popcorn 101

Jeanne here …

When I was a little, I had a friend named Amy.  Amy E.  And every school day, she would bring with her a plastic sandwich bag overfilled with popcorn.

Popped on the stove.

By her father.  (I’m pretty sure it was her dad … at least that’s how I remember it.)

With just a little salt.

And a lot of love.






But this was more than a few years ago (I stopped counting after my 10 year high school reunion).

Before Orville Redenbacher came out with his “new fangled” microwave popcorn, laden with hydrogenated oils and “flavorings” that poorly replicated the taste of butter, popped in carcinogenic bags to scalding hot degrees destroying all the nutritional benefit that might have been in the corn to begin with.

Before more than 85 percent of the corn sold in commercial US markets was GMO (genetically modified in a lab to survive massive pesticide usage).

And Amy’s dad was probably popping that corn in stainless steel or cast iron (I never asked).  Not Teflon or aluminum, which leaches into the food and winds up in the consumer’s blood stream.  I haven’t been able to find conclusive studies on it, but Teflon has been linked to cancer … and aluminum … well … aluminum has long been known to contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s and degenerative brain disorders.


I didn’t mean for this to be a “Debbie Downer” post!

Because, I love popcorn.

It’s a favorite snack here in the Cottage.

It’s inexpensive (even for organic corn, which we buy in bulk at our local food Co-op).

And fast.

It takes three and a half minutes to microwave a bag, right?

Well it takes three and half minutes to pop it on the stove, too.

It tastes better!

It’s better for you!

And it’s just so dang easy.

I’m going to encourage you to give it a try, and give you at least one tip that will mean you’ll never burn the popcorn in the bottom of your pot … and be sure to pop nearly all of the kernels.

NOTE:  I’m pretty sure Amy’s dad used canola oil for his corn.  We don’t use vegetable or canola oil in cooking because cooking these oils at high temperatures makes them rancid and indigestible … at least, according to Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions, which I have found to be an invaluable tool as we continue our journey to a more traditional foods diet.


  • ¼ cup Olive oil (or Coconut Oil  – although some find the taste of coconut oil a little too “tropical” … I personally think it’s delightful)
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbls. Corn Kernels
  • Sea Salt (to taste)


  • 4 Qt. saucepan with a lid  (pot should be taller than it is wide)
  • Large bowl

Use just enough oil to coat the bottom of your pan (about ¼ cup)

Add the corn kernels.  There should be a single layer of kernels on the bottom of your pan.

Turn the heat on high (our burners go to “6” … I have them on “5” … so it’s “high,” but not “highest.”

After the first kernel pops, cover the saucepan and start moving it gently back and forth over the heat source.

Just like when you’re making microwave popcorn, when there’s a few seconds between each pop, remove from heat, take off the lid, and salt to taste.  After you’ve added a bit of salt and swished the popcorn around, pour your bounty into a large bowl and enjoy!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Do NOT put the corn in first … the key to not burning your kernels is to put them in after the oil.  And wait to turn the heat on until both ingredients are in the pot.  You want the oil and the kernels to heat up at the same time.  I read somewhere that this has something to do with the water in the corn kernels … but I don’t remember what, or where I read it … the thing is … since I started doing it this way, I haven’t burned a batch!)

5 thoughts on “popcorn 101

  1. The brand, “NOW”, has a popcorn line that is organic and Non-GMO; I’ve been using it without any oils, and not in any metal, and hopefully that helps:)

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