How do you make popcorn on the stove, you ask? It's easy, I tell you! Here we go, step by step.
1) Get out your popcorn pan. I use the same one all the time, and this pan is now solely reserved for popcorn popping. (This is a little trick that comes from my friend Martha's family. When we were new teachers, Martha would bring a bag of popcorn from home for everyone to share at our teacher lunches, and the popcorn was so good because the pan she used was well-seasoned from many years of popcorn popping.)
2) Now take your oil and coat the bottom of the pan with just enough oil to thinly cover the surface. Really, you don't need that much to make it pop, and the less you use, the healthier your finished dish will be. I typically use canola oil, the healthier choice over vegetable oil, and then I found this little gem:
Yes, of course I store my kernels in a special popcorn container, retro find courtesy of Matt's parents.
4) Heat the popcorn on medium-high heat. We have a gas stove, but the same rule has applied on electric stoves I've used in the past. Don't forget your lid!
5) It should take about 2-3 minutes for your corn to pop (same as the microwave!). When the kernels stop their rapid-fire popping, listen for the time when it's a couple seconds between pops. Your popcorn is done! Presto! Remove from the heat immediately and into a big bowl.
If you're a popcorn purist you can stop here, but I prefer to dress my kernels up a bit. So, I:
6) Take a couple pats of butter and put them in the now-empty-but-still-hot pan. Without turning the heat back on, the butter melts in a matter of seconds and gets a little brown for added flavor. After you pour your butter over your popcorn, give the bowl a few strong shakes to coat the popcorn as evenly as possible.
Many types of salt options would be perfect with popcorn, but I prefer table salt, garlic salt or onion salt. When I was eight years old my friend Amber introduced me to the idea of garlic salt on popcorn, and I've never turned back.
- Don't microwave it. Popcorn is a pretty healthy(ish) snack, but microwave popcorn has some weird ingredients that aren't pleasant (or pleasant looking). Popping your own only involves a little more effort and only one more item to clean up.
- You can air pop it, but I prefer my popcorn after it's been through a little oil. Yes, air popped is good, but to me it's a little vanilla.
- Besides homemade popcorn I love kettle corn. To make your own kettle corn (the easy way, without breaking out your cauldron) follow the instructions above, but when you add the oil also spread a couple tablespoons of sugar on top of the oil. Then when the corn starts to pop, you should constantly shake the pan from side to side to keep the kernels from sticking and burning. My favorite store-bought kettle corn is by Popcorn Indiana. I also love outdoor fairs and farmer's markets that almost always have someone with a kettle corn stand.
- Another popcorn favorite is white cheddar cheese flavored. No, not the stuff Smartfood makes. Although that is the most popular of the white cheddar cheese varieties, it's also my least favorite. My most favorite is Utz Premium White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn (the package is outlined in gold, so you know it's got to be good). It's also nearly impossible to find at our local grocery stores, so Matt has been known to special order (yes, that's right) a box of 60 snack-sized packages for me directly from the factory as my birthday present. My birthday is August 16. These usually last until about August 20. I finally started hiding the individual packages from myself so I wouldn't eat them all in one sitting.