the perfect popcorn

This post originally published on a previously-owned blog and was imported here to simplify my life. My family eats much healthier than this nowadays, but I include this post for memories and history. I hope you enjoy the content!

So, this is still an extreme favorite of mine and of several friends. I could probably write a novel about popcorn like a total nerd, but let’s just share the old photos from the original blog post now. 😉

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The first thing you need to do is buy white popcorn kernels. This is one of my “secrets.” Break away from the traditional yellow corn. The white is smaller and makes a big difference in the final result.

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Secondly, consider the oil. My very favorite to use is corn oil. We won’t talk about what is more healthy because this isn’t at the top of the list. We’re just talking about the “perfect popcorn” today! Other vegetable oils produce similar results…using olive oil produces a wide variety of final tastes, depending on quality and type…and some people think canola oil makes it taste like fish! Coconut oil is fun to use but not if you don’t like the flavor of coconut… Anyway, corn oil is still my favorite after all these years and I’m thankful we can find it in Ecuador!

Cover the bottom of the pot with oil. I tend to put enough so that one kernel would be half- to almost covered.

Here’s the next “secret” – the oil must be heated first. To clue you in as to whether the oil is hot enough (and this trick I got from my dad), place a kernel or two in the pot while heating. It’s hard to see but there’s a kernel in this next picture. 🙂

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As for the temperature, with my flat-top electric stove in the States, I needed it about as high as possible to turn out well. Here in Ecuador, I use closer to medium heat because a) we have super cheap pots and b) it sits on the open flame of a gas stove!

When there are little bubbles gurgling up all around the kernel(s), fill ‘er up! Scoop a healthy layer of kernels and cover the bottom of the pan. If you don’t want your lid to pop off (see farther below) like I like it (what, you get more in one batch that way!), then do a bit fewer kernels than you see below.

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Put the lid on as soon as possible. In the ideal situation you have a glass lid and a long handle, but not a requirement! If your lid doesn’t sit snugly like our cheapies in Quito, here’s a fancy trick:

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As soon as the corn starts popping, the oil goes nuts, too…making these lids super hard to clean but oh-so worth it.

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And once it starts, it should come quickly! If it doesn’t, you’ve got an issue.

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I’ve actually perfected the “ear” for this. I can get 65 things done between the time I put on the lid and the time I take it off without letting a single kernel burn. 😉

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Now’s where some skill comes in. Get to know your pan and lid. To make the most bang for your batch, see how far the lid can go without dropping a single kernel and dirtying up your stove top.

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Mine usually goes at least an inch higher than this, but I had to set the camera down and do the next steps quickly…

…of which I have no photos because I was home alone and needed two hands!

Have a large bowl and your salt shaker ready. Pretending you’re a lefty, hold the pot with your right hand (this is why the long handle comes in handy, but when I have to use a nubby handle, I use wear an oven mitt so I don’t burn my hand on the side of the pot) and turn on its side, keeping the lid on with your left. Slowly and with control let out batches into the bowl. It will usually keep popping so unless you want your dog and/or child to pick up steaming hot kernels that flew across the room, keep your left hand on that lid until all is in the bowl and safely not popping anymore.

Quickly shake salt all over. Toss the bowl so that it all turns over and salt thoroughly at least one more time. I usually do a few times for my large batches.

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People who come over assume my popcorn is buttered, it’s that good. Just sayin’. 😉

Now, eat & enjoy!

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