Sunday, February 2, 2014

Microwave Popcorn

I have an addiction - popcorn. It is of course my parents fault. Isn't everything? Okay, maybe up until about eight years old or so you might buy that but at 54, probably not. But no one can contest the fact that they started my addiction. They did. When I was a child we either had popcorn or ice cream in the evenings when watching television. Maybe a few nights a month now I'll have ice cream but popcorn - at least three times a week. I simply love the stuff. It can be caramel, just not microwave caramel, buttered, or even smothered in marshmallow cream. It is just good stuff.

One year I bought little packets of all different kinds of popcorn, white corn, yellow corn, black corn, and even a red corn. They were all delicious as far as I was concerned and yes, there was a slight variation in flavor. My favorite part I think was the addition of real butter and real salt to the mix. My husband wasn't all that impressed and so I abandoned the idea of buying gourmet, if you will, popcorn. I am going to try and grow popcorn this summer. I'm just trying to gear myself up for the hand pollinating of some of the ears on my sweet corn and popcorn and bagging them to keep cross pollination from occurring. I need to start making bags now to be ready. Oh how I love an excuse to go to the sewing store. The need to buy muslin is a great one don't you think?

But I've grown more and more concerned about the most common popcorn - microwaved. I have done some research to try and quell my fears. First of all, the microwave is not the dangerous part. It is the additions, the packaging, the fake butter. 


I'm not addicted to the fake butter kind anyway but my husband kind of likes that. Extra fake buttery is his choice. I have a particular weakness for Kettle Corn. The divine sweet / salty flavor will lull me into eating the whole bag. Please don't judge me too harshly for I do try and eat the more healthy stuff. I've switched long ago to Orville Redenbacher brands. Not because I knew better but that voice that whispers in my head said to. He's never wrong because it doesn't come from my end but a celestial one. Now after researching I find he was right once more. Orville Redenbacher years back switched from using trans fats to non trans fats. Now the FDA has banned it in all microwave popcorns and other companies are scrambling to comply. It took Orville four years to come up with a formula, the other companies don't have that long. It is beyond me why it too so long but in that I'm a bit hesitant. In my kitchen I just switch oils, voila done, so what did they do? I know Orville might be better but he's still not good. Just look at his label. The TBHO stuff and the artificial flavors and he even has sucralose. I can do better than that. You know the line, "Anything he can do, I can do better." from what song I don't know but it is my theme. Surely I can do better making my own microwave popcorn.

I'd skip the diacetyl, a cancer forming agent in the fake butter. I can do real, for some reason companies don't.

The third problem with microwave popcorn is the bag itself. "A report from the FDA indicates that a chemical coating used in microwave popcorn bags breaks down when heated into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA). The Environmental Protection Agency has identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen.” Another study has found an acid that can be extracted from the chemical causes cancer in animals and is “likely to cause cancer in humans.”

Don't know how Orville is doing on that front but though he might do better, I know I can do better yet besides it will move me one step further away from dependency. And others have quoted that they've saved a bundle doing it themselves. Maybe I'm not the only addict out there. I like that idea. You know, misery loves company. Wait, I'm not miserable. Well, the more the merrier, we can have a popcorn party.

Doing it yourself appears to be simple. I haven't tried it yet. Experimentation here we come. Some sites say 1/2 cup of popcorn and others say 1/4 cup works best. I'll let you know what I find out. But in all the recipes I looked at, I do like the idea of mixing a teaspoon of oil with the popcorn kernels to coat them and sprinkling on a 1/2 teaspoon or less of salt before placing it all in the bag. Use non recycled bags because of the hazard of the glue in the recycled ones, fold over the top of the bag a couple times and put it in the microwave on high for three minutes if you don't have a popcorn setting on your oven. Wait for the corn to quit popping and eat. What could be more simple than this. Let's try it. If you've got any advice, share. We'd all like to know, especially me. There has got to be one of you who have tried this.

As for my favorite kind, well there are recipes for Kettle Corn popcorn brown paper bag style too. But what about the chemicals in the brown paper bags. Hmm.....I saw an article about that somewhere where there were chemicals released in them also. Good idea, bad idea using paper bags, not so sure but I thought I'd try the method where you use a glass container also. If it works just as well, and I don't know why not, I like that idea better. The instructions said to put plastic over the top of the container. I'm not so sure about that. Hmmmm...... what else could I use?  I'll have to think on that a while, meanwhile I think I'll have a another bag of Orville's Kettle Corn. I still have a few bags left.

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