Popcorn!

Did you know that people enjoyed popcorn for centuries before the invention of the microwave?  It’s true!  Microwave popcorn has been getting a lot of bad press lately.  Between the chemicals in the bag liner, hormone distrupting preservatives, and obesity causing hydrogenated oils, most brands of microwave popping corn should come with a warning label!  About a year ago, I decided to switch our family over to Trader Joe’s brand of bagged organic popcorn.  While it didn’t taste as good as the piping hot, freshly popped kernels that I deeply enjoyed, it was worth making the switch for our health. 
About a month ago, one of my good friends sent me a text message asking me what type of oil I popped my popcorn in?  I was completely perplexed!  Too excited to even take the time to type out a reply message, I immediately gave her a call.  “Katie (she has a great name)?!?”, I asked her, “What do you mean?!?  You make your own popcorn?!?  Do you have a special machine?!?”  After telling me that she just pops it on the stove top in her soup pot (and then asking me how did I not know this), she gave me the 411.  I now know that homemade popcorn is really easy and can be made almost as quickly as the microwaved variety.  Even better?  It is really inexpensive!  My local Whole Foods sells organic popping kernels in their bulk bin for $1.99/pound.  (Translation:  $3.00 gets you about a dozen batches of popcorn.  That rocks!)  When made using healthy oils, it is also a nutrient-packed snack that you can feel good about feeding your family!
After feeling as though I was the last to know about stovetop popcorn, I began to ask around.  Turns out, most of the people I spoke with were also unaware that popcorn could be made in a pot.  (See Katie, it is not just me!) It is for that reason that I have chosen popcorn as the second post in my back-to-school snack series.  Because I am always looking for a way to pack more healing herbs and spices into my families diet, I like to pop my kernels in dill-infused olive oil (sounds fancier than it is).  Dill, salt, and corn are a match made in heaven and this crazy concept totally works!  Dill contains limonene and flavonoids.  This means it aids in digestion and is a natural anti-bacterial.  As we approach cold and flu season, I am going to try and feed my family as many natural anti-bacterials as possible.  Organic popping corn is a whole grain that is packed with fiber, niacin, and folate.  Eating organic popcorn while pregnant is a great way to help prevent birth defects and the fiber will help regulate your digestive tract.  Plus, it is a really tasty treat! When serving popcorn to children under five, always stay nearby.  The kernels can pose a choking hazard, so never leave them unattended!  Other than that, have fun going old-school and enjoying popcorn the way our grandparents did.

Ingredients (about 12 cups of popped corn):

Organic popping corn, 1/2 cup
Dried dill, 1/2 tsp (or 1 1/2 tsp fresh)
Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp + additional to drizzle
Sea salt, to taste (I use about 1/2 tsp)

Instructions (5 – 10 minutes):

In a 4-quart or larger soup pot, heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 tsp dried dill over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  When oil is good and hot (you should not have to worry about it smoking at this temperature), add 3 popcorn kernels.  When one of them pops, add additional 1/2 cup kernels.  Stir kernels with a wooden spoon to thoroughly coat kernels with oil.  Cover with a tight fitting lid.

Allow kernels to pop until the popping slows to one kernel every two seconds (same as you would microwave popcorn).  Remove lid and immediately transfer to a large serving bowl.  Drizzle with additional olive oil (I use about 2 tbsp) and season with 1/2 tsp sea salt, or however much salt tastes good to you.  Serve and enjoy!

Notes:  If you are a buttered popcorn addict, feel free to use melted butter in place of the additional olive oil at the end.  Using real butter is still way healthier than “butter-flavored” alternatives.  (You do still need to use oil for the actual popping.)  Both girls (and Darren) love this recipe!  Even little Ellie gets excited when the corn starts popping.  My homemade popcorn recipe is naturally vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and nut free.  This makes it a great snack to take to your next playdate, girls night in, or just an afternoon at the park! 

Does this sound delicious?  You may also enjoy…
Kale Chips (Seriously!)
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders
Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars

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Truestar Health

Comments

  1. I was lucky enough to sample this and it is awesome. I've also made it at home!!!! Since my Steven likes buttered popcorn- We drizzled some butter (rSBT free) on top!!!! It was amazing!!!!!

  2. There are also popcorn poppers to place on the stove top, makes it a little easier than the pan—we've been using them for about 40 years!! The dill idea sounds great!

  3. Thanks Aly! You are actually the reason I added the butter comment! 250 peppermint bon bons are in my freezer. About 2 dozen of them just aren't pretty enough. Any thoughts on what to do with them? 🙂

  4. Lee– I've seen the popcorn machines, but had just never purchased one. I've got to admit, if I bought every kitchen gadget that appealed to me, we would need a bigger house! Thanks for all of the people you've shared Healthnut Foodie with. I really appreciate it and always love reading your comments!

  5. Can you give me a tip on how to avoid burnt popcorn? If I try to transfer it as soon as the popping slows, when I take the lid off I get popcorn jumping out of the pot (and hot oil splatters on my arms). If I let it sit on the counter for a few moments to cool down a bit, I get burnt popcorn pieces.

  6. Anonymous…

    Okay, I've done some thinking on this. Are you cooking your popcorn over medium heat? It takes longer for the oil to heat, but is crucial to prevent the popcorn from scorching. Cooking it over a lower heat will also prevent the popped kernels from burning while the remaining kernels finish popping. My only other thought would be that maybe you are not using a big enough pot. I suggest using a 4-quart or larger soup pot to give the kernels enough space. Let me know if this helps! If not, I will think a bit more!

  7. Thanks for sharing… my mom used to make popcorn from a pot too when we were young. Thankf for letting us know about the corn kernels at whole foods. I will definitely get me some of those! 🙂

  8. Mumsy- Your welcome! Those $1.99 kernels have saved me so much money! I love that you still remember eating fresh popcorn as a child. I hope that my girls look back on their experiences fondly as well!

  9. Anonymous says:

    My grandpa always made popcorn on the stove when I was little. He always used the same pot. He passed away in the early 80's and a couple years ago my grandma was showing me the “popcorn” pot he had used and the bottom of the pot was very thin. He always would shake the pot back and forth the whole time the popcorn was popping to prevent it from burning.
    Holly

  10. Holly — Somehow I am just now seeing this comment. I love it! My grandpa passed away shortly after I was blessed with the opportunity to live with him for four months after breaking my femur. The stories he told and the wisdom I gained from him during that time was invaluable. Old school rocks!

  11. So does organic bagged microwave popcorn still have the bad chemicals in it?

  12. You can also pop organic popping corn by placing it in a clean, brown paper bag, folding over the top a few times and putting it in the microwave – no oil needed! You can then use the oil to drizzle over the popcorn, without actually cooking the popcorn in it. Plus, less mess!

  13. I like adding Stevia and cinnamon to my popcorn when I'm wanting a sweet, crunchy treat! There are endless possibilities as far as popcorn toppings go!

  14. downtownpdx says:

    I know microwaves are controversial, but here’s a secret: you can make your own microwave popcorn. Grab a brown lunch bag, add a hand full (about 1/4 c) of popcorn kernels, fold the bag about 1/2 inch from the top to close, put it in the microwave for about 1 min 45 secs* and remove. Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a small bowl for about 15 secs* Drizzle butter, a pinch of salt (the good stuff of course), and whatever else you want.

    * You’ll need to experiment with the time in microwave. It took me about 4 times to perfect the process in my own microwave and then I tried to use my mother-in-law’s microwave and burned that batch to a smelly mess. Note that the time needed is a little different also if you use more or less popcorn in a batch.

    Have fun!

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  1. […] oil instead of butter (thus making it vegan and healthier). I adapted this super easy recipe from Healthnut Foodie. Think of this as movie theater popcorn’s distant, more refined cousin. Of course if […]

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