When I was younger, I used to love going to the cinema and munching my way through a bucket of popcorn. It didn’t taste ‘fatty’ or even that ‘sugary’ so I was shocked when I later read an article on the nutritional profile of movie popcorn. Unbeknown to me, the manufacturers had taken this little wholesome grain and literally drenched it in oil and sugar, transforming it into a calorie-intensive, unhealthy snack. I discovered that the shop-bought brands didn’t fare well either and in addition to the fat and sugar, they often contain other undesirable, unnatural additives.Image courtesy of Pyato / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It’s such a shame that it’s been given such a bad rep because, in its natural state, popcorn is a great, low calorie, cholesterol-free, nutrient-rich snack. It’s high in fibre and complex carbohydrates (which means that it provides slow release energy and keeps you feeling full for longer). It also contains protein, B vitamins, and a wide range of minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
For a good few years now, I’ve ditched the commercial brands of popcorn and pop my own corn instead. It’s easy to make, quick and cheap. And if you’ve ever had the pleasure of making your own popcorn, you’ll know just how good it makes the house smell!Image courtesy of Kromkrathog / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
We tend to make a huge batch of popcorn every weekend. It makes a great snack to munch on while movie watching, surfing the web, reading and playing games. I’m sure that online game players, like the crowd over at binguez, would love it too! It’s delicious when freshly eaten warm from the pan, but it also stores well in an airtight container. It makes a great school snack and Lil’ L loves to take a bag with him to share with friends at playtime.Source
Since I don’t have a popcorn maker, I use my trusty old stainless steel pan instead. Here’s how I make it:
1. Brush the bottom of a large, heavy bottomed saucepan with canola (rapeseed) or olive oil.
2. Heat the oil on a medium heat then add the popcorn kernels (enough to cover the bottom of the saucepan in a single layer). Give the pan a quick shake to coat the kernels in the oil, cover with a lid and wait for the popping to begin.
3. Now and then, shake the pan to make sure that any unpopped kernels fall to the bottom, and tilt the lid slightly to allow the steam to escape.
4. As soon as the popping has stopped, take the pan off the heat. Tip the popcorn into a large bowl and add your desired flavourings.
I love experimenting with different natural flavourings for popcorn. Two of my favourite savoury toppings are cashew “parmesan” (made with ground cashew nuts, nutritional yeast and sesame seeds) and chilli and fresh lime. But when it comes to sweet toppings, for me, nothing beats cinnamon sugar. Have you ever tried it before? It’s so good!
Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn
I make my own cinnamon sugar using a blend of ground cinnamon and coconut sugar, which is a low GI, nutrient-rich, diabetic-friendly, natural sweetener. It’s particularly rich in potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron, and also a good source of B vitamins. (I’m not sure if there’s any other sugar that has a nutrient profile quite like this one!) Coconut sugar also has the most wonderful, caramel-like flavour and melt-in-your-mouth texture. It’s a bit pricier than cane sugar, but it’s so worth it!
To make your own cinnamon sugar, simply add the sugar and ground cinnamon in a grinder and pulse into a fine powder. I use a ratio of 2 tbsp coconut sugar: 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
When the popcorn is ready to serve, lightly spray it with canola (rapeseed) or olive oil, sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar and give it a good stir to ensure it’s evenly coated. You can either use your hands (like I do!) or place the popcorn in a sealed bag or box and give it a good shake.
And there we have it. A delicious, healthy, nutrient-rich snack.
Happy popping everyone!
Do you make home-made popcorn? If so, what’s your favourite topping? Do you have an air popper or do you use a pan?
Thank you to binguez for sponsoring this post.