Monday, March 16, 2009

Make your own: Microwave popcorn (Stove top instructions too)

I love popcorn but it's hard to stomach the price of the microwave variety . There are other solutions though. Making your own microwave popcorn is really simple, even your kids can do it, and homemade popcorn costs about 4 cents a cup!

Paper bag method
You will need 1/4 cup of unpopped kernels and a brown paper lunch bag

How to:
Place the kernels in the bag and fold the top over tightly a few times
Microwave on high for about 2 minutes or until popping slows. Time will vary slightly with each microwave.

That's it!
Eat, eat! Yum yum yum! This doesn't make a lot, only one serving.

Stove top method
You will need 1/3 cup oil (I used canola), 1 cup unpopped popcorn and a large pot with a lid

How to:
Heat the oil in the pot until hot but not smoking and then add 3 kernels. Loosely close the lid to let steam escape and wait until those kernels pop. When they do the oil is hot enough. I take out those popped kernels and discard them but you don't have to. 
Add the rest of the kernels to the hot oil, place the lid back on top (still with room for air and steam to escape otherwise you will get soggy popcorn)
Listen for the popping and shake the pot occasionally to keep the kernels from burning and sticking. Once the popping slows down remove from the heat and serve. 
This method makes 4 times the amount made in the paper bag method and is perhaps a better way if you are making a lot.

Popcorn is very versatile and can be seasoned many different ways, from caramel, to cheese, to butter and salt to whatever is in your spice cupboard. Experiment with what you like.  Remember, air and oil popped corn are healthier than a lot of other snack foods out there (maybe not with caramel on it heh heh) so making the switch from a bag of chips to a bag of popcorn with spices on it isn't only cheaper but is also healthier too.
The paper bag method travels well too. Pack the bag with your seasoning (Salt, pepper or spices) in your lunch and impress everyone when you pop it in the workplace microwave. You might have to share though.
I have never put butter or margarine in the paper bag before popping and I no longer own a microwave so if someone does this can they please comment and let us know if that works.

I do not find a difference between the store brand kernels and the expensive name brand so I suggest pinching some pennies and get the generic kernels. Store the kernels in an air tight container in a cool dry place. Do not put them in the fridge because they will dry out there and they need to have some moisture in order to pop. 

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