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Secrets to Popping the Perfect Popcorn – WIN our contest!


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My relationship with popcorn started innocently enough.  When I was younger, I began seeing Orville Redenbacher.  As I grew older, I discovered Paul Newman. He was hard to let go of, but over the past couple of years I found new varietals popping up in the grocery store and farmer’s market.  With names like Autumn Blaze, Sunset Fire, Blue Heron and Black Hills, popcorn has gone gourmet.

Popcorn varieties are broadly categorized by either the shape or color of the kernels, or the shape of the popped corn.  While the kernels may come in a variety of colors, the popped corn is always off-yellow or white.  According to the Star-K, raw kernels do not require kosher certification.

According to The Popcorn Board, Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually, which amounts to approximately 52 quarts per person.  Popcorn is lower in calories than most snack foods.  Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup.  When oil-popped, it contains only 55 calories.  Popcorn is a whole grain food which makes it a high-quality carbohydrate source that is not only low in calories, but high in fiber.  This means it takes longer to chew and makes you feel full longer.

Many people credit popcorn for helping them lose weight.   Air popped and topped with your choice of 16 flavors from Kernel Season’s, including White Cheddar, Chili Lime and Chocolate Marshmallow is a guilt-free way to cure your crunch obsession.

In order to qualify as a healthy alternative to other snack foods, you will to have to stay away from the popcorn available at the movie theater. According to a November 2009 study commissioned by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, the medium and large size popcorn available at Regal, the country’s biggest movie theater chain, each had 1,200 calories and a whopping 60 grams of saturated fat!

Here are our secrets for perfect popping:

If using the stove…

*Warm a 3 to 4 quart pan or a wok with a lid. Add approximately 3 tbsp. of vegetable oil to the pan, just enough to cover the bottom.
*Drop in two or three kernels and cover with the lid. When the kernels pop, add the whole 1/3 cup popcorn.  Pour just enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pan. Again, cover with the lid.
*Shake the pan while the kernels heat and pop.  Occasionally lift the lid slightly to allow steam to escape.  When you hear the last few pops, remove the pan from the heat immediately, take off the lid and empty the popped popcorn into a large bowl. Salt or season to taste. Pre-salting kernels toughens the popcorn, so salt after or try it salt-free with other spices.

For easy microwave popping…

*Open a brown paper bag, add 1/4 cup kernels, fold over the top of the bag about ½ inch, and pop like you would a store-bought brand.
*Heat for 2-3 minutes or experiment with your microwave’s popcorn setting.

What I love most about popcorn is its simplicity — after all, it’s just a single popped kernel of corn.  However, with a little creativity, the sweet and savory combinations are endless and it can be a delicious accompaniment to an assortment of appetizers or part of a decadent dessert.

***CONTEST*** We share two of our favorite recipes below. For a chance to win a selection of Kernel Season’s Popcorn Seasonings, tell us how you like your popcorn in the Comments below! [Contest open to US Residents only. One winner will be picked at random. Contest ends March 7th 2011 at 9 am EST.]

Dilly Lemon Munch

Asian Popcorn Medley

Photos and recipes courtesy of the Popcorn Board.

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About Tamar Genger MA, RD


Tamar lives in New York and is the mother of three amazing children, a Registered Dietitian, professor of Nutrition, and as you can probably guess, a foodie! Tamar loves to travel with her family and visits kosher restaurants wherever she goes. Although she loves the sights, she spends more time talking about the restaurants and food she ate! As a mom and a nutritionist, Tamar tries to balance her passion for healthy cooking with her insatiable desire for chocolate!




69 Responses to Secrets to Popping the Perfect Popcorn – WIN our contest!

  1. avatar says: susqhb

    Fresh popped popcorn is the go-to snack in our house. We make a small bowl most nights after dinner. Its great for a quick, healthy and pareve (non-dairy) dessert. The best part of popping yourself, rather than buying a microwave popping brand, it that you can make it as healthy or as junk-foody as you want.

    Our usual go-to is a spin on kettle corn. We pop the corn and then sprinkle on some Splenda, seasoned salt, and sometimes, if we are feeling adventurous, a little bit of Chili Powder. We also have several of the Kernel Season’s flavors that we enjoy often too! Our favorite is Parmesan & Garlic. YUM!

  2. My daughter did a report on popcorn in 4th grade. We learned about the many kinds of popcorn species available in our area. As a family, we tried them out, from Lady Finger, which pops up tiny and dainty, to the blue and red corns that pop up pure white, and then on to Mushroom Popcorn, which is my favorite. Mushroom popcorn pops up with most of the kernels emerging with a puffy, mushroom shaped top.
    Mushroom Pop Corn is the corn of choice if you are making popcorn balls or other pop-corn treats, since the large surface area gives the syrups plenty to adhere to.
    My favorite way to prepare it is with an air popper, and then top with a mix of butter, olive oil, and powdered garlic & a little salt, heated in the microwave, or just sprinkled with nutritional yeast (it’s vegan & pareve so AKA in my house as ‘fake-on cheese’, since grated Parmesan is ‘shake-on cheese’). The kids eat it hot & plain, or with a little salt. Always a hit on a play date, when we run out of stuff to do. “Who wants to have pop-corn?” & then they gather round to watch it pop & eat it up!

  3. avatar says: Stef42678

    Popcorn is my all time favorite snack. I love air popped popcorn with just a little salt and sometime a drizzle of sugar free maple syrup for some extra sweetness. I would love to win some popcorn because I eat it everyday!

  4. avatar says: G6

    I love my popcorn either “sweet and salty” mixed or with lots of cheddary goodness sprinkled on top.
    I enjoy trying new and interesting flavors and would love to win a sampling of these products!
    Thanks for running the giveaway :D

  5. avatar says: MK

    I prefer air-popped with garlic salt (& butter usually).

  6. I love popcorn!!!!! My favorite snack. Would like to add something different to it.

  7. avatar says: Joy F

    I love mine with extra butter.

  8. avatar says: Melissa

    I love stove popped popcorn with a bit of kettle corn seasoning! Nothing better for a family movie night!

  9. avatar says: asandy

    with dried cheese powder

  10. avatar says: Theresa H

    popcorn is my favorite snack…I love it with a little (or a lot) butter and salt.

  11. I pop mine in a cast iron skillet and then add some cajun spice to it.

  12. avatar says: melsywsou

    Loads of butter!

  13. i usually like to pop it over the stove, then season it with seasoned salt and Tabasco sauce!

  14. avatar says: McKim

    I like my popcorn with lots of butter and lots of salt – not the healthiest way!!
    kimkmc at yahoo.com

  15. avatar says: ben

    We pop corn in a glass bowl we bought at Walmart with a regular microwave cover. It takes almost 5 minutes because of the glass. We then use butter flavored cooking spray to lightly spray the popcorn then give it a shake and spray again etc. and salting all the while. Tastes amazing. Nice to know that you can do it in a bag so easily. I might give it a try.

  16. I haven’t met a popped corn that I haven’t loved…I love the combo of rosemary and olive oil, or lime/lemon infused w/ dill oil, or cilantro and mint…it’s all good…

  17. avatar says: Jenn S.

    I love popcorn with a little season salt and cayenne. Yum!

  18. avatar says: jolene

    i like to dip buttered popcorn in peanut butter

  19. avatar says: DeeAnn S

    We like our popcorn smothered in butter! Sometimes I’ll take different spices, like cinnamon/sugar mix or lemon/pepper salt, and sprinkle it on the popcorn before removing it from the pan. Thanks.

  20. avatar says: Pat

    We like popcorn with sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

  21. avatar says: skossman

    just butter and salt

  22. avatar says: Leah

    With melted caramel and peanuts

  23. avatar says: lisa

    No butter, either black pepper or other spicy seasonings.

  24. avatar says: chris

    love popcorn with cheddar cheese on it

  25. avatar says: Alicia

    I like popcorn with tabasco/hot sauce or worchestershire sauce sprinkled on.

    Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

  26. avatar says: Mercer63

    Like my popcorn w/ some butter & salt..

  27. avatar says: Amy

    i’m a purist. i get the highest quality popcorn from a place like Riehle’s popcorn (www.selectpopcorn.com), use a pot and oil, and lightly toss with some salt. i find that the more flavor the popcorn has, like those from the higher end gourmet purveyors, the less i need to add things to make it taste good.

    we make it every shabbos as the “shabbos go to snack” and i think i’ve started a trend in my neighborhood.

  28. avatar says: anna t.

    I like my popcorn with very little salt and a touch of butter.

  29. avatar says: Tracy P

    I love my popcorn with a little bit of salt and lots of butter!!

  30. at the movie theather with a lot of butter

  31. avatar says: mogrill

    I like Shredded cheese and salt on mine.
    Thanks for the chance.

  32. avatar says: Laura P.

    Popcorn is my favorite snack I do like a butter and salt sometimes but I also sometimes spritz on a little olive oil, then, follow it up with some garlic salt to make a bit of a healthier option.

  33. We like our popcorn with a little salt & cheddar.

  34. avatar says: Theresa D

    I love my popcorn with parmesan cheese.

  35. avatar says: ky2here

    How I like it and how I prepare it are two different things. I eat heart healthy most of the time and air popped popcorn with no oil, salt or flavorings is my ‘go to’ snack.

    However when I’m feeling frisky, I’ll nuke some butter (no margarine in my house) and add some sea salt, pepper and italian seasonings.

    Guess when I’m happier?

  36. avatar says: Robin

    We love to have our popcorn with a little of butter and salt

  37. powedered cheese on top

  38. We like to take powdered Parmesan (the kind you sprinkle on spaghetti), Italian Seasoning, and Garlic Powder and mix it together. We sprinkle it over buttered popcorn. We keep a bottle mixed up in the fridge.

  39. avatar says: Crystal

    I like it with butter and sea salt

  40. avatar says: valerie

    I cook it in a cast iron dutch oven with coconut oil

  41. We love to make popcorn when we watch movies and I love salt and extra, extra butter on it.

  42. avatar says: Jenny

    We like cayenne and parmesan on ours!

  43. avatar says: Rachel

    I like kettle corn

  44. avatar says: shawna

    I like air popped with some butter.

  45. We like to make caramel corn at home!

  46. avatar says: Audrey M

    I love eating popcorn with hot sauce and parmesean cheese. Thankyou :)

  47. I like my popcorn with butter, parmesan cheese and a dash of dill.

  48. avatar says: amie d

    I love very buttery popcorn with garlic salt on it! Yum! Thanks!

  49. Lots of butter and salt!

  50. I have a few favorite- lightly seasoned with garlic salt and a handful of cashew bits tossed in or on the sweet side lightly drizzled with melted chocolate and carmal

  51. We love butter, salt free seasoning salt, and grated parmesan on our popcorn.

  52. I like my popcorn with butter and salt

  53. avatar says: tina page

    We recently learned about cooking it in a brown paper bag in the microwave. The kids love it. We generally add olive oil and a bit of garlic salt. Its so good!

  54. avatar says: AEKZ2

    Lately I’ve been loving my popcorn with Jalapeno seasoning.

  55. avatar says: forreall

    We really love popcorn and my kids love to make it in our hot air popcorn machine. We love all different kinds: kettle corn, butter, with a little bit of crab seasoning etc. This is the first I have heard of kernal’s seasoning and they sound so good I would really like to try them.

  56. Our favorite way to eat popcorn is lightly drizzled with peanut butter and milk chocolate.


  57. avatar says: Pamela S

    Well the way I LIKE it is loaded with butter and salt LOL, but my doctor has me on restricted salt AND fat, so some of these flavors to try might cut down the unhealthy popcorn I eat and learn some new tricks. The Asian Popcorn Medley recipe sound yummy!! Thanks.

  58. I like my popcorn with butter.

  59. avatar says: Sand

    I love my popcorn popped in peanut oil, a little bit of melted butter on top and a sprinkle of sea salt.

  60. avatar says: Jennifer

    I have always been a popcorn fanatic & pretty adventurous with trying different ways & flavors. All time fave is garlic (always guaranteed me my own bowl…LOL). Usually air pop mine but also love it on the stove…don’t like the microwave popped much. Would love to win cause trying to start dieting and the different flavors would help keep me from getting bored.

  61. avatar says: Justine

    I don’t eat it very often, but my fave is a huge bucket of movie popcorn with extra butter, I could live on that stuff!

  62. i love my popcorn with butter on it

  63. I like popcorn with butter, salt, and sometimes Parmesan or Romano cheese.

    dwellenstein at cox dot net

  64. avatar says: shemp

    I like my popcorn air popped with cheddar cheese or drizzled with caramel

  65. avatar says: Becky

    I like my popcorn..drizzled in LOtS of butter..

  66. avatar says: tomato

    I like my popcorn with no butter, just seasonings!

  67. avatar says: demmi

    I like my popcorn lots of ways but the most important thing for me is that the popcorn is freshly made

  68. I like mine w their white cheddar seasoning!
    Lovefool827 (at) yahoo (dotcom)

  69. Our winner selected at random is Melissa! Thanks for playing and all your great comments and ideas to bring to new life to my popcorn love affair. Now it’s time to enter our new contest — help Jamie create a Mishloach Manot movie themed poem or rhyme and win a delicious gift basket – http://blog.kosher.com/2011/03/09/homemade-treats-for-purim-win-a-gift-basket/