Exploring vegan, vegetarian and sustainable cooking

Stovetop popcorn

Source: Elise Bauer, Simply Recipes

Popcorn is a my favourite snack food for several reasons.  It has that great snack crunch, and stovetop or air-popped popcorn is inexpensive, nutritious and potentially low-calorie.

Popcorn is a whole grain and therefore high in fibre. Compared to many other snack foods, it’s relatively high in vitamins and minerals. And recent studies suggest that popcorn is high in antioxidants. Depending on what flavourings you add, popcorn can be low-calorie. If you load it with melted butter, then you’re out of luck, but it you opt for herbs and spices, popcorn can be the perfect diet snack. (If you’re not on a diet, try duck fat popcorn… amazing!)

Make it vegan. Stick with herbs and spices, or a bit of vegetable oil, and you have a great vegan snack.

When purchased in bulk, popcorn is crazy inexpensive. I purchased a bulk 10lb bag of kernels and each serving (1/3 cup kernels which makes 3 litres/quarts of popped popcorn) works out to $0.09. Yes… 9¢ per giant serving.

Now how to pop the popcorn… I always assumed that an air popper was the way to go. My parents made it this way when I was a kid. But when you read the online reviews, they’re not perfect and they’re another appliance to take up room in your kitchen.

I gave the stovetop method a try and I love it. It’s super fast and easy. Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes provides a few tips for perfect results:

  • Remember “3”: 1/3 cup of kernels, 3 Tbsp of vegetable oil and a 3 litre/quart saucepan.
  • Place 3 kernels in the oil, add salt, and set over medium-high heat. When all 3 have popped, add the rest of the kernels, remove from the heat and swirl around for 30 seconds to bring them to temperature. Return to the heat until nearly all kernels have popped (when it’s several seconds between pops, you’re done).
  • Add flavourings to taste.

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