Homemade Popcorn is a simple snack that can actually be really good for you – and not just because it’s so easy and quick to make. It’s a whole-grain, gluten-free, high fiber snack containing anti-oxidants, protein, Vitamin B, manganese and magnesium and it is low in calories.
It has also been said to produce serotonin (the hormone that boosts your mood), help in digestion, lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.
Plain salted popcorn is the all time classic, but you can shake things up if you like. You can add healthy ingredients like nuts, banana crisps, toasted coconut flakes, dried fruit like raisins, dates, apple and pineapple and even dark chocolate bits. You can also use healthy sweeteners like maple syrup for your caramel popcorn and stevia for a sprinkling of sweetness or chili powder for some fire. Popcorn is the perfect blank canvas for you to experiment with.
A little vegetable oil (some recommend just air popping the seeds to ensure maximum nutritional benefit)
1/3 cup of popcorn seeds
A bit of salt
Over moderate heat, put the vegetable oil into a large cooking pot with a fitting cover, sprinkle a little salt across the surface of the oil, evenly spread the popcorn seeds over the oil and cover. You want enough seeds to cover the base of the cooking pot. Avoid layers where possible.
As the oil warms, shake the pot gently to evenly mix the oil, salt and seeds and place back on the heat source. Repeat from time to time to ensure the seeds are heating evenly, but make sure to leave them on the heat source long enough to actually heat through.
If you do not have a see-through cover, listen carefully for the sound of popping. It starts slowly at first and then more rapidly. This is a critical time, when the popcorn can actually begin to burn so once it starts the rapid popping shake the pot more frequently to allow the seeds that have not popped to drop to the bottom. Also try to leave it off direct heat to allow the popcorn to pop without burning. You can tentatively return it to the heat source from time to time to make sure that the last few seeds have enough heat to pop, but the popped corn doesn’t burn.
Take it off the heat, but do not uncover yet allowing the final seeds to pop, or they can jump out all over the place. Once you’re satisfied, pour them out into a large bowl. You can add some toppings and flavorings at this stage if you like.