Monday, November 1, 2010

Pop Pop Pop! Homemade Popcorn- Less Waste, Less chemicals!

Brrr! Today is the first real "winter" feeling day around Halifax, I missed my "mitaines" this morning! It's supposed to snain tonight (snow-rain for you non coast-ers) even!

 mmmm locally "milled" popcorn!

Winter weather always makes me think of homemade popcorn, made on winter evenings at my parents cottage with their avocado green air popcorn machine. One year we even strung popcorn and berries up for a garland of our wild "sapin" christmas tree (umm, harvested sustainably on crown land... lol. What, I was like 7).

Microwave popcorn has been a staple snack in my life for quite some time. For some reason, in my teenage years and beyond I conveniently forgot just how easy it was to pop popcorn from the kernel... imagining it would require a complicated avocado green popping machine... with dials and lights maybe. I dunno.

Microwave popcorn is a nice example of all that is wrong with a disposable lifestyle. The bags are easy and convenient and 100% disposable. Although some districts may be able to compost the bags, the come prepackaged in plastic, packaged in paper boxes and really... what are the chances that most people compost their popcorn bags?

Add to the excess packaging questions of PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid- a scary carcinogenic chemical present in microwave popcorn bags) as well as synthetic flavouring called diacetyl that has been linked to workers lung disease in the plants. Ick. 

Recently Andrew announced that he had researched it, and in fact popping our own popcorn on the stove was EASY and that we should just buy kernels and give it a go.

Our first attempt, a few months ago was ridiculous on the easy scale. For a period of a few weeks popping popcorn on the stove was fun and quick. After a few months, we tried again last night.... And took some pictures because I was getting ready to write this post.

Our bag o kernels!
Pouring into the pot!
Mason jar of moisturizing kernels

And they didn't pop. Nope, not even a little. We tried TWO batches. Who knew that popcorn kernels can go stale, dry out or go rancid? So, we put the kernels into a mason jar, added a spoon of water, gave it a shake and tried again the next day. With slightly better results... We're uncertain if it's our method or the kernels, so I'll write out our method and another option we're going to try tomorrow (hopefully with better success). In any case, we do know from our first few tries that popcorn your own popcorn sans synthetic flouring, plastic or PFOA is possible and even easy!

Lisa and Andrew's Popcorn Recipe #1
In a medium sized pot, add just enough oil (we used olive, different oils have different smoke points) to coat the bottom. Measure enough popcorn that would just cover the bottom (for us two hand fulls).
On medium to high heat, wait until the oil starts to ripple (you have to watch closely!)
When that happens add the popcorn, put the cover on and start moving the pot in a circular motion over the element.... continuously... until they start to pop.
And all done! Add some kosher salt and some beurre and you are good to go.

Recipe #2 (attempt to begin tomorrow)
Pour three tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan (that you can cover) on medium to high heat. Add two kernels. When one pops, add 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels and cover. When they begin to pop, start to shake or move the pan constantly to allow steam to escape (in order for the popcorn to keep their crunch). And you're done! :)

 Video of our popcorn success!
Who wants some eco-popcorn?

article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. LIKE THE OLE JIFFY POP IN A TIN PAN METHOD! Havn't thought to do that in years! My parents used to make it on the stove! Thank you for this post!

  2. My guy and I started making our own stovetop popcorn when we got rid of our microwave (yes!) and he puts a generous amount of garlic powder as topping! I know it sounds weird, but try it, and I promise you'll be hooked!!!

  3. We get our kernels at the Bulk Barn. We get the "white" popcorn, it has less of a husk on it than the regular yellow kernels, so you don't get as much crap in your teeth. Kernels should be stored in an air-tight container to keep them fresh.

    We use a Whirley-Pop stove top popper. We have a smooth-top range and you aren't supposed jiggle pans on it because it can scratch the stove. The popper has a handle on it that you turn which moves the kernels so they don't burn. Pretty much all of the kernels pop and it never burns like microwaved popcorn can. It's so good! We use 1 tablespoon of canola oil and 1/2 cup of kernels, which makes a generous portion for 2 people. I got my popper from Golda's Kitchen on You don't even need to wash it afterwards. Just wipe it with a clean cloth. The popper gets "seasoned" as you use it, washing it with soap will remove the seasoned-ness.

  4. I have been making popcorn on the stove my whole life. It is so much better than microwave popcorn. I have never had any problems getting it to pop. I actually add the oil to the pot and the popcorn before I turn on the flame.

  5. I never had any problems popping corn on the stove the first time I tried. Beginners luck I guess. ;)


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