Monday, 12 May 2014

DIY Popcorn


Photo source, Wikimedia Commons


Home made popcorn can be a cheap, delicious and nutritious snack. It all comes down to how it's prepared.


Air-Popped


Air poppers are one great method. Since you're cooking your popcorn with hot air instead of heated oil (as with theatre popcorn), the result is a light, low-fat snack that can be seasoned any way you like. Think of it as a blank canvas on which you can paint a masterpiece of deliciousness.



Photo source Flickr

Home-Made Microwaved Popcorn

The downside of air poppers is that they can clutter up your kitchen counter and cause a lot of noise. If you'd like to save a bit of money and counter space, why not make your own homemade microwave popcorn? All you need is a brown paper lunch bag, some loose popcorn kernels, a microwave, and your favourite seasonings.
Be sure to use a clean, unused, food safe bag. Photo source Flickr.

There are many different methods for homemade microwave popcorn on the internet, but we found the instructions from Tipbusters.com to be particularly useful:

In a small bowl mix together:

1/2 tsp oil (I used olive oil)
1/4 tsp salt

Stir in 1/4 cup popcorn kernels (any kind will do, but fresh will pop better)

Stir with a spoon until everything is well-mixed. Pour into a brown paper bag. Fold the bag over 2 to 3 times, and place upright in the microwave.

Microwave until popping slows down a couple pops per second. Everyone’s microwave is different, and will require a different amount of time. The author at Tipbusters used a 1200W microwave, and cooked it for 1 minute and 25 seconds. Only use the paper bag once.

Kettle Corn



Photo source Flickr

Don't have a microwave? Why not try making some kettle corn at home instead? Kettle corn has a light, sweet and salty taste without the fat of theatre popcorn or the sugar rush of caramel corn. It may may be a little more advanced to make than air-popped or microwaved popcorn, but it is a fantastic treat worth trying. Again, there are a number of different methods and variations to try out there. The set of directions at The Kitchn is a good place to start.

Toppings

You know when you go to the movies and they ask you if you’d like extra butter on your popcorn? It’s so tempting to say yes, but health-wise, is it really worth it? Butter, our go-to popcorn topping, is actually not the healthiest option. Butter, as well as other toppings such as hard margarine, coconut oils or palm oils, are all high in saturated fats. These saturated fats raise “bad” cholesterol levels, which increases your risk for heart disease.


We get it, a lot of folks love adding salt and butter to popcorn as a treat, but consider these flavour options as well for a snack that's tasty and a lot healthier for you:
Photo source Pixabay


Try tossing your popcorn in pepper instead of salt and butter; it has lots of flavor and a bit of zip, but doesn’t have the high fat content or sodium risk of traditional salt and butter.


Photo source Pixabay

Have you ever tried cinnamon toast? Why not try the same combination on your popcorn! Mix a half a teaspoon of cinnamon and just a pinch of brown or white sugar in a bowl, then toss it with your popcorn. The perfect comfort food snack!

Photo source Pixabay
Toss your popcorn with just a handful of nuts or seeds: lightly toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds add a nutty, toasty flavor to your popcorn. Nuts and seeds contain unsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease (Canada Food Guide, 2014). It is important to remember the old phrase, ‘too much of a good thing’ when working with nuts and seeds. Although they can be healthy in moderation, they are still a fat and having too much can lead to too many calories. So remember to let your popcorn be the star in this combination and nuts/seeds can fill the supporting role.

Photo source Wikimedia Commons

If you like garlic bread (and who doesn’t!?) give this popcorn topping a go. Mix a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese with a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder before tossing your pop corn in it.

Photo source Flickr

Finally, if you find you really can’t replace that buttery taste, try substituting vegetable oil, olive oil, or soft margarines that are low in saturated fats or trans fats.

Cost Comparison

Need an added incentive to to embrace DIY popcorn? Loose kernels bought in bulk give you the most bang (or pop) for your buck. Take a look!






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