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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Popping Popcorn

There is a lot of information about popcorn on the internet (over 22 million references), but I wanted to add my small piece about popcorn poppers.

When I was young and living at home, our popcorn popper was a large saucepan that we would heat, add about a tablespoon of oil and then some popcorn, put the lid on the pan, and shake the pan until all the popcorn popped.

After my dad’s parents passed away, we inherited the popcorn popper that my dad used when he was little.  It is a Jolly Time Corn Popper.  You plug it in and let it get hot inside, then add some oil and popcorn, and turn the handle on top that turns a wire inside the stirs the popcorn until it pops.  We used it a few times, but it doesn’t make very much in one batch, so we went back to our large saucepan.

Fast forward to the late 1970’s when the first air poppers were introduced.  They don’t use any oil, so the popcorn is much better for you, the air popper also had a handy tray on the top that you could use to measure a full load of kernels.  Once the kernels were dumped inside and heating, you could use the tray on top to melt butter to pour over the popcorn.  The air popper was the greatest things to come along for making popcorn.

A number of years ago my sister gave me a Whirley-Pop corn popper for Christmas.  You place it on the stovetop and let it heat, add some oil and the popcorn, and turn a small crank that comes out of the handle.  Hmmm, this looks and operates a lot like the vintage Jolly Time Corn Popper.  The Whirley-Pop includes a great recipe for kettle corn, simply add two table spoons of oil and then a couple tablespoons of white sugar when you add the popcorn and let it pop.  All the popcorn gets a very thin glaze of melted sugar.

I prefer to use the air popper when making caramel corn with Jolly Tim yellow popcorn.  I have found the air popper does not work very well with Orville Redenbacher popcorn because it is too energetic and pops blows most of the kernels out before they can pop.  Orville Redenbacher works very well in the Whirley-Pop and most of the time 100% of the kernels pop.

It doesn’t matter much to me which method I use to pop the corn; all I want is a little margarine and a good movie to go with it.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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