October is Popcorn Poppin’ Month – how fun is that? According to popcorn.org, Americans eat around 17 billion quarts of popcorn every year. This amount would fill the Empire State Building 18 times! Popcorn is popular not only because it tastes great, but also because this whole grain is notoriously connected to good times, such as movies, parties and after school snacks. Popcorn differs from other types of corn because of its thick seed coat. The thick seed coat traps moisture and pressure inside the kernel during the heating process. The “POP” that subsequently occurs, transforms a simple kernel into the popcorn we have come to know and love.
Here are a few options when making popcorn:
- Pull out the air popper and pop popcorn kernels without the use of oil or butter. A single cup of air popped popcorn is just 30 calories a cup. Not only is this a healthy snack, but a traditional air popper also actually delivers fantastic, light, and delicious popcorn.
- Microwaving popcorn from popcorn kernels is super easy to make. Grab a brown paper lunch bag and add 1/3 cup of kernels into the bag. Fold the bag over 2-3 times, lie it flat in the microwave and hit the Popcorn button. If your microwave does not have a popcorn button, set it to 2-3 minutes. To avoid burning the popcorn, stand close by and listen up. Once the popping slows down to a pop every 3-5 seconds, the popcorn is ready to go.
- Prepackaged microwave popcorn is quick and convenient. Keep in mind that some brands are surprisingly high in fat, calories, and sodium. Be sure to read the labels and consider the option that best fits your dietary needs.
- The “old fashion” way to make popcorn is to pop kernels on the stove. Simply heat some oil in the bottom of a heavy pot, add the popcorn, mix to coat, and let the popcorn do its thing. Shake the pot occasionally to make sure as many kernels as possible get popped. Once the popping has slowed down to a pop every 3-5 seconds, take the pot off the heat. Be careful when opening the pot lid to avoid any late popping kernels!
Regardless of how you make your popcorn, get out a large bowl and toss it up with whatever you please. The classic topping for popcorn is butter and salt. But consider some other topping options:
- Shake on some hot sauce, a dusting of parmesan cheese or some taco seasoning.
- Add a drizzle of pesto or add some toasted pumpkin seeds or dried cranberries.
- Squeeze some lime and a dash of cumin or sprinkle on your favorite seasoning mix.
- Make your popcorn a sweet treat by adding some cinnamon sugar or drizzle on a bit of caramel and toss in some roasted peanuts.
- Or, try this delicious Caramel Popcorn mixed with nuts, raisins, and honey.
If you are not in the mood to make your own popcorn or if you need a fast snack, McCaffrey’s has a variety of popcorn waiting for you in the snack aisle.