I never really questioned how the corn kernels I gnaw off a cob could be related to the ones that come in that handy bag and microwave up into fluffy, delicious popcorn.
Plus, it was only this year that I realized my grandpa can and does grow popping corn and that a person can pop popcorn without the assistance of Mr Orville Redenbacher.
When I was but a wee lass, I actually do remember my other grandpa popping popcorn for us, and since he's diabetic, he was always careful about portions and the stuff with which he coated his share. I wasn't so careful, however, and I know that I smothered my bowl of popcorn with butter-flavored salt, sometimes so much so that it became practically inedible. That didn't turn me away from popcorn, though, and I've always enjoyed it.
When my grandpa offered to give me some of his popping corn, I readily accepted. After hearing his tips on preparation and doing a little extra research and some trial-and-error experimentation of my own, I think I've devised a pretty reliable method for making a fantastic batch of stove-top-popped popcorn. Over the past few months, I've seen lots of posts about flavored popcorn, so if that's your game, go wild. I'm satisfied with a little bit of salt and a little bit of sugar. While I tried both butter and vegetable oil, my fat of choice quickly became coconut oil (LouAna, a Southern favorite, is my specific pick)--the popcorn seemed lighter and just a little bit more flavorful.
In the pithy words of Magnitude: Pop pop!
Makes about 8 cups
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) coconut oil(or other fat)
- 1/4 cup popping corn
- Salt, pepper, sugar, spices to taste
Put oil into a large stainless cooking pot that has a lid or cover; turn on medium heat.
Pour a single layer of popcorn kernels into the pot and place the lid on it.
Heat for about 20 seconds, then remove and leave to the side for 30 seconds. This allows all the kernels to heat to the same level, to give them all the chance to pop together.
Place the pot back onto the stove, and after a minute or two, you should hear the first pop.
Shake the pot occasionally.
Expect the popping noise to grow more and more rapid as the pan and oil get hotter.
If the popcorn rises to where the lid lifts off the pan, dump some out into the large container, and quickly place the pan back on the stove.
Once the popping has slowed so that you don't hear any pops in 3 seconds, dump the entire contents of the pan into a large container (the popcorn will have absorbed all the cooking oil).
Sprinkle salt, sugar, and desired spices over the popped corn. Shake the container to distribute the additions throughout.