Friday, August 31, 2007

Pop your own: DIY popcorn

Scrolling through Treehugger today, I was reminded of one of the many tasks on my blog to-do list: Spread the word about making your own popcorn!
A few months ago at work this became my favorite mid-afternoon-slump snack when some bulk kernels and paper bags surfaced in the kitchen (I think a coworker was trying to avoid the caloric-rich microwavable stuff). We should all be avoiding it, and not just for our own health. You've probably heard by now that the "butter" is well, quite artificial--its real name is diacetyl, and that workers who handle the stuff are developing a kind of lung disease. Definitely not something I want to be contributing to, or ingesting. Besides, the real stuff tastes so much better. It's easy: Get some bulk kernels at your favorite health food store (another point for ye 'ol bulk bins), and put them in a small paper bag. You pop it for about the same amount of time you would do a pre-bought bag, but stay close to listen for the pops slowing down. Treehugger suggests adding a slab of butter at the beginning, but I prefer to melt the butter separately and pour it over once I've transferred the popped corn to a bowl. That way you can save the bag for the next popping, and there's something delightfully gluttonous about pouring melted butter over, well, anything. An alternative, as one smarty-pants commenter noted on Treehugger, you can avoid the paper bag by heating some oil in a pan and cooking your kernels that way. I've yet to try it the slower way, but I do have vague memories of my dad popping corn over the stove, and I'm sure it doesn't really take that much longer. Add some salt and it's a totally delicious snack (and low-cal if you forgo the melted butter). Not only are you avoiding a nasty "butter-like" chemical that I can't even pronounce, but anytime I replace food from a factory with something I "make" myself, things feel a bit more right in the world.

Here's an incredibly sad Washington Post article about a worker with "popcorn workers' lung". The stuff still isn't regulated.

And here's Treehugger's take on DIY popcorn.


Joao Soares said...

Your blog was nominatted by me in the list for the Blog Day
Welcome to Bioterra, Portugal

Rita said...

Thanks for the idea, it's great. I have a blog much as same as yours but it's in Portuguese, so too I can't just share my list of "go green" ideas. Anyway,loved the title of the blog:) It IS easy being green:)

Meg said...

Another yummy popcorn trick: in that paper bag, once everything's done popping, add some nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper or other spicy fun, and a bit of soy sauce. Shake it all up. You'll wonder why people still eat the butter stuff.

esther said...

I actually kept the popcorn box I bought for the kids at the movies and am planning to make the popcorn at home, put it in this box and give it to m the next time we go to the movies!

Josh Craig said...

I find a small sauce pan with a good lid works the best. The handle gives you something to shake the popcorn around with and you get to choose the oil and quantity! My grandma made popcorn this way and I started after our electric popper (the kind that has the metal bar that turns around) started to seem like too much work to clean.

I'll never go back!

Oh and a tip is to leave the lid cracked open a bit so the steam can escape when you're not shaking it. You'll end up with fluffier kernels.

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