Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy National Popcorn Day!

I have no idea how this "holiday" originated, but I love popcorn so much I figured I would do a little feature on popcorn to celebrate!

Did you know?
Popcorn is a whole grain, which means it contains the entire grain kernel (bran, germ, and endosperm), making it a good source of dietary fiber! It is also naturally low in fat and calories, which makes it a satisfying healthy snack! However, you'll want to practice moderation when eating it coated in butter and salt.

Pop some today!
There are many ways to enjoy popcorn too! If you are looking for convenience then microwave bags are handy, but you can also pop plain kernels using an air popper, on the stovetop, in a special microwave popping bowl, or in a paper bag in the microwave. I usually pop plain kernels in an air popper or a paper bag in the microwave because it is cheaper to buy just the raw kernels and lets me customize how I flavour the popcorn! It's also not really any more time-consuming than the microwave bags, and has the bonus of no added preservatives. 

To pop in a paper bag, measure 1/4-1/2 a cup of raw kernels into a brown paper bag, then fold over the top 2-3 times. Microwave on high for 1.5-2 minutes for 1/4 cup or 2-3 minutes for 1/2 cup of kernels. Since all microwaves are different, don't leave the popcorn unattended - stop the microwave and take the popcorn out when the pops are 1-2 seconds apart. Season as desired and enjoy!

To pop over the stovetop, add 2-3 Tbsp. of oil to a heavy pot that has a lid. Heat the oil over medium heat with two popcorn kernels in the pan - when those kernels pop then the oil is hot enough to add the rest of the kernels. Add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels to the pot and cover with the lid. If the lid doesn't have a hole to allow steam to escape then leave it slightly ajar. Gently shake the pot to keep the kernels on the bottom from burning, and keep shaking while the kernels pop. Once the popping stops, turn off the heat and transfer the popcorn to a bowl. Season as desired and enjoy!

Some seasoning ideas:
Traditional butter and salt
Seasoning salt
Chili powder
Onion powder and garlic powder
Parmesan cheese
Cinnamon and sugar
Nutritional yeast
Add in dried fruit, nuts, cereal, chocolate chips, etc. to make your own party or snack mix!

Some of my specialty popcorn recipes:

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