Leftover popcorn kernels are amazing

What to Look For When Shopping For the Best Popcorn Kernels

One of the first things you need to check when shopping for the best popcorn kernels is their freshness, and here’s why. Stale corn produces a rather dull taste which is much inferior to the earthy flavor you get when you go fresh. More than that, the texture of stale popcorn is somewhat chewy compared to the crunch that comes after popping fresh kernels. To make sure you always get the freshest of the bunch, opt for brands that ship their products in airtight containers.

It’s true: Packaging is a matter of personal preference. But, since the snack tends to go stale after a while (especially if it’s exposed to air), opting for tightly sealed bags is a one-way street. So, when you’re buying in bulk, look for re-sealable bags or containers which prevent oxidation(1) and keep the corn fresh for longer.

Oh, and a word to the wise: Plastic bags rip easily which means spilled kernels are in the cards for you, no matter what. If you want to avoid such mishaps, opt for containers with lids which help you to pour the kernels into the pot more easily.

Not to burst your bubble, but there are more than one types of popcorn kernels out there. The four most common varieties include the white, the yellow, the mushroom and the butterfly kernels, each of which comes in a different shape, size, and (in the first two cases) color.

With that in mind, note that mushroom popcorn is known for its mini-baseball shape which means it can withstand candy coating. That makes it perfect for liquid add-ins such as melted chocolate or syrup drizzles. On the other hand, butterfly kernels are a bit more delicate as their wing-like shape makes them prone to crushing. That said, they’re usually served plain or buttered. So, choose accordingly!

So, you know all about the benefits of all-natural products, and as you can imagine, organic popcorn is no exception. Naturally grown kernels are one of the healthiest food choices in the book as they pack a bunch of nutritional benefits (as in tons of fiber, few calories, etc.) without any of the GMOs and harmful additives such as diacetyl(2). So, if you see popcorn as a buttery, toxin-laden indulgence, it’s high time you switch gears and opt for the organic varieties from now on.

Another thing you need to check when shopping for popcorn kernels is the product’s ingredient list. Even though artificially flavored grains aren’t that common, some companies add salt or artificial butter to the mix to improve the product’s flavor and increase its shelf life. Since such additions negate the whole point of buying organic, we recommend you steer clear of products with any additives.

After all, if you want your popcorn to be buttery, you can always add some later instead of having its toxic components (see: diacetyl) linger in the same container as your kernels for goodness knows how long.

Final Thoughts

If you’re anything like us, you’ve spent years indulging in store-bought popcorn, and boy, did that feel good! But after hearing the latest news on all the toxins that lurk inside those bags, we decided it was high time we took a break from them without ditching our favorite snack (of course!).

That’s why we switched to these 7 best popcorn kernels which not only pack an awful lot of nutrients but also taste great. Some of them are also a breeze to prep, making things easier for newbies as well. So, which of these popcorn kernels will stock up on first? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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9.Great Northern Popcorn

The best feature of the Great Northern popcorn is the packaging, as the popcorn kernels come together with small bags of coconut oil and butter-flavored salt. This means that no measuring is required as all you need to make the popcorn is inside the pouch. The pouch and the products inside it also guarantee that there will be no over- or under-portioning. The oil is solidified, it melts perfectly and cooks the kernels, flavoring them at the same time.

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Can you pop popcorn without oil?

Making Popcorn Without Oil

If you want to make fat-free popcorn without oil or butter, your easiest option is to get an air popper, which the Cleveland Clinic recommends because, as the appliance’s name implies, it is able to pop kernels using only air.

What Oil Should I Use To Pop Popcorn?

You want to use oil that contains a high smoke point. While butter is very tasty on popcorn, it is not the best to use for popping corn. This is because it has a low smoke point. Olive oil also has a low smoke point, which may cause the burning of the oil and popcorn.

For best results, choose oils like sunflower, safflower, canola, coconut, grapeseed, or sesame oils for making popcorn. You can still add your favorite butter, ghee, or other oil after the popcorn is done popping.

Why Do Some Popcorn Kernels Not Pop?

The principle for the popcorn kernels to pop comes from the difference in pressure inside and outside the kernels when heated, primarily based on the amount of moisture inside them. The standard moist percentage is 15 to 20% (as I shared earlier).

So the first cause is that the percentage of moisture inside the “unpoppable” popcorn kernels is no longer adequate. This could be due to a drying error or because your popcorn kernels have been in storage for too long, leading to moisture loss.

The second reason is that the shells of some seeds are too hard, which makes popcorn kernels difficult to pop. The unevenness in grain quality can be reduced if you choose products from reputable manufacturers.

4. White Popcorn Kernels

White popcorn kernels are perfectly white when they pop. Their texture is fluffier and more tender than that of yellow popcorn, and they are harder to find. However, if you want your popcorn to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible, opt for white butterfly popcorn.

FAQs About Popcorn Kernels

Since popcorn is the favorite light snack for almost all families, you might have many questions and concerns about it. I would love to answer some of the frequently asked questions, and let’s find if there are yours.

Will I Become Sick If I Eat Expired Popcorn Kernels?

Yes, they can. The shelf life of plain kernels is usually 6-8 months and that of microwave instant kernels is 8 months. After this date, even 3 months, you can still use it. But the popcorn kernels when pop will be “unpoppable” or dry and burn. Over-heated food or burned food can form some harmful compounds and lead to cancer later. (2)

Are Popcorn Kernels The Same As Corn Kernels?

Popcorn kernels are indeed dried from corn kernels, but not all types of corn kernels can pop. Only the corn breed with the scientific name Zea mays everta can pop into your familiar sweet snack.(3) If you ever try to pop other types of dried corn kernels on the pan, you can see they just burn black and stick to the bottom of the pan.

Can I Boil Popcorn Kernels?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes. It’s actually a method to make your half-popped popcorn kernels. Boil your water up and once it’s boiled, put in your prepared kernels for about 30 minutes. Remember to dry the kernels before popping them later.

What Is The Best Oil To Pop Your Popcorn Kernels At Home?

It depends on how you want to pop your popcorn, but I think vegetable oils are healthier than butter. If you want to use your stove to pop, please consider avocado or extra virgin olive oil. If you don’t have both, you can use canola oil as well.

Can You Reheat Or Microwave Your Popped Popcorn? Yes, you can, and your popcorn will be hot again. But it is still controversial as after reheating in the microwave, your popcorn will be stale and very dry. So, why don’t you try and give your opinion?

What is the Nutritional Value of Popcorn for Gerbils?

According to research by the University of Scranton, popcorn is a good source of fiber and is high in antioxidants. It also contains low levels of micronutrients such as:

  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamins B1, B3 and B6
  • Zinc
  • Potassium

These are all important nutrients for gerbils. However, because popcorn expands so much while cooking, this lowers its nutritional density. In other words, a gerbil would have to eat a lot of popcorn to get any nutritional benefit.

And if a gerbil ate too much popcorn, it would not have the appetite to eat any other foods. This would heighten its risk of developing nutritional deficiencies. Popcorn is low in protein, and lacks important nutrients such as vitamin C and calcium.

Plain popcorn isn’t unhealthy, and it’s fine to give your gerbils occasionally. But it should be offered as a treat, rather than a significant part of your gerbils’ diet.

How To Pop All Kernels In Microwave Popcorn?

There is no magical trick to popping all of the kernels in microwave popcorn. The bags are pre-packaged, so you can’t ensure the proper amount of moisture exists in all popcorn kernels. It is most important to stick to the rule of stopping when there are two seconds between pops. Waiting for longer may get all of the kernels to pop, but it may also cause many kernels to burn. You will be happier with a few unpopped kernels if most of the batch is fluffy and not burnt.

For more information on microwave popcorn, check out our post here: Does Microwave Popcorn Expire? How Long Does It Last?

Click here to buy Orville Redenbacher’s movie theater popcorn on Amazon. 

Does popcorn have gluten?

Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 3 popcorn kernels to the saucepan. Cover and heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add a few shakes (around 1/8 teaspoon) popcorn salt to 1/2 cup popcorn kernels. The oil is ready when the 3 kernels in the pan pop.

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