Friday, February 3, 2012

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

I have great childhood memories of popcorn. We had a really cool air popper (it was the latest and greatest thing in the late 70s, early 80s). It had this really cool cup on the top that you would fill with popcorn, and then tip into the popper. It also had a metal cup that fit into the side where you could melt butter during the popping process. We had a lot of fun making popcorn with it until a new fangled invention, the microwave, came along and with it, microwave popcorn.

Now I'm trying to eliminate as much processed food from our lives as I can and microwave popcorn seems to be to be a big bag of chemicals with a few popcorn kernels. I toyed with the idea of searching for a new air popper, but I need another kitchen gadget like I need a hole in my head.

Then I heard a rumor that you can make popcorn in the microwave with just popcorn and a brown paper bag. I played around with the idea and finally have it down so that my popcorn turns out perfectly every time. And I have to say the popcorn tastes so much better than the expensive stuff I used to buy. Here's what works for me:

Homemade Microwave Popcorn
-brown paper lunch sack
-popcorn kernels
-butter & sea salt (optional)
-microwave oven

Recipe for Microwave Popcorn

1. Pour 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels into the brown paper sack. Roll top of sack closed.

2. Place sack in microwave. Use the microwave popcorn setting. This step is going to vary for everyone because every one's microwave is different. Through trial and error, I know that I can use my microwave's popcorn setting as long as I pull it out about 30 seconds before the cycle is complete. Your best bet is to stand in the kitchen and listen. Once the popping sound starts to slow down, you need to pull your popcorn out.

3. If you are so inclined, melt about 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and pour into the bag. Add a pinch of sea salt, and then roll the bag up and shake it. I do this over the sink, because the melted butter does absorb through the paper sack and I don't want butter to spray everywhere.

4. Turn on your movie and enjoy your popcorn.

This recipe makes approximately 4 cups of popcorn.

And, while you are in a movie & popcorn mood, I highly recommend watching these fascinating documentaries:

Marwencol  A fascinating story about a brain-damaged man and the dioramas he builds.  Check-out the link to see his fascinating photography.

Cropsey This one gave us nightmares.  It's a story about an urban legend that the filmmakers discovered was true.

Forks Over Knives This movie really motivated us to eat healthier.  A fascinating look at how much what we eat affects our health and really makes you rethink everything you think you know about eating healthy.  Although the message is vegan, we still found a lot of information that we could incorporate into our meat & dairy lifestyle. 

All these films can be found on Netflix.  What movies have you been loving lately?

UPDATE:  I just read that the USDA doesn't recommend using brown paper bags for food prep.  I found another good method for making homemade microwave popcorn in a glass bowl, with a vented lid, here.  Of course, then there's the issue of microwaving plastic.  (Sometimes I feel like it's impossible to be healthy!)  Maybe I'll just have to go back to the old-fashioned stove top method.