Monday, November 10, 2008

Natural, Nutritious, and Cheap - Real Popcorn

About six months ago, I switched from all natural microwave popcorn to popping it on the stove top, and we will not go back. Why?
  • It's healther.
  • It's yummier.
  • It's a lot less expensive.
  • It creates a lot less waste.
Pretty good reasons, huh? The kids just had a four day weekend, and we made a lot of popcorn. They had a houseful of friends over on one of the days, and I had a bunch of 6-10 years asking for snacks every hour on the hour. I was cutting up apples, searching in the back of my frig for stray yogurts, and trying to keep them out of the Halloween candy bowl. 

On an occassion like that I also always turn to popcorn. In about 7 minutes, I can pop enough to fill my biggest bowl using my dutch oven. I put a little olive oil in the bottom (I don't even coat the bottom of the pan completely like suggested.) When it's done popping, I put in two huge pinches of kosher salt, shake it up a bit, dump it into the bowl and top it off with a little more salt. 

You know what? The kids love it. They don't miss the fake buttery taste of microwave popcorn. They never ask why I don't slather it with real butter. They probably don't even realize it's healthy. 

According to
  • Popcorn is a whole grain food which makes it a complex carbohydrate that is not only low in calories, but a good source of fiber.
  • Popcorn is low in calories -- only 31-55 calories in one cup of unbuttered, and when lightly buttered, one cup still only has 133 calories.
  • Popcorn has no artificial additives or preservatives, and is sugar-free.
  • Popcorn contains energy-producing carbohydrates.
  • Popcorn is ideal for between meal snacking since it satisfies and doesn't spoil an appetite.
  • Popcorn inspires creativity. While there's no doubt hot buttered popcorn is pleasing to any palate, popcorn also can be enjoyed when combined with seasonings, spices and other foods like raisins, fruit and cheese providing a nutritious, delicious snack.
Popping your own popcorn on the stove instead of microwaving individual packets is more eco-friendly, too. There's a lot less packaging involved. There's just one plastic bag that holds the kernels and it can be reused when empty. Compare that with the box, the individual plastic wrappers, and the individual bags that come along with microwave popcorn. 

A whole bag costs me $1.39. Now there's a bargain. 

Next time you're at the store, look at the bottom shelf below the microwave popcorn boxes. Chances are, that is where you'll find the bags of popcorn kernels. Pick one up and try it for yourself. You may never go back.

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Allison said...

I have actually been wanting to pop my own on the stovetop but keep forgetting to look for instructions. Thanks for showing me how. Now where is that dutch oven?

GJK said...

I've been using Keith's Stir Crazy popcorn popper for 20 years now and just decided it's time for it to be retired. I was going to put a new popper on my Christmas list. So, educate me again, Robin -- I fully agree with scrapping the microwave stuff (I always burn it anyway) but why on the stove instead of in a popper?

Robin Shreeves said...

gjk - on the stove for no other reason than I don't have a popper. If you do it in a hot air popper, it will be completely fat free unless you put butter on it.

If you like using a popper go for it. I suppose you could say that using the kitchen appliances you already have that will do the job instead of going out and buying a new appliance is greener, but if you're going to get a lot of use out of it, I think it's an okay purchase. Unlike the bright orange Le Crueset dutch oven I want just because I think it will make my soup taste better just by way of it being so cool looking. I've resisted buying it so far...

Melissa said...

I make popcorn on the stove also, and there is just no comparison to the taste!
If you add a small amount of sugar right after it starts popping you can make great homemade kettle corn too.