I finally got around to making homemade popcorn! I have been meaning to do this for a long time now. Hold on…before you roll your eyes and wonder why I didn’t just throw a bag into the microwave and press the “popcorn” button, turns out this was a really fun, quick, and super easy project and, more importantly, it didn’t involve any of the really toxic chemicals that microwave popcorn has been proven to contain. Here are a few scary pieces of information:
1. Diacetyl is a chemical used in artificial butter flavoring found in microwavable popcorn that is extremely toxic – it’s the cause for sickening hundreds of popcorn factory workers and even killing a few of them. The condition is called “popcorn lung” or, more scientifically, bronchiolitis obliterans which, if it doesn’t kill you, requires you to get a double lung transplant.
2. Even though many leading microwave popcorn companies have since replaced diacteyl with “newer, safer, butter substitutes”, they can be as toxic as the one they replaced, according to health investigators.
3. The material coating of the microwaveable bags has been found to contain a toxin called perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA.
4. Toxicologists estimate that microwave popcorn could account for about 20% of the PFOA levels measured in a person consuming just 10 bags a year. PFOA exposure has been associated with birth defects, increased cancer rates, and changes to lipid levels, the immune system and liver function.
Still want to curl up with that bag of microwaveable popcorn? I can literally smell the cancer-causing artificial ingredients emanating from the bag. I am not judging – up until tonight, I have made only microwaveable popcorn myself. But, when I read the article where I got my facts from (http://ethicalnag.org/2010/01/09/micro-popcorn/), I decided, enough was enough and finally busted out the popcorn kernels that have been sitting in my pantry. I would show the kids how it was done “back when I was a kid”. (Crap…did I just really say that?)
The whole project took less than 10 minutes – and that was considering it was my virgin attempt. Next time will take way less!
Here’s the “recipe” I followed:
1. 1 Tbsp canola oil
2. 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels
4. 1 tbsp butter
1. Heat the oil in a medium or large sauce pan over medium high heat.
2. Add 3 kernels. When they all pop, add the rest of the kernels and shake the pot to coat the kernels with oil
3. Quickly cover the pot (hopefully you have a glass cover so your kids can watch the popping action – it’s not a deal breaker but it’s definitely an added bonus!).
4. Continue gently shaking the pot as the kernels pop – it should sound just like the microwaveable variety does. The popping should happen virtually all at once – I think it took mine about a minute to all pop, give or take.
5. When you hear the popping slow down significantly (like 1-2 real seconds in between pops), remove the pot from the heat, remove the lid, and pour into a bowl immediately.
6. Melt the butter and pour that over the popcorn.
7. Add salt to taste.
The popcorn was delicious! It was light and airy and didn’t have any artificial nastiness! As my 2 year old very eloquently stated…and I quote…”Mommy, this not yellow pahcorn – this white pahcorn. I love white pahcorn better.”
ENJOY! I know my kids did!