We love popcorn in our house! It's a very inexpensive snack, there are lots of healthy options, and it stores easily. We used to go through lots of microwave popcorn, but three things happened. Firstly, I really started to think about all the gunk that's in that little bag and I didn't want it going into my kid's tummies. Secondly, when we moved the last time, we didn't move into a place that had a microwave and we've never purchased one. Thirdly, it became too expensive for a few bags of popcorn in a small box and the Costco boxes were never eaten all the way, which was wasteful. The kernels ended up being much cheaper, easier to use, and easier to store.
To remedy our microwaveless state, to keep more money in our pockets, and to enjoy a healthier snack, I now make it on the stove top. It really doesn't take much more time than it would in a microwave and you don't need a special air popper or stove top popper (each of these take up a lot of space) to make it. Just a solid, large saucepan that you probably already have. I hope you pop some up and enjoy!
1-2 TBS Vegetable Oil (I don't use Olive Oil, it seems to burn)
1/2 Cup Popcorn Kernels
Optional Toppings: Salt, Butter, Pepper and Olive Oil drizzled over, Paprika, Cinnamon Sugar, Sugar, Nutritional Yeast, Garlic and Chili powder, etc., etc., etc.
1. Place a large, heavy pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium high, but closer to the medium side. Pour the oil in the bottom, and tilt the pan a bit to get the oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
2. Allow the pan to sit on the heat, with the lid on, for about 3 minutes to get heated, but watch the oil so it doesn't burn.
3. Carefully lift the lid and quickly dump the kernels into the pan and cover. I've only ever had one pop up a bit, but it's a good idea to use caution.
4. With the lid on, shake the pan back and forth a few times to allow the oil to coat the kernels.
5. Center the pan over the burner, keep the lid on, and put the heat at medium. The kernels should begin popping soon.
6. Listen for the popping, and take the pan off the heat once the popping slows to one kernel every 3 or so seconds. Leave the lid on! Let sit 1-2 minutes.
7. Pull out a large bowl. If you aren't going to add any more oil/butter, then sprinkle your bowl with some seasonings to help it stick.
8. Take the lid off the pot, and pour the popcorn slowly into the bowl, and shake salt/seasonings on at the same time with the other hand. I find this helps the salt to stick, so I don't need to add more oil or butter. Toss a little and enjoy your popcorn!
Note: I use this same method without oil when I make it for myself. Totally works!