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Like pretty much every kid on the planet my kids love to snack. Luckily for me they love fruit and that’s our number one go-to snack around here. But sometimes they want something crunchy and tasty and a little more fun. And of course I still want it to be healthy. And that’s where popcorn comes in.
Popcorn is an unprocessed whole grain and it contains fiber and protein. It’s pretty inexpensive and you can really customize it and make it sweet or salty or spicy or garlicky. Popcorn is a clean slate–whatever flavors you love will work beautifully with plain popped popcorn.
But, microwave popcorn is probably one of the worst foods you can buy. Aside from unhealthy ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and all the chemical preservatives that line the bag, the chemical that is responsible for the buttery smell can actually cause lung problems!
While there are several delicious organic and healthful popcorn brands out there –bags of yummy popcorn you can buy bagged — they can get pricey. That’s why we pop our own popcorn. For a few dollars we can get a one-pound bag that lasts us for a long while.
We don’t have an air popper though. In a quest to keep our kitchen free of gadgets we don’t actually need, I got rid of it a while ago. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have amazingly delicious and perfectly popped popcorn whenever we want! Popping our own popcorn is not only healthier, it’s fun too. The kids love to crowd around the stove and watch it pop, Pop, POP. They even put in their requests for some of our favorite popcorn “recipes” early!
At first we just heated some oil, put all of the kernels in, and then let them go until there was a few seconds between the kernels popping. While that method definitely works it leaves quite a few kernels unpopped and you run the risk of burning the popped ones. So, I did some research and tested a few methods and found the very best way to pop perfect popcorn on the stove.
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil or organic safflower oil (this is our favorite hand-pressed, organic coconut oil)
- ⅓ Cup unpopped popcorn kernels (we love this non-GMO popcorn)
- Any spices you love
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add a few kernels to the bottom of the pan and cover.
- Wait until all of the kernels pop. Then, add ⅓ cup of kernels to the bottom on the pan. Do the best you can to be sure they’re in a single layer. If you like, add salt at this point, too.
- Cover the saucepan and remove from the heat for 30-40 seconds.
- Then, return pan to the heat. The kernels should begin popping within a few minutes.
- Once you hear them begin to pop, move the lid to side the a bit, letting just a tiny bit of air in and out (this will help keep the popcorn from getting soggy).
- After a few minutes the popping will slow down. That’s your cue to take it off the heat, take the lid off the pan and transfer the popcorn to large bowl.