Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved homemade popcorn. You know, the kind where you can hear the kernels sizzling in the pan right before they pop? And taste the warm, crunchy goodness just seconds after you fill a gigantic bowl with all those white, fluffy, popped kernels? It really is the best homemade popcorn ever.
My dad was the popcorn maker at our house. He had his own pan reserved exclusively for popcorn popping. The guy could time the popping to a second, taking the pan off the stove and flipping it over into a huge bowl right at that millisecond between leaving too many kernels un-popped in the pan and scorching the bottom layer of the already-popped corn.
Not to be outdone, my Uncle Fred could pop a mean bowl of popcorn, too. He loved to add a few too many kernels to the pan, so that the popped kernels actually lifted the lid off the pan while they were popping. Cool! (It was the 70s, okay? The simple things in life could still amaze us!)
Then came the late 1980s, and microwave popcorn hit the scene…big time. I must confess I, too, was impressed with the way you could pull a package out of a vending machine and pop it in the adjacent microwave, bringing you a buttery, crunchy snack in minutes. That is, if you didn’t burn the stuff, first!
Before long, however, the chemical, filmy aftertaste got to be too much for me, and I returned to my homemade popping roots. Today, I wonder why I ever left. As long you keep plenty of oil and popcorn on hand, you have everything you need. Homemade popcorn is just as convenient as its microwave cousin, tons cheaper, and skads healthier! Plus, it just tastes better. Period.
Like I said, all you need is some oil, a package of popcorn kernels, and some salt.
Here’s how you make the best homemade popcorn ever:
Pour about ¼ cup of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Be sure the entire bottom of the pot is covered in oil. I use canola oil, but coconut oil works well, too. Also, you probably want to be sure you have a lid handy before you add the oil. This process WILL NOT WORK without the lid! I prefer a glass lid, so I can see what’s happening inside the pot.
Turn the burner to “high” and add three kernels. (Don’t ask me why. I think it’s to see when the oil is just the right temperature for popping, but you’d have to check with the experts on that one. Send me an email and I’ll give my dad or Uncle Fred a call.)
When all three kernels have popped, pour just enough popcorn into the pan to form a single layer, with a little oil covering the kernels.
Step back and wait a few minutes for the kernels to do their thing. Or, if you’re like me, stand at the stove and look down into the pot, trying to figure out which kernels are going to pop next!
When the popping slows to about one or two pops per second, remove the pot from the stove and pour the popcorn into a waiting bowl.
If you’ve used just the right amount of oil and popcorn, all you need to add at this point is some salt. The popcorn will be moist, not dry, so you don’t need to add any butter or extra oil. My husband also likes to add some grated Parmesan cheese, which is why he gets his own bowl!
Finally, enjoy your newly popped, guilt-free snack. No harmful chemicals or extra calories here. Just the best homemade popcorn ever. Period.