Rain pounds against our skylight. We can hardly hear the movie above the noise, as Harry Potter and his friend Ron swap their Bertie Bott Every Flavor Beans. Toast, sardine, grass, and dirty-socks are all up for grabs.
“Can we go to the candy store? ” Isla asks, watching Harry suck on a toffee bean.
“Let’s pop some corn, instead, and test out a whole bunch of flavors of our own,” I say. “We can try different kinds of corn, all kinds of oil, and lots of spices – it’ll be so much fun!”
Isla gives me a thumbs up, as we head for the kitchen for some food experiments.
What we dig out of my cupboards
- some yellow corn kernels and some white corn kernels
- brown paper lunch bags
- olive oil, walnut nut oil, and black truffle oil
- sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, curry powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, maple syrup, homemade Nutella, Tabasco sauce, Bangkok sauce, and Parmesan cheese
- six little white dessert bowls
- two mixing spoons
- a set of measuring spoons and my favorite measuring cups
The great Canadian popcorn experiment
- Turn on The Popcorn Song. You’ll recognize it… it’s GREAT!
- Measure 1/4 cup of the white kernels into one bag and 1/4 cup yellow kernels into the other bag. Fold the top of the bags closed, twice. Tear the fold in two places toward the center, about a half-inch apart, and fold down the paper between the tears to fasten the fold tightly. Don’t use tape, as it burns.
- Put the bags one at a time into the microwave and set the oven on high for 2-3 minutes. WATCH CLOSELY. If the paper smokes, turn the oven OFF. Also, listen to the pops. As soon as the racket stops, turn the oven OFF.
- Divide the popcorn into the dishes: three with white popped corn, three with yellow popped corn.
- Taste the two kinds of corn without any flavoring at all. What’s your favorite?
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of oil on each dish of popped corn. Try a different kind on each dish of white and yellow corn.
Flavor combinations we tried
- 1 tablespoon Nutella
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, a sprinkle of salt, and a few dashes of Tabasco
- a few shakes of salt from the salt grinder and some freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon Bangkok sauce
Home-made microwaved popcorn is a delicious health food
We want to get away from melted butter and sugar and use instead healthier fats and spices. Next time, I’ll try a little yeast. I’ve heard it’s a great flavor boost and adds protein and vitamins too.
The kids’ verdicts
- Third prize goes to: Parmesan cheese and garlic powder, with truffle oil, on white corn
- Second prize: Nutella, with olive oil on yellow corn. The oil helps keep the corn crisper for longer, as the Nutella adds unwanted moisture along with its goodness.
- Fanfare please… First prize goes to: Maple syrup and cinnamon with walnut oil on yellow corn!!!
- White corn is tenderer and has a more intense flavor than the more familiar yellow. Both corn kernels were the same price, and cost nearly 7 times less than packaged microwave popcorn.
- Three cups of air-popped corn without the added oil or flavorings is 93 calories. It contains lots of fiber, some protein and some iron. Adding the healthier unsaturated fats adds a unique taste and helps the flavorings stick to the kernels. I loved the truffle oil with just a little salt and pepper.
- I didn’t miss the butter – especially with the Parmesan corn, my personal favorite.
- Once you find a favorite, up the quantities and make a big batch for rainy movie afternoons.
- Take it easy with any sauce that is more watery than it is oily. It makes the corn soggy.
We’ll definitely be getting out the corn kernels and spice jars the next time we hunker down for a wet afternoon with our favorite movies.
- Popcorn nutrition Here, you can also compare the nutrition of popcorn with other snacks – popcorn wins nearly every race!