Popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks all over the world with great nutritional value. One can make popcorn easily at home. You can take the help of stovetop or hot air popcorn makers and within 15 minutes the popcorn will be ready to be served.
Stovetop popcorn is one of the cheapest as well as most delicious snacks, which is enjoyed by all. Learning to make stovetop popcorn is very easy and fun. Making popcorn from scratch can prove to be a bit tricky as you want the maximum number of kernels to pop while not making them burn too much. But following some simple instructions, one can easily make popcorn at home. All you need is a good pot with a lid, popcorn kernels, oil and salt.
What is popcorn?
Popcorn is a variety of corn kernel, which when heated, puffs up and expands. The strong hull of the popcorn kernel contains the hard endosperm with 14-20% moisture. As the kernel is heated it turns into steam, which causes pressure until the hull ruptures. This allows the kernel to expand to almost 50 times its original size.
Popcorn is a snack thought to be generated from America thousands of years ago. Gradually, with time, it has spread all over the world and become the favourite snack for many.
How many carbs are in popcorn?
Carbs are macronutrients needed by our body to create energy. The body requires carbohydrates to function properly. Many people think that popcorns are low on carbohydrates because of the lack of calories, but it is not the case.
Most of the calories in popcorn come from carbs as it is a whole-grain food. Unlike other snacks, this is much healthier. A typical serving of popcorn consists of about 3 cups containing about 90 calories, 18 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Popcorn offers us more carbohydrates with the intake of lesser calories. Adding to that the benefits of fiber, popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks around.
Why make stovetop popcorn?
Most people get popcorn from the stores or from movie theatres. But once you make popcorn right in your own home, you will not enjoy any other popcorn. The sight of corn kernels transforming into popcorn right in front of our eyes is something simply mesmerizing.
Making popcorn at home is not only easy but also very affordable. The best part of cooking at home is that you can add whatever flavour you wish for and add the likes of sugar and salt according to your taste. You do not have to enjoy that popcorn with extra salt! You can be your creative own self adding the spices according to your cravings.
Although popcorn can be made in a microwave, stovetop popcorn often gets the nod among popcorn lovers as it tastes better. The oil is the key to making popcorn on a stovetop as it adds to the taste and makes the last few bites decadent. Stovetop popcorn is also much easier than microwave popcorn. The kernels can be burnt easily and if you follow the instructions correctly, it is very difficult to make a bad batch. Stovetops are also much more economic, providing you healthy delicious snacks for less money!
Depending on the amount of oil used, stovetop popcorns are much healthier and save you a few more calories. It provides you with great nutritional value and avoids the ingestion of harmful chemicals like trans fats. It also tastes better than air-popped popcorn. Not many foods out there taste good as well as provide good nutritional value, do they?
Making stovetop popcorn at home is very easy and you do not worry much about a long list of ingredients.
- 3 tablespoons of coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ rd cup of high-quality corn kernels
- Salt to taste
You will also require a thick-bottomed pot, which should be kept completely dry before heating oil in it as otherwise, the oil will splutter.
Best Oil for stovetop popcorn
There are several cooking oil options for making stovetop popcorn. The taste of the popcorn depends largely upon the oil but we should be wary of our health and choose the oil accordingly.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Popcorn can be made with olive oil as long as you are cooking over medium heat. Olive oil is preferred by most and is the healthiest among all oils.
Movie theatres often use coconut oil for making popcorn. You can go for unrefined coconut oil, which is more redeeming than refined coconut oil used in the theatres.
Canola oil or other vegetable oils
Canola oil is often avoided by some since it is highly processed. You can indeed use avocado oil, grapeseed oil or safflower oil as better options.
Following these simple instructions, you can make stovetop popcorn in less than 10 minutes. These are guaranteed to give you the best results every time. You can add some popcorn seasonings at the end to make it taste even more delicious.
1. Use a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid
The key to making good stovetop popcorn is even heat distribution. For this purpose, you require a good quality pot so that the popcorn does not burn on a particular hot spot. Using cheap pots can leave you with burnt corn, which is not liked by anyone.
2. Apply medium heat
The heat should not be very high as high heat would cause the oil to burn. It would also prove difficult for the kernels to pop evenly, thus ending up with more duds, called “old maids”.
3. Giving oil
We need to choose a good oil which gives the popcorn a good flavour. A good oil means you need not even butter at the end, just adding a bit of salt will be enough. Then the oil should be heated.
4. Test the heat
Before popping the corn you should test whether the oil is hot enough to do so. You can test by dropping two kernels into the oil and wait for them to pop. Once they pop, the oil is ready and you can add the rest.
5. Prime the kernels
The remaining popcorn kernels should be added into the pot and the pot should be shaken so that the kernels are well-coated with the hot oil. Let them sit off the heat for a minute. The extra minute off ensures even popping without burning the oil. Then keep the pot over medium heat and cover the lid. Also, ensure to give it a shake often until the popcorn begins to pop.
6. Release steam
Once the popcorn begins to pop, tilt the lid slightly so that the steam can be allowed to vent, which prevents the popcorn from steaming itself.
7. Wait for the pop to slow
You should listen so that the popping slows until there are 2-3 seconds lulls between pops. Then the popped stovetop popcorn should be transferred to a bowl and any “old maids” should be discarded.
8. Add salt
Then season with salt according to your taste. Just be wary to not add too much salt too quickly.
After your popcorn is ready, you can season it according to your wish to give some extra final touches. Some of the best popcorn seasonings include:
● Melted butter
This is one of the most classic popcorn seasonings, enjoyed by all.
● Olive oil and salt
A little olive oil drizzled over the hot stovetop popcorn and tossed to coat evenly, seasoned with salt can be a delicious seasoning. Adding some cracked black pepper can provide a bolder taste to the popcorn.
● Kettle corn
This is a bit trickier to make on a stovetop. You can add about ¼ cup of sugar at the same time as the kernels, sprinkle it with salt after the popcorn has been popped and spread them on a baking sheet to dry and cool before eating. The pot should be kept an eye upon so that the sugar does not burn.
● Cinnamon honey
2 tablespoons of melted butter, 1 tablespoon of honey and ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon should be mixed. Then drizzle the mixture over the popped popcorn and toss so that there is an even coating.
● Chilli brown sugar
1/w teaspoon of chilli powder should be mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle this mixture over freshly popped popcorn, drizzled with a bit of melted butter or olive oil to give it a delicious taste.
● Ranch seasoning
You can use a pack of powdered ranch dressing mix available in stores or make one yourself at home. Sprinkle it over the freshly popped popcorn to enjoy a tasty snack.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can you make stovetop popcorn without oil?
You can make stovetop popcorn with water instead of oil if you are concerned about the intake of too many calories. This is not only a much healthier recipe but it also tastes very good.
The recipe is much like the one with oil. Here you should pour water over the kernels until they are covered but they should not float. Cover the pot and put it on the burner over medium heat. You should shake the pot at regular intervals and if you feel the water has evaporated while the popcorn has not popped out, you should remove the lid carefully and add about a quarter cup of water. After a few seconds, you will begin to hear the popping sound. Then you should carry on the process similarly and your stovetop popcorn is ready!
2. Is popcorn a healthy snack?
Popcorn is definitely one of the healthier options among the crunchy, salty snacks we often tend to enjoy. Popcorn is a whole grain which has a high nutritional value. It contains carbohydrates, fiber and antioxidants and fewer calories. The fiber keeps cardiovascular risks in check, reduces blood cholesterol and blood sugar. Thus it is extremely healthy but adding excess sugar, oils and fats decrease its natural nutrients.
3. Is popcorn low carb?
Popcorn is not at all low on carbs. A typical serving of popcorn consists of about 4 cups containing about 30 grams of carbs. But one need not worry about high-calorie intake because it does not contain high calories.
4. Is popcorn gluten-free?
Gluten is a protein found in whole-grain foods such as wheat, rye and barley.Corn is also a whole-grain food and so many were wary that it also contains gluten. But many sources have revealed that corn is gluten-free. Gluten can cause several intestinal problems for those who have celiac diseases or other intestinal problems. Popcorn, being gluten-free, can be a great evening snack for such individuals.
5. Is popcorn keto-friendly?
The ketogenic diet recommends individuals to reduce their carbohydrate intake and instead have fat. Such diets mean they cannot have more than 50 grams of net carbs per day and depend on non-starchy vegetables or low carb foods like eggs, meat, nuts or seeds for their carbohydrate intake.
Popcorns can also be used in such a diet as every serving of popcorn has about 15 grams of net carbs. It also provides only 90 calories, so you will also not gain weight. So you can remove other high carb foods from your diet and enjoy popcorn as a tasty yet healthy snack.
Popcorn seems to have something nostalgic and special about itself which fills us with so many memories. For some it may be the memory of having popcorn at the family table for a family game night while for others it may be enjoying a movie with friends and having moments to cherish.
Popcorns can be made at home easily with the help of stovetop or hot air popcorn makers. Of all the salty, crunchy and tasty snacks out there, stovetop popcorn is by far the most delicious and cheapest. It is also much healthier and besides popcorn makers take up a lot of space in the kitchen. So make popcorn at home, add a delicious seasoning to it and enjoy it with your family!