Pop Your Own Chemical-Free Popcorn

popcorn lung, popcorn woman bowl, chemical free microwaveCrunchy, tasty popcorn, made on your stove top, with nothing but goodness in it.

My friend was amused that I have no microwave oven. How can I deal with food all day long and not own one? And how were we going to pop the popcorn she’d brought over? The health risks associated with microwave ovens and foods packaged especially for them like microwave popcorn packages put me off. And frankly, those popcorn bags with the laminated interiors give me the creeps (read this story on the US man awarded $7 million plus in damages for popcorn lung). Handing the bag of tricks back to my friend, I went to my pantry and pulled out half a cup of dried corn kernels. Then I showed her how you make real, honest-to-goodness popcorn. It takes all of 10 minutes.

Stove-top Popcorn

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.

yield: 10 cups


3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup of  popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat. Drop 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil. Cover the pan.

When the kernels pop, add the salt, then the rest of the popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and wait 30 seconds.  This method helps all the kernels pop at about the same time.

Return the pan to the heat. When the popping starts,  move the pan back and forth over the burner.  Once the popping slows down, remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot popcorn into a large bowl.

Melt the butter in the empty pot and pour over popcorn. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Delicious flavorings for popcorn:

  • Sprinkle brewer’s yeast and garlic powder over prepared popcorn; mix in gently.
  • Go Middle-Eastern and sprinkle a teaspoon or two of Yemenite hawaij spice over the popcorn and stir in. Curry makes a good substitute for hawaij.

If you must use a microwave, it’s perfectly possible to pop corn in a plain paper bag with the top firmly closed.

More about harmful chemicals in our food and drink:

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4 thoughts on “Pop Your Own Chemical-Free Popcorn”

  1. Miriam Kresh says:

    Jo, put about 1/4 cup of corn kernels in a clean paper bag with the top folded over firmly several times. As Karin said, the bag will pop up and there will be room for the popcorn.

  2. Jo says:

    I don’t understand. If the popcorn is covered, doesn’t it impede the popping and cause it to burn? It needs space, doesn’t it?

  3. I also don’t own a microwave oven, and make my own popcorn. Doing it without the microwave bag is much cheaper. But when I visit my parents I don’t mind eating the stuff. Remember the days back in the 80s when everyone had a hot air popcorn popper? Useless devices really but they made very healthy popcorn.

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