There’s something about popcorn that just makes it so irresistible. Whether you like to eat it plain or with a variety of toppings, there’s no denying that popcorn is a crowd-pleaser. But did you know that there are secrets to making the best tasting popcorn?
Most everyone loves popcorn, but not all popcorn is created equal. Whether you make it at home or buy it from the concession stand, there are a few secrets to making great tasting popcorn. In this post, we’ll share some tips to help you make the best popcorn possible.
So, whether you’re a movie lover or just looking for a tasty snack, read on for the secrets to enjoying delicious popcorn:
- Understand the science.
Popcorn is a type of corn that has the perfect thickness to allow it to burst open when heated. Each kernel contains water stored inside, as well as starch and protein molecules which are released at different temperatures in order to create an interesting texture.
As popcorn heats up around 350°F (176 Celsius), these components expand with some escaping through tiny holes or cracks on their own accord before bursting outwards when ready.
- Warm the pan.
When making stovetop popcorn, start by warming the pan or wok.
Heat a 3 or 4-quart pan or wok with a lid. Add approximately 3 tbsp of vegetable oil just enough cover bottom, then drop two or three kernels at time and cover until popping stops before adding remaining popcorn by handfuls down the centre so it covers evenly on all sides
When kernels start popping, add a whole 1/3 cup more into the pan as needed so each kernel gets covered thoroughly in hot oil.
- Shake it!
Once the kernels have heated up, shake them back and forth a few times. Then remove from heat immediately with an audible pop! While this is happening periodically lift the lid just enough so steam can escape without burning your hands or faces (remembering that hot things are dangerous). When you hear these last few pops empty into a large bowl for best results.
- Adding the flavours.
According to the experts, pre-salting kernels toughens popcorn so you need to salt it after or else try using other spices.
It is best to season freshly cooked popcorn just after it is out of the pan or microwave. It is the time when the kernels are able to absorb most of the flavour, such as salt, butter, other flavourings, and spices.
Some flavourings meanwhile are also used not just to give popcorn a great taste, but to make the kernels stick together to form shapes. Salted caramel popcorn for instance, is not only enjoyed by eating the kernels individually; some gourmet versions offer salted caramel popcorn balls or as sculpted figures for a better aesthetic.
- Don’t burn the kernels.
When making your popcorn, be sure to use medium heat and a good quality oil with high smoking points. To get the best results avoid using too much butter or oils that don’t have burning temperatures below 350°F because they will make your batch taste awful.