, the soggier the better.  Just follow the machines' instructions for perfect popcorn.
Photo Credit: Amazon








2. Microwave.  Didn't I just say that microwave popcorn is bad for you?  Yes, but I was referring to the pre-packaged baggies full of all those nasty artificial flavors and colors.  There are plenty of gizmos that also allow you to pop popcorn in the microwave, some are made of plastic (which I tend to shy away from), some are made of silicone.  OR, I have heard of people using paper lunch bags to pop popcorn in the microwave.  Most of the microwave methods don't make large batches, so you might have to make several for a crowd.


The photos used in this post link to Amazon searches for products in case anyone wants to shop around. I also included affiliate links to some of the products. HAPPY POPCORN MAKING!!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tip For Peeling Eggs

The best part of having your own chickens is fresh eggs.  Since spring feels like it has arrived in our neck of the woods, our chickens have ramped up their egg production significantly in the last couple of weeks.  This occurred right after I bought a dozen and a half eggs from Costco since I wasn't expecting to have so many fresh ones on hand for a few weeks yet.  Oops.  So here I was with a huge amount of eggs, trying to figure out what to do with them.  Then I remembered a family pot luck we had coming up and decided it would be the perfect opportunity to use up a dozen or more eggs in hard-boiled form on a big batch of potato salad.  Since I was making hard boiled eggs, I though I'd share my little trick for peeling them.

I never realized that people have a hard time peeling hard boiled eggs until I got married and my husband was complaining one day about how he couldn't get the eggs peeled very easily.  Then I noticed one day my mother-in-law struggling to peel a …

10 Ideas For Leftover Baby Food

Ah, baby food.  Whether you make and freeze your own purees in large quantities, or buy it commercially, chances are you're going to have a plethora of leftover fruits, veggies, and perhaps even meats once that tiny tot of yours decides that "real" food tastes SO much better and, lets just face it, its much more fun to feed himself and chew it up than to have mush in his mouth.  This begs the question: What to do with all of that leftover baby food?  I hope I can help answer that with a few ideas of my own, and a few links from around the web.
1.  Give it to a friend.  Know someone who has a little one just getting ready to start solid foods?  Or perhaps their baby is already on solid food but not ready for table food yet.  Many moms would be very appreciative to receive a gift of baby food for their tyke.  Commercial baby food can eve be given to a mama who is pregnant or just had a baby as long as you do the math and the expiration date is more than 6 months from the d…

Christmas Planning Part II: Our Christmas Gift Philosophy

It is very easy around the Holidays to get caught up in the "magic" of Christmas. And what could be more magical than a giant pile of presents under the tree, right? While this may paint a lovely picture, it can't always be the reality financially. And even if you can swing it for one year, it might set up an expectation or precedent for years to come. Years that might not be as abundant. In our family, we have decided to shift the focus as much as we can from getting and gifts, to giving, making memories, and traditions (more on that to come).  We still give gifts, but we have pared it down quite a bit to make it more manageable.

We have settled on giving our kids 4 presents each year, based around the following rhyme shared with me by a friend: "Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read." I can already hear your brains ticking, "Do you seriously only give your kids ONE TOY at Christmas?" Well, no. These are the fo…