Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Popcorn that Pops

It is Science Fair time in our little world.  My approach to the science fair is usually kicking and screaming, lots of tears and "please don't make me help you".  And then it's followed by something that resembles giving in.

Ugh.  Anyway, this year, my tune changed just a smidge when I realized my child actually picked something interesting.  POPCORN!!  Holy moly, what a concept.  Something I actually thought could be fun!  A little chemistry project.

The GREAT thing is I have learned how to make my very own popcorn (Thank you Pinterest) AND how to properly store it to get the most popped corn.  Don't you hate it when you pop a bag in the microwave and then there's nothing but 10,000 kernels rattling around in the bottom of the bag?  What a waste of money.

Move over Orville!  I've got the trick to your favorite snackaroo, I can save you money, and it's way healthier than prepackaged poppers.

On average the cost of prepackaged popcorn is a whopping $3.53 per pound....with my method you can save a bundle by buying in bulk and prepare your favorite snack at only 50-60 CENTS per pound.  A steal!!

Plus, there will be no mystery ingredients in your paper bag.  Check out the ingredient list on Act II popcorn:

Important Information
Safety Information:
Contains soy, milk.  Caution! Handle tub carefully.  Open away from face.  Tub and contents are very hot!

Popcorn, Partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Annatto Color.  Contains: Fish, Milk

Are you kidding me??  Fish and milk?  In my popcorn?  Gross.  Just gross.  But that's what happens when you don't read the label.

There are so many ways you can flavor a homemade batch and KNOW EXACTLY what is in your bag of deliciousness and there is no need for an expensive air popper.  NEVER will I buy those prepacks of popcorn again!

Now back to the basics of science:  Corn is merely made of starch and a tiny bit of water inside each little shell.  When the water is heated it turns into a gas and once it reaches a precise temperature, the gas explodes through the outer shell resulting in a perfectly popped kernel of corn.

Shall we?  Don't mind if I do!

Start with your basic no name brown paper lunch bags.  I picked up a stack of 40 at the Dollar Tree for one buckaroo.  And a 2 pound bag of Yellow Popcorn kernels, although I believe it also comes in white kernels, for $2.00 at the market.

1/4 cup good quality popcorn

1-2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or popcorn salt
Paper lunch bag

Toss the popcorn with the oil and salt  in the paper bag. Fold the top of the bag over twice to close.

Place the bag in the microwave and microwave on high (100% power) for 2 minutes to 3 minutes, or until there are about 5 seconds between pops.  Each microwave is different, so popping times may vary.

Toss with your favorite flavored popcorn salt or other seasonings and/or melted butter!!  Enjoy!

*Science Fair Note:  The best place to store popcorn so it yields the most popped kernels is at room temperature!

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