Popcorn (The Old-Fashioned Way)

There’s something about microwaves that just doesn’t sit well with me. Perhaps it’s because my mother used to tell me not to stand too close to it while it was zapping something when I was a child, or else it would “hurt my eyes.” (Could that possibly be why I don’t have very good eye sight?! Ok….probably not.) The microwave is a rather modern invention, but one I think we could do without. I have yet to visit a European household that owns one. I will admit that I have used it in a pinch to heat up some leftovers quickly when my children were complaining of hunger. However, it mostly just takes up extra space I don’t have in my New York City apartment, collecting dust, as my family rarely turns it on. Of course I have thought numerous time about tossing it, or giving it away, but I am sure my husband would object. So there it sits.

Popcorn might just be the most commonly made microwave food around. But I have to say, there’s nothing like popping your corn the old-fashioned way on the stove top. The taste is incomparable, plus you know exactly what is going onto the popcorn, since you handle all the additions yourself. In my opinion, quality popcorn only needs a fraction of the salt that is usually added to it. And then there’s that fake buttery substance that most microwaveable popcorn contains. I’m not entirely sure how, scientifically, that stuff is concocted. I much prefer simply popping the corn with some peanut oil, or other vegetable oil I have on hand. You could use olive oil, but vegetable oils have a higher heating point, unlike olive oil, which will begin to smoke when the pot you are using becomes too hot.

I usually purchase my popping corn from my local farmer’s market. One vendor even sells it in various colors, but I usually buy the organic yellow kernels. Feel free to experiment, though, trying different varieties, and even tweaking the spices you use once the corn has been popped. Below, I will include another recipe I made during the Christmas holidays one year. I must warn you, it was QUITE addictive, so be prepared. Then again, plain popcorn is addictive, isn’t it?!

I hope you will take the time to revisit popcorn made the “old-fashioned way” this weekend with a friend, or your family. There’s nothing more exciting to children then waiting for the pot on the stove to begin popping. My son always asks me to take off the cover, which I highly do not advise unless you want burning kernels of popped corn flying into your face and all over your kitchen! If the weather where you are has already turned cold, and possibly wet, pop in a movie and make some popcorn. Hey, and even if the sun is shining brightly and the weather is warm, there’s always time for an evening weekend movie, right?

We would love to hear from you. Do you happen to have a fantastic recipe for popped corn? Send it our way by either commenting on this post, or by emailing us at: twodancingbuckeyes@gmail.com

Yield: 12 cups

1 c. corn kernels, preferably organic
1/3 c. peanut oil (or other vegetable oil)
melted butter, optional

Place the oil and the kernels of corn into a heavy bottomed stock pot, dutch oven, or cast iron pot, and cover it with a lid. (Please be sure to use a good, sturdy pot, or your popcorn will burn!) Turn up the heat on the stove range as high as it will go. After about a minute, with oven mittens fitted onto both hands, shake the pan a bit to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan. Return to the heat, and after about 2-3 minutes, your popcorn will begin to pop. Once it begins to pop, stick around, because you want to make sure you turn off the heat when the kernels slow down popping. If you don’t turn off the heat when the popping slows, your popcorn will burn. Once the corn has popped, slowly remove the lid, away from your face. There will be a lot of hot steam escaping from the pot, and you don’t want anyone to get burned. Give the popcorn a good stir, and salt to taste. Also, if you plan on using melted butter, add it now, and then give another good stir.

Festive Party Popcorn:

Follow the above recipe for popping your corn. Once the corn is popped, remove it from the heat and set aside. In another small pot, melt the butter together with the spices, then pour it over the reserved popcorn. Place everything in a large, brown paper bag, fold over the top, and shake the bag until all the popcorn has been evenly coated with the spice mixture. Arrange in several party bowls, and allow your guests to munch away throughout the event.

4 Tbl. butter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground paprika
3 tsp. salt
4 tsp. sugar

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1 Comment

  1. Cherry Almond Mini Muffins « Two Dancing Buckeyes

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