photo by Hey Paul

photo by Hey Paul

I love popcorn. I could eat it several times a week in all its buttery, crunchy, salty glory. It’s low in fat (at least without the butter,) high in fiber, and I can eat what feels like a decadent amount because of its natural volume. I’m a popcorn purist, so it’s just a little butter and salt for me, thank you very much.

My children love it too. I carefully dole out their servings, trying to be generous when I really want to hoard it all to myself.

I used to buy boxes of microwave popcorn, 3 or 6 to a package, and ration it out over the course of a week or two. I bought the low fat or plain because the butter flavor tasted like wax, so I would add my own.

I remember hearing about a guy who loved popcorn even more than me. He would hold the popped popcorn bag to his nose and inhale the freshly popped popcorn aroma. Unfortunately it made him sick. He was also inhaling a chemical called diacetyl, which caused “popcorn worker’s lung.”

Yikes! Turns out, people who had worked in food flavoring or microwave popcorn factories got a lethal, irreversible lung disease just by doing their jobs. It makes me feel ill for ever buying these products! In response to consumer outcry, popcorn makers announced they were reducing the levels of diacetyl.

Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it? As a popcorn lover addict, I was on the hunt for something better. Air-popped never tasted as crunchy to me, and I ruined my fair share of pans waiting too long for that last kernel to pop. So when I found a way to pop it in the microwave in less than 2 minutes, it changed my life.

 How to make your own microwave popcorn

Making your own microwave popcorn is convenient and you avoid any strange chemicals. You also eliminate the additional packaging – whiteboard outer box, inner plastic wrap – in packaged microwave popcorn. One big bag of popcorn seeds goes a long, long way, so you can splurge on organic or specialty and still spend less than the prepackaged microwave kind.

You need:

  • Regular, bulk popcorn seeds
  • A package of paper lunch bags
  • Oil

Scoop ¼ cup of popcorn seeds into a paper lunch bag. Add ½ tsp of vegetable oil. Fold the paper bag closed, and fold again. (I use about a ½ inch to an inch fold.) Place in the microwave. Cook for 1:45 MORE OR LESS depending on your microwave. You’ll want to watch it carefully until you figure out the best cooking time. Remove when pops are more than 1 second apart.

Pour into bowl, salt and butter as desired. Enjoy!

I don’t recommend reusing the bag. I believe it is a fire hazard, as is any microwave popcorn bag if you leave it unattended.