Popcorn is the ultimate healthy snack.
It’s a good source of fiber, rich in antioxidants and you couldn’t get more whole when it comes to a grain. It can be low in calories, too, depending on how it is prepared. (Remember, due to the choking hazard, popcorn should not be given to children under 5.)
But, microwaveable popcorn, in those bags? Nope.
In the quest for speed and convenience, manufacturers came up with these microwaveable bags and there went the healthful factor. The inside of the bags are coated in what are called PFCs (perfluorochemicals), chemicals that are linked to cancer and damage to the reproductive system as well as having a role in making us fat, according to Rodale News. The popcorn itself isn’t left in its raw state, either, dolled up with stuff we don’t need instead, and there are health problems from that end, too.
(What was so time-consuming about heating oil in a pan, then adding the kernels, shoving a lid on top and shaking it back and forth for a few minutes? Really, that was inconvenient? Think about that, people. But I digress.)
A lot of medical and health experts have warned about the dangers of microwaveable popcorn in those bags.
But you still can pop corn in the microwave without the health risks. I put the kernels in a plain paper bag (lunch size), roll to seal it up and let it cook until the popping stops. Sometimes I put oil in, sometimes I don’t
One of the fun treats of farmers market season is finding the small and whole dried ears of corn for popping. They look like the ears of corn you see at harvest time or Halloween. They are a variety of colors; I chose the cranberry-colored ones because I was told those are the ones that produce the white popcorn I prefer.
If it’s convenience you’re after, you’ve got it with these mini ears of popping corn (they’re about 5 inches long). Stick one in a plain brown paper bag. Roll to seal up the bag opening and put it in the microwave (I put mine on a plate) for 2-2½ minutes. One ear makes about four cups of popcorn.
I find my popping corn ears at the Nichols Farm booth at the Daley Plaza farmers market (Nichols is there on Thursdays), but Cost World Market has them, too and they’re available online. Lots of fun, super easy. Give it a try.
— Sue Ontiveros