Preparing & Eating Popcorn

Preparing & Eating Popcorn

Popcorn has been one of the most popular snacks in the United States since its debut in movie theaters during the Great Depression. There aren’t many people who don’t enjoy it. Every year, Americans consume over 60 billion cups, or 17 billion liters, of popcorn.

Popcorn has long since gone out of movie theaters and into our homes, parties, theme parks, and diets, and it continues to be one of our favorite snacks.

It doesn’t matter if you’re already aware or just recently learned that eating popcorn can be part of a healthy diet. This crispy, flavorful snack is easy to make and perfect for any occasion. It’s the ideal snack for stay-at-home movie nights in the winter or summer backyard parties. Popcorn is also a great addition to healthy diets, wedding receptions, and kids’ birthday parties.

Moreover, popcorn is a healthy snack. Because popcorn is a whole grain, it may be an excellent healthy snack option if not cooked in oil or generously covered in butter. In addition, it is high in fiber and minerals beneficial to health, such as iron, potassium, copper, zinc, magnesium, vitamins, and others.

At the same time, plain, air-popped popcorn is low in sugar and fat and contains no cholesterol. But it never hurts to shake things up now and then and experiment with your popcorn flavors.

So if you’re in the mood for more decadent popcorn flavor, go all out on the spices and seasonings.

Below you’ll find everything you should know about preparing and seasoning popcorn to get you started.

How Do You Get Sugar to Stick to Popcorn?

A lot of people like their popcorn sweet. But if you prefer your popcorn served sweet and like making it at home, how do you get sugar to stick to it? There are actually a few ways to do this:

  • Pop your popcorn in a popcorn maker or on the stove. Over medium heat, combine one cup melted butter and one tablespoon brown sugar in a medium saucepan and season the popcorn.
  • Put the popcorn in the microwave and add one teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract to a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar.
  • Set the oven temperature to 350 °F (176 °C). Put a layer of popcorn on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the popcorn with sugar and bake it for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sugar has melted and covered the popcorn.
  • Drizzle maple syrup or honey over popped popcorn and sprinkle brown sugar.

What Tastes Good Sprinkled on Popcorn?

The possibilities for seasonings and toppings for your popcorn are practically endless. But, of course, what tastes good sprinkled on popcorn depends on whether you prefer salty or sweet popcorn.

Many people like to stick to the classics, such as popcorn with salt and butter. But if you want to spice things up every once in a while, you can add any seasoning to make your popcorn taste like anything you want.

Some of the toppings that taste good sprinkled on popcorn are:

  • The classics: salt and butter
  • Melted white, milk, or dark chocolate
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Chocolate chips
  • Maple syrup
  • Caramel
  • Sweet cherry syrup
  • Toasted coconut 
  • Crispy bacon
  • Chili powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Dried herbs

If you like to experiment with flavors, then you may want to try these creative popcorn seasonings and toppings:

  • Reese’s pieces
  • Peanut butter
  • Hot chocolate
  • Barbeque sauce
  • Pizza (with oregano, chili flakes, and parmesan cheese)
  • Olive oil and dried tomatoes
  • Cheddar cheese and chili powder
  • Maple syrup and crunchy bacon
  • Nacho cheese
  • Vanilla extract and lavender (add a handful of dried lavender flowers)

How Do You Spice Up Plain Popcorn?

To add flavor to plain popcorn:

  • Spray it with olive oil while it’s still warm, and coat it evenly.
  • Season it with your preferred herbs and/or spices.
  • Toss the spices with the juice of 12 limes or lemons and toss them over the popcorn.

However, cooking popcorn in oil significantly increases the fat content of the popcorn. So, if you want to keep your popcorn calorie count low, go with the air-popped variety (a cup of air-popped popcorn has 31 calories compared to a cup of popcorn fried in oil, which has 41 calories). Combine any spices, herbs, or garnishes and generously sprinkle them over your air-popped popcorn to enhance the flavor. Then, give it a good toss with your hands or a spatula,and enjoy the taste.

Alternatively, mist it with water, soy sauce, or Tabasco before dusting it with powdered spices to make your popcorn seasoning stick.

What Seasoning Can You Put on Popcorn?

You can season your popcorn with whichever seasoning you like. Spices such as dried herbs, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, nutmeg, or cinnamon, on the other hand, are the simplest and healthiest method to season your popcorn. 

So be creative and experiment with spice combinations to achieve the flavor you enjoy.

What is the Healthiest Thing to Put on Popcorn?

Again, the healthiest popcorn flavor alternatives are dry spices and herbs. Popcorn-friendly diets have grown in popularity in recent years. Popcorn may be introduced to your diet as a healthy snacking choice because it is a low-calorie food that is high in nutrients.

Some of the healthiest things to put on popcorn include:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Shredded coconut
  • Lime zest
  • Minced lemon
  • Cinnamon
  • Curry powder, or Curcuma
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Oregano

Also, pick your cooking oil correctly if you use oil for popping your popcorn. Healthy fats can be obtained from olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, or flaxseed oil.

How Do You Get Flavoring to Stick to Popcorn?

If you use oil for popping your popcorn, the seasoning will stick to it easily. However, to get flavor and stick to air-popped popcorn without fat, you can mist your popped popcorn with a bit of water or some other liquid. 

Sprinkle your popcorn as you move it to the bowl with a little liquid spray bottle. This way, each layer of popcorn will get a little spritz, making it easier for the flavoring to stick to the popcorn.

Alternatively, drizzle honey or maple syrup over the popcorn as it falls into the bowl and then dust with your preferred seasoning.

Do You Flavor Popcorn Before or After Popping?

The easiest way to flavor your popcorn is after popping. Before popping, popcorn is just corn with small, hard kernels.

Each grain contains water, so heating them to a high enough temperature converts the moisture inside the kernels to steam, building the pressure. Because the outside of the kernel is strong and almost impossible to break, the steam causes the husk to burst, letting the soft flake inside out.

Once the popcorn finishes popping, you can sprinkle, drizzle, or pour your favorite topping and toss it all together with a spatula or your hands until everything is combined and the popcorn is well coated.

How Do You Flavour Popcorn Without Making It Soggy?

Soggy popcorn is a major turnoff for moviegoers and popcorn fans in general. Oiling the popcorn kernels before popping them helps them pop more quickly and creates a coating that seals in the popcorn’s natural crunch and flavor. In addition, the ratio of one tablespoon of oil to 1/4 cup of kernels creates a thin oil binder that helps the flavoring stick without leaving the popcorn soggy.

Additionally, the trick to perfectly crispy butter popcorn is using ghee. This is melted (or clarified) butter, made by gently simmering butter until all of the water in it has evaporated. Ghee is excellent for seasoning your popcorn without making it soggy since it retains its wonderful nutty, buttery flavor while having a very low moisture level.

Do You Add Seasoning Before or After Popping Popcorn?

You add seasoning after popping the popcorn. However, keep in mind to always add your seasoning while the popcorn is still hot. That way, moisture residue from popping steam will help your seasoning stick to the popcorn.

Does Soaking Popcorn Make It Pop Better?

There isn’t enough moisture in unpopped kernels to create the pressure, so they fail to burst and open. To make your popcorn pop better, try soaking the kernels in a bowl of water for 10 minutes and then draining them. Then, pop the kernels as usual. The extra moisture added to the kernels helps produce larger and fluffier popcorn.

Another option is to keep the lid ajar if you’re popping your popcorn on the stove. Keeping the lid ajar helps some steam escape from the pot, making the popcorn crispier and fluffier.

How Do You Make Air-Popped Popcorn Taste Like a Movie?

What could be better than a bag of perfectly salty and buttery movie popcorn? No matter how much you try to make your home-popped popcorn taste like a movie theater popcorn, it never tastes the same. This is because movie theaters use Flavacol seasoning salt.

Most people have never heard of it because it is mostly used in movie theaters. Flavacol is a fine butter-flavored salt. It has a specific orange-yellowish color, which adds that signature buttery flavor and yellow hue to movie popcorn that we all crave.

Use this particular salt combined with coconut or olive oil to make popcorn that tastes just like the stuff you get at the movies.

Why Do You Have to Pop Popcorn on a Certain Side?

Don’t worry if you accidentally pop your popcorn on the “wrong” side of the bag. Popcorn bags designed for use in microwaves feature one side that should be facing up during the popping process since the other side has a susceptor that soaks up the microwave energy. 

This causes the bag’s internal temperature to increase to a point where the corn kernels are cooked. Positioning the kernels over the susceptor maximizes the popping. The amount of popped kernels in your bag of popcorn will be somewhat reduced if you turn the bag upside down, but that won’t affect the taste.

Why Do You Shake a Bag of Popcorn?

Shaking a bag of popcorn before putting it in a bowl helps to cover the popcorn with flavor and maximize the taste.

Why Do Popcorn Bags Tell You Not to Use the Popcorn Button?

Popcorn bags tell you not to use the popcorn button on your microwave because, in most cases, the button needs to provide the proper amount of time for making popcorn. Most microwave popcorn buttons typically run the microwave for far too long to cook popcorn. Moreover, because the popcorn option in many microwaves is just a timer that lacks a humidity sensor, the microwave cannot detect when something inside is burning.

In addition, different popcorn varieties or bags have different weights and humidity levels and therefore require different cooking times.

What Happens If You Cook Popcorn Upside Down?

The microwave-safe side of a popcorn bag should be facing up during the popping process because the other side has a susceptor that soaks up microwave radiation.

Corn kernels are cooked when the bag’s internal temperature increases to the bursting point. If you put the kernels above the susceptor, they will pop more. They will also be fluffier and bigger. So, if you turn your microwave popcorn bag upside down, the only thing that will happen is that you will have fewer and less evenly popped kernels in the bag.

In other words, you can still have popped popcorn and the same taste even if you turn the bag of popcorn upside down, but you’ll have some unpoled kernels or “old maids.”

You can stop the microwave and flip the bag to the “proper” side. But don’t stress even if you don’t. It will still give you a bowl of tasty, crunchy popcorn.

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