As I learn more and more about healthy and real foods, finding quick and easy (but still healthy) snacks has felt like a challenge. Aside from fruit and veggies, it sometimes feels like there’s nothing to choose from. Not that I have anything against snack crackers per say (my kids get cheese crackers a lot), but I do want to make sure that I am balancing some of those crackers with better and less preservative-filled options. Enter, popcorn.
Growing up my family ran the gamut when it came to popcorn. I have vague and hazy memories of a big silver pan sitting on the top of the stove while my mom continually turned a crank in order to pop some corn for the drive-in movie. At some point in my childhood, the whirly pop was replaced with a magical air popper and I remember how I sat around impatiently waiting for it to spit out each popped kernel into our large white popcorn bowl. And then, the joy and ease of putting a flat bag into the microwave only to pull out a full (and buttery) bag of popcorn just three minutes later. (Assuming it didn’t burn, that is.)
Microwave popcorn became a bit of a staple of mine, through high school, college, and even into adulthood. I started to notice distant rumbling rumors of microwave popcorn and it’s not-so-wonderfulness after my second daughter was born. In fact, I distinctly remember a mommy-and-me class where the educator and another parent vehemently spouted the dangers of all the terrible ingredients in microwave popcorn.
Not long after that class I was at a new friend’s house and was shocked to see her make the kids a popcorn snack on her stove. She made it look and sound so much less scary and time-consuming than I had always imagined.
It wasn’t immediate, but I did end up ditching our microwave popcorn for plain kernels the next time I got groceries. With the help of the directions on the back of the bag and a bit of Googling, I discovered that stove-top popcorn really wasn’t that difficult, or terribly time consuming. Even with just a regular old saucepan.
Most of the time, I find that I really don’t mind the extra few minutes it takes to make the popcorn on the stove, and my kids and I love the taste. Plus, there’s no guilt for how much they eat.
1/3 cup popping corn (my favorite is Trader Joe’s)
3 Tablespoons of coconut oil (or another high smoke point oil like peanut oil)
1 3-quart covered sauce pan
Salt (to taste)
1. Add oil and three kernels of popcorn to saucepan. Heat, covered, on medium-high heat.
2. When all three kernels are popped add remaining 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels to saucepan and cover.
3. Once the kernels start popping gently shake the saucepan by moving it back and forth over the burner.
4. When the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from heat.
5. Empty popcorn into bowl and toss with salt to taste.
Popcorn really has become a good, real food snack for our family. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!