Overshadowed by of-the-moment snacks like sprouted grains and guilty by association to the fat-laden movie-theater stuff, popcorn gets no respect. But considering it is a whole grain that’s low in calories, high in fiber and a vehicle for both sweet and savory flavors, it’s a hard snack to beat.
Each kernel of popping corn has roughly 15 percent moisture content. When the kernel is heated to a high enough temperature—between 400 and 450 degrees—the moisture turns to steam, creating internal pressure
Countertop air poppers have come a long way since their heyday in the early ’80s, but you really don’t need fancy equipment. A heavy, non-enameled pot with a lid will work just fine on the stovetop.
1. Heat the pot over high heat, and then add just enough oil (see Oil About It) to coat the bottom.
2. Pour a single layer of raw kernels into the pot, and shake it gently to coat the kernels with oil.
3. Cover the pot, and let the magic happen. When the popping begins, turn the heat down to medium-high to prevent burning. Every minute or so, gently shake the pot so all the kernels hit the heat.
The popcorn is ready when there are two seconds between pops.
Fun with Flavors
Empty your popcorn into a large bowl, and toss it with a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil and any of the following:
• sea salt
• dry mustard
• chili powder
• garlic powder
• cayenne pepper
• brewer’s yeast
• curry powder
• grated Parmesan cheese
• ranch salad dressing mix
• herbes de Provence
High-moisture, certified non-GMO kernels are air popped to control fat content and create a larger, more uniform puff. Born 30 years ago as a small-batch popcorn maker, the brand has grown to include other “craft snacks” produced in a 100-percent wind-powered factory and shipped in locally made, recycled-cardboard packaging.
Like all of Simple Truth’s products, its Kettle Popcorn is free from 101 artificial preservatives and fake ingredients. The slightly sweet, slightly salty flavor is perfect for snackers who can’t make up their minds.
If there’s a surefire way to make anything better, it’s to add cheese. Smartfood’s White Cheddar flavor is free of gluten— like all popcorn—as well as artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Also look for the Smartfood Delight White Cheddar and Sea Salt flavors, which are air popped and lower in calories.