July 21, 2014

DIY Homemade Microwave Popcorn (Why Did We Wait?)

Apr12

Why do I not always make homemade popcorn this way? DIY microwave popcorn! Perfect!

Our Stir Crazy Popcorn popper is a regular appliance on my counter top. We are a huge popcorn eating family. The yummy, homemade and oil kind of popcorn. The kind you just can’t get enough of, and people even ask you for your secret.

Two years ago, I shared my crazy buying binge when I thought my model of popcorn popper was no longer going to be sold. I bought three at yard sales and thrift stores. Yes, it’s a staple in our home.

Even though I love the homemade kind so much, I definitely buy microwave popcorn when I have coupons and find a good stock up price, but I cringe when I read the ingredients. I also have been shocked at the rise in price of microwave popcorn.

I’ve heard it whispered for years that you can make your own Homemade Microwave Popcorn, but I just never took the few seconds to actually give it a try. Then my sweet friend emailed me and said, “Try it,” so I did and spent the afternoon experimenting.

Why, oh why, have I not done this sooner? Run, I tell you. Run to the pantry and grab your popcorn. If you have children, they will think you are the coolest mom eve,r and you will never buy the store bought stuff again.

You will be giddy with how easy, frugal and healthy this is. For the price of one store bought bag of popcorn, you can make the equivalent of about 10 bags with no junk in the ingredients.

Why do I not always make homemade popcorn this way? DIY microwave popcorn! Perfect!

Let’s not complicate this. For completely fat free, healthy popcorn, all you need is a small brown paper lunch bag and some popcorn kernels. Use the white kernels. Trust me, they are just so much better than yellow, but of course, yellow works just fine as well.

Place 1/3 cup unpopped kernels in brown paper lunch bag. You must use this kind. Fold the top over a few times so the kernels do not pop everywhere. Personally, I put it in a container so that the bag doesn’t fall over. This isn’t necessary, but if the bag does fall, it might have a tendency for the kernels to burn. Microwave on high for 2 – 2 1/2 minutes. The first few times listen closely for when the popping slows down. Every microwave cooks so differently and it can burn quickly if left popping too long. My “popcorn timer” popped it a bit too long and it burned the first time. This may happen to you as well until you find the “perfect” time for your microwave.

If you don’t have brown lunch bags, you may use a microwave container with a lid. That works just as well, but not quite as much “fun.”

Voila! You are finished. Delicious fat free popcorn. Now, sprinkle with some popcorn salt and you are ready to go.

Variations: If you aren’t as concerned about 100% fat free, I tried two different options. First, I tossed the kernels with a a few tablespoons of oil and sprinkled seasoning salt on it, and then placed in the bag. I have also used some spray “fake butter” right in the bag. Both are still great low calorie options.

Isn’t that the best idea ever? Run and try it. I’ll wait for two minutes and you can tell me how fun this was and how you can’t believe you haven’t tried this before. :)

Why do I not always make homemade popcorn this way? DIY microwave popcorn! Perfect!

Microwave Caramel Corn

As I experimented, I really wanted to come up with a low fat sweet option. I am thrilled to say I found out, and my kids says it almost tastes like real kettle corn, minus the thousands of fat grams. Obviously, using butter would really enrich the taste, but I found that just tossing 1/3 cup of brown sugar around my unpopped kernels and the following the same directions, gave me a homemade caramel corn taste, virtually fat free.

If  you’ve looked in the store aisles lately, you’ll see colored microwave popcorn. I was on determined to find a way to achieve this without having to use tons and tons of food coloring. I spent hours attempting to soak the kernels in food coloring, but once it pops, it just leaves a faint hint of color (see the blue) on the husks.

Yes, I could just spray a mist of food coloring once the popcorn is popped, but that definitely my experiment. If anyone has any more brainstorms for this one, I am up for the challenge. :)


Comments

  1. What if you mixed the food coloring with the oil?

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  2. I’ve done colored popcorn in a stir crazy, you simply sprinkle colored sugar [yes, the kind you usually use to decorate good old sugar cookies] over the kernels before popping them. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work the same way in the microwave, just like the brown sugar!

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    Jen Reply:

    Loretta – I bet because the stir crazy continues to turn while popping, it allowed the sugar to coat the corn. Love that. Will try it in the microwave too, but I can see it working much better in the stir crazy.

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  3. Fun challenge! I will have to think on that one… :)

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  4. I have heard of this, but never tried it. I promise…because of your post…I will be trying it now!!

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  5. We tried this today, Jen, and it was awesome! I’m pinning it for sure!!

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    Jen Reply:

    hi sweet Stacie – glad you enjoyed it. Hope you are doing well. :) Wish we had had more time to chat at Relevant.

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  6. Try light corn syrup with food coloring gel. You buy the gel in the cake making aisle at craft stores. Of course, it will be sweet tasting. But very cool looking.

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  7. We love to make popcorn this way! I also sprinkle melted butter after it’s been popped. Sometimes I also melt Parmesan cheese or another shredded cheese on top. It’s a favorite snack!

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  8. You could also use powdered Jell-O mixed with butter, but then your popcorn would have a fruity taste.

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  9. Joy mentioned using powdered Jell-O. Powdered sugar free koolade type drinks or powdered koolade with sugar would probably work, too.

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  10. What a great idea! I need to try this. We eat tons of popcorn in this house too. My beloved Cuisinart popper (that I got at Goodwill for $5) just died and I’m waivering buying an air popper…… but I might just try your stir crazy! :)
    Kristi

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  11. Jennifer McDaniel says:

    My 8 year old loves to make his own homeade microwave popcorn. I would try Kool Aid for the color & flavor.

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  12. We go to a place with the kids that sells “blue” popcorn and they use cotton candy floss powder. Not ever piece comes out with color / sweetness…

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  13. Frieda says:

    Tried the pop corn in the brown bag it is awesome, next batch I will try the oil on the corn and then pop it. This will be a great gift idea as well. Thanks for sharing

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  14. Chellie says:

    We’ve been making popcorn this way for about a year. I never thought of adding the brown sugar, though, read it out loud, and now the kids would like to skip dinner and have a carmel corn movie night instead (Not tonight, bi-weekly shopping day is tomorrow and I don’t want them up all night. We’ll do it tomorrow night :)

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  15. I do this on the stovetop in a stockpot. The kids love to watch. We love grated Parmesan for a rich salty taste. Toss as desired on warm popped corn. We use Cooking spray or oil to pop.

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  16. I know when microwaves first became popular they used to pop it in paper grocery bags. However, they warned people not to do this because the bags were made from recycled materials and could contain pesticides/insect killer that leached out into the food when the bag was heated. I don’t know if this is an issue with the lunch bags. (Cardboard boxes and paper grocery bags used to harbor roaches in the warehouses….thus the need for chemicals.)
    Does anyone know if this is still a concern?

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    Jen Reply:

    I looked into this before I wrote it and I felt comfortable sharing the tip. I don’t think it’s a problem any more since they make them specifically for food, but you can get eco friendly bags if there’s any doubt. :)

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  17. What about trying to sprinkle either kool-aid powder or jello powder in before you pop it? Sure, you will get the taste, but if you use either the jello or pre-sweetened kool-aid you might get a gourmet style colored/flavored caramel corn thrown into the bargain! (I have not tried it, but who knows, it might work!)

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  18. Mary Taylor-Rasmussen says:

    I tried the brown sugar on the popcorn and it turned out pretty good. I can’t wait to share this with my Grandkids and my friends on facebook. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

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