It’s one of our go-to snacks and something I make for the kids at least twice a week. But apparently making your own popcorn at home is becoming a thing of the past. Our local Sainsbury’s (a large superstore doncha know) has stopped stocking popcorn kernels due to a lack of demand, as consumers opt for readymade bags of popcorn instead.
This makes me sad. I remember making popcorn as a child. That crazy rush to get the lid onto the pan once the corn started popping, or taking the lid off too early and showering the kitchen and myself with popcorn. One of my earliest memories is my mum making me a bag of popcorn to cheer me up after I burnt my finger on the iron when I was about five or six. Making your own popcorn at home is super-easy and super-cheap. A bag of kernels costs just £1.29 for a 500g bag* – less than a single 70g bag of readymade popcorn, so it’s easy to see how much money you can save by cooking it yourself. It’s a healthier alternative to crisps – air-popped and eaten plain, popcorn is a healthy whole grain food that’s high in fibre. It’s one of the staples of our weekly shop, and is a must-pack essential when we go camping.
You can use a popcorn maker but I never do – I just put the popcorn kernels in a large pan (you need one with a lid), add a splash of oil (I use rapeseed oil), and place it on a low heat on the hob. Give the pan a shake every minute or so to make sure the kernels don’t burn. I wait until the first kernel pops before I (or usually one of the twins) place the lid on the pan. Once the popping stops, take it off the heat and it’s done. The kids love to get involved when we cook it – their excited squeals when they hear that first, sudden POP! never fail to make me grin.
We add a small sprinkling of salt to ours (or I like a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar for a sweet and salty flavour, or cinnamon sugar because I’m obsessed with cinnamon). We could make ours even healthier by air-popping it in the microwave (place the kernels in a paper bag and microwave on high until the popping stops). But we don’t have a microwave, so..
So while a bag of gourmet popcorn is a nice treat that I often buy myself if I’m out and about, I’d hate to think that popcorn kernels might become something kids don’t recognise. Part of the pleasure of popcorn is hearing it pop – homemade popcorn rocks, so don’t stop popping!
*price at Tesco