What movie night or evening on the couch isn’t complete without a big bowl of popcorn? Movies and popcorn, popcorn and TV pretty much the perfect pair. Popcorn itself is actually a crazy delicious, crazy healthy snack food. If you air pop your kernels (in either the microwave, a popper or on the stove), you can eat a whopping three cups of the stuff for less than 100 calories. And in that 100 calories, you’re getting a hefty dose of healthy whole grains, vitamins, minerals and a very satisfying crunch.
Sometimes, you just want some butter on your popcorn! But if you’ve ever tried to use straight melted butter on homemade popcorn before, you know it has it’s issues. Namely, because butter has such a high water content, it makes the popcorn almost instantly soggy. No one wants soggy popcorn! To avoid this, movie theaters actually don’t user butter at all, and use butter-flavored oils (yuck), but you can use butter at home, just as long as your clarify it first. It sounds complicated, but clarifying butter is actually a breeze in the microwave, and it removes enough of the water to leave you with buttery, perfectly crunchy popcorn. Let me show you how I make my movie theatre popcorn at home on the stove. First up, gather those ingredients. For a large batch of popcorn (enough to satisfy 2-4 movie snackers or one pregnant lady who is eating popcorn for dinner), you’ll need a 1/2 cup of kernels, 1 stick of butter (salted or unsalted, either works), salt, and two tablespoons cooking oil. I like to use coconut oil for one big reason: many movie theaters use a coconut oil blend to pop their popcorn. It doesn’t really add a coconut flavor to the end result, but it does add a layer of flavor that other cooking oils just don’t quite match. It’s what makes popcorn taste like the stuff from the movies.
Buttery, Movie Style Popcorn Recipe
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) popcorn kernels
- 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) clarified butter or ghee, melted
- 1/4 tsp finely ground kosher salt or table salt
Heat the coconut oil: Melt the coconut oil in a 7- to 9-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add tester kernels: Add 3 kernels of popcorn and wait for them to pop. These little guys will let you know when the oil is hot enough to add the remaining kernels. Add the popcorn and pop: When the tester kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels. They should cover the bottom of the pot in a single layer. Swirl the pot to coat the kernels in the oil.
Continue to pop and shake the pan: Cover, lower the heat to medium, and shake the pan gently while the kernels pop. After about 3 minutes, when the popping slows significantly (1 to 2 seconds between pops), remove from the heat. Continue to shake the pot for another 30 seconds or until the popping stops completely. Flavor with butter and salt: Pour 1/2 of the butter or ghee over the popcorn, cover, and shake the pot to coat. Pour the remaining butter or ghee over the popcorn and sprinkle with the salt. Cover again and shake. Serve immediately.
Benefits Of Popcorn
Popcorn may only seem like a delicious snack for movie theaters and comfy nights at home, but there are many health benefits associated with this air-popped food that most people have never heard of. The health benefits of popcorn include its ability to regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels improve the digestive process, protect against osteoporosis, prevent cancer, inhibit cognitive decline, prevent premature aging, and help you lose weight.
Controls Blood Sugar
The third vital role of fiber is its impact on blood sugar within the body. When the body has ample amounts of fiber, it regulates the release and management of blood sugar and insulin levels better than people with low levels of fiber. Reducing these fluctuations in blood sugar is a major bonus for diabetics, so popcorn is always a recommendation if you suffer from that difficult disease.
Researchers in recent years have been shocked to find an amazingly large amount of antioxidant capacity within popcorn. It used to be considered a relatively unhealthy junk food, but it now appears that the hull of popcorn contains large amounts of polyphenolic compounds, one of the more powerful types of antioxidants that you can put in your body. In fact, research has even shown that popcorn consumption can do more for the antioxidant potential in your body that a daily dose of fruits and vegetables!
Antioxidants are the powerful defensive agents that scavenge and eliminate free radicals, those by-products of cellular metabolism that are associated with a variety of diseases in the body, particularly cancer. Free radicals are notorious for mutating healthy cellular DNA into cancerous cells, which is a big problem. Popcorn can help reduce those risks.
A normal cup of popped popcorn contains only 30 calories, which is approximately 5 times less than the same amount of greasy potato chips. Furthermore, the fiber content in popcorn makes you feel full and inhibits the release of the hunger hormone. This can prevent overeating and keep people who arebatlling the bulge happy and thin, without making them feel like they aren’t eating enough. Popcorn is also very low in saturated fats, and its natural oils are primarily healthy and essential in the body.