October is more than just a month to celebrate spooks and sweets. It is also a month to celebrate treats that are good for you, like popcorn (which also makes a perfect treat for Halloween). Luckily, October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month!
Did you know that Americans consume 14 billion quarts of popcorn annually? Continue to read to find out why popcorn is a popular snack choice.
Did you know that lightly seasoned, fresh popcorn is a wholesome snack? Popcorn is one snack food that can fit perfectly into your healthy lifestyle.
- Popcorn is a whole grain! Three cups of popcorn = 1 serving of whole grains.
- Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup.
- Lightly buttered popcorn contains ~80 calories per cup.
- Three cups of popcorn contains 4 grams of fiber.
Breaking the Bad Rep
Unfortunately, movie theatres, festivals and amusement parks have given popcorn a bad rep. They load their popcorn with butter, salt and artificial additives, which add empty calories. But, popcorn doesn’t have to be eaten this way! It has a delicious taste all on its own and, if made the right way, it can be a great addition to your day.
Making your own popcorn can seem a little scary and may push you to buy store-bought popcorn (with extra butter…), but that doesn’t have to be the case! You can easily make your own popcorn and season it the way you want.
Here are 3 steps for easy popping
- You can make popcorn right on the stovetop in a pot. There is no need for a fancy popcorn machine! If you’re making it on the stovetop, use a heavy-bottomed pot deep enough to accommodate the popped corn.
- Fill the bottom of your pot lightly with canola oil (the oil should have a high smoke point). To check and see if the oil is ready for the kernels, drop 2-3 kernels into the pot and see if they pop. If they do, you can add the rest of the kernels.
- Leave the lid on your pan slightly ajar while the popcorn is popping. This will allow water vapor to escape and keep your popcorn from reabsorbing the moisture and becoming tough and chewy. Your popcorn will come out light and fluffy, with a little crunch!
Using a microwavable safe bowl, you can make your own popcorn in the microwave too. Put your kernels in the bowl and pop (no pun intended…) it in the microwave. Two-three minutes later… viola! No butter or oil necessary.
Salt and butter are not your only options when it comes to flavoring your popcorn! There are so many different flavorings you can add. Use your creativity and switch up your seasonings!
Just remember to season lightly at first, you can always add more after you taste it.
- Chili powder will add a spicy, smoky flavor.
- Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor.
- Powdered sugar will make your popcorn resemble kettle-corn.
- Parmesan cheese and truffle oil blends earthy, buttery and cheesy flavors for the perfect combination (only use a little bit of truffle oil).
- Basil, parsley, garlic salt and olive oil will taste like a breadstick, without the excess butter!
- Salt and vinegar is a classic flavor that tastes great on popcorn.
Tip: When popping your own popcorn, three tablespoons of kernels can make a total of six cups of popcorn!
Your Turn to Take Action: What’s your favorite popcorn seasoning? Let me know in the comments below!