Homemade Stove Popped Popcorn

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Do you want a healthy way to make popcorn at home, but don’t want to eat microwaved popcorn or don’t own an air popper?  Here’s a simple, healthy way to make stove-popped popcorn. This method was taught to me by a roommate (thanks, roommate!), and after a few times, I got pretty darned good at it.  If you have trouble with this method the first time, promise me you’ll try it again at least once or twice before going back to microwaved popcorn.

What you’ll need:

  • Popcorn kernels. I usually get giant bags of the yellow No Name ones at Superstore, as they are the best-popping kernels I know of. I pay around $4-6.
  • Cooking oil. Sunflower oil works well, but you can use whatever kind you have. (Note from Taryn: coconut oil is amaaaazing!)
  • A pot with a lid. A clear glass lid helps so that you can see how the popcorn’s doing without guessing or lifting the lid while it’s popping.

Directions:

  1. Pour about 2 tablespoons of oil into the pot, place the pot on a stove element, and set to high heat. You don’t need the lid quite yet.
  2. When the oil is hot enough (it should take a couple of minutes), it will start to look like it's running down the very bottom of the sides of the pot.  Add a single-layer of kernels to the pot, covering the surface area of the bottom of the pot. After this point, the oil will start to bubble and smoke, so watch your oil closely.
  3. Immediately put the lid on the pot, and turn the heat down to medium.
  4. As soon as your hand is free, rapidly slide the pot back and forth over the element (it will sound awful to your ears, probably) until kernels start to pop. They should start popping within the first 10 seconds if you've done it perfectly.  If you're not seeing anything pop, your oil was probably not hot enough before you added the kernels.  Pop what you can, if this happens (it’s a bit disappointing, though), and try again once you’re finished.
  5. Keep sliding that pot back and forth as fast as you can, but keep that lid on!  Once the kernels start popping, in less than a minute, your pot should be full of delicious, fluffy popcorn.
  6. When your popcorn has reached the lid, it's time to carefully pour the popcorn into a bowl before it starts to burn.  Keep moving it back and forth, unless you want to discover how little time it takes for burning to happen. Watch out for hot kernels that haven't yet popped, and remember to turn your stove element off!
  7. Add oil or butter, and some seasoning (salt, oregano, paprika, taco seasoning, cinnamon, etc.). Or, just eat it plain, if that’s your thing.
  8. Enjoy your hard-earned snack! You should probably share your popcorn with anyone who is home.  They could probably hear it and are probably following their noses to the kitchen, anyway…

Note(s):

  • If the kernels pop right away and you can tell that some of the kernels are darkening before they are popping, your heat is too high - turn it down to low-medium, or even low, depending how fast they are darkening or how dark they are getting.  (You don't want them to get dark much at all, just so you know.) You’ll learn to gauge their colour and what it means the more you make popcorn this way.
  • If you need to make more, or try again, don’t wash the pot you just used. Massive amounts of angry, angry steam will come flying out of your pot for a long time. I learned this the hard way, and I was scared for my face which was far too close to the crazy steam. (I should have known better.) You can use the pot again without washing it – just make sure it is popcorn-free, add more oil, and try the method again. Keep in mind that the oil will be hot much quicker the second time around.

*This recipe was originally posted on Prairie Things. Re-posted with permission.

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