Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Things You Should Never Buy: Microwave Popcorn

This post begins an ongoing series called "Things You Should Never Buy (Because They're So Damn Easy to Make)."

I stopped buying microwaveable popcorn long ago for a number of reasons. It makes nearly every food caution list because of the carcinogens in the packaging. The butter-like substance of unknown origin covering the kernels gives me pause. The price increase from bulk popping kernels to bagged popping corn is absurd. And the bagged popping corn creates unnecessary packaging waste that bulk kernels do not.

So I have been making popcorn with loose kernels on the stovetop. It's pretty easy, but I've thought here and there about getting an air popper. I haven't yet because I try to avoid single task kitchen tools (think: melon ballers, panini makers, egg poaching doodads). I'm so glad I didn't buy one, because my housemate tipped me off to an amazingly obvious concept I had never considered: Microwave Popcorn.

We put a handful of loose kernels in a brown paper bag, folded the top over a couple times, and laid it in the microwave. We cooked it on the "popcorn" setting--probably 4 minutes or so. That's all. Seriously. And it worked! I was ecstatic (I really like popcorn). It suddenly seemed so ingenious--microwave popcorn! Why hadn't I thought of this before?

I gleefully remarked, "I bet this is how the first Native Americans to make popcorn felt!"

My housemate looked sideways at me and replied, "I think you're a little overexcited."


  1. As a complete popcorn addict and proud owner of a Whirlypop Stovetop Popper (single-use items and vegetable oil be damned), I want to make sure you know that for the best popping results popcorn should be stored in the fridge. The cool environs keeps the all-important bead of moisture in each kernel from drying out.

    p.s. try it with grated parm, salt, and balsamic. Really.
    p.s.s Berle Farm sells great organic popcorn. Ask for the white. The purple's good but very hully.

  2. I tried this once too, and maybe I didn't fold the bag over enough times, but my popcorn exploded all over the microwave. Having consumed your hot off the stove popcorn (which Marty and I still have yet to crack the secret code of its delicious perfection) I stand on the side of stove-top perfection, Eileen style!

  3. heheheh 1st off - i love your excitement!!!

    2nd - we love to put hotsauce and flour on ours. - the flour gives it kinda a weird creamy feeling - not sure why, but it does! :)

  4. Great tip!
    there is actually a condition / illness that is caused by inhaling the artificial aroma of commercial microwave popcorn. I'm just not happy eating it either. i use an air popper or the stove-top popper Lisa gave Kellie and I it works great!,2933,323051,00.html