In my work as a Dietitian I have come to discover that people can be classified in 1 of 2 ways: Salty-Crunchy or Sweet-Chewy. In general, people tend to gravitate towards salty-crunchy foods like chips, popcorn and pretzels or towards sweet and chewy foods like cookies, candy and ice cream. This doesn’t mean that you can’t like both, but we all have our favorites. Which type of snack do you more often choose when you are feeling a little “snacky”? To help you out, what type of crumbs are in your couch cushions?
I am proud to say that I am a Salty-Crunchy! I tend to crave foods like chips, popcorn and nuts. So, in true salty-crunchy fashion, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite ways to make popcorn (besides the microwave option). I will admit that I have 4 different types of popcorn seeds in my cupboards at this moment. I have the typical yellow and white you can buy from the store, plus blue (only the outside seed is blue. When it pops it is white – a little disappointing, but still delicious) and then no popcorn enthusiast’s collection is complete without Boy Scouts popcorn!
My second biggest pet peeve when it comes to popcorn is too many unpopped kernels. It is such a waste of crunchy deliciousness. –My biggest pet peeve is when there isn’t salt on every piece! (Quit gasping, just because I’m a dietitian doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a little salty indulgence now and then). So I made it my Saturday afternoon goal to find the perfect way to make popcorn and minimize those poor little unpopped kernels. After scouring countless websites I finally uncovered the BEST way to make popcorn. (Okay, so I went to the Jolly Time popcorn website and took their recipe!) Either way, here is a fail-proof way to make popcorn without fear of burnt corn or oodles of kernels:
All you need:
3 Tbsp canola, peanut or grapeseed oil (high smoke point oil)
1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
1 3-quart covered saucepan
2 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter
Salt to taste
All you do:
1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium-high heat.
2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.
3. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud; it’s fun to do with kids.) This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.
4. Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper). Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop (I counted 4 unpopped kernels in my last batch), and nothing burns.
5. If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.
6. Salt to taste.
Additional toppings: Parmesan cheese, crushed Kale Chips, smoked paprika, chipotle salt.
Yield: Makes 2 quarts, a nice amount for two people, or for one hungry one.