You don't need to have a hot air corn popper to make fresh popcorn at home. You don't even need a microwave. You can easily pop popcorn the old fashioned way - in a pot with a lid on the stove! Popcorn popped on the stove has a smokier, much richer flavour and much less un-popped kernels than corn popped in a hot air popper or the microwave.
To pop popcorn on the stove:
1.Pour approximately two tablespoons of vegetable oil into the bottom of a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
2.Add enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the saucepan in a single layer.
3.Put the lid on and cook over a medium heat until you hear the first "pop".
4.Using the saucepan handle, carefully and gently shake the entire saucepan over the heat until the popping stops. Keep the saucepan moving or the corn will burn.
5.Remove from heat, take the lid off and tip the popcorn into a serving dish. Season if you wish to.
To pop popcorn in the microwave:
1.Using a brown paper lunch bag, cover the bottom of the bag with popcorn. Make sure that the entire bottom of the bag is covered.
2. Fold over the top of the bag and staple it closed. Yes, the staple is metal, but it won't spark.
4. Place the bag in the microwave, lying down.
5. Cook on high until the popping stops. This will vary depending on how powerful your microwave is. I suggest that you start at two minutes and check. It may need another 30 seconds or so to complete the popping process.
Store your popcorn in the freezer. This helps all the kernels to pop.
Buy your popcorn loose from your local wholefoods or health food store, rather than in packets from the supermarket. You can buy as much or as little as you need. Remember, 200g un-popped popcorn makes an awful lot of popped corn, a little goes a very long way.
You can re-use the paper bag for microwave popcorn if you are very careful opening it.
To add butter to freshly popped corn, melt the butter and pour it over the hot popcorn. Stir quickly to cover all the kernels.
20 cups pop corn
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup condensed milk
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
Spread the popcorn in a thin layer in shallow, greased baking pans. Preheat oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Combine the brown sugar, condensed milk and butter in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over a medium heat. Boil for five minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarb soda and vanilla essence, beating well. The mixture should be light and foamy. Immediately pour over the popcorn. Stir with a fork to mix. Don't worry too much if not the popcorn isn't completely covered with the caramel. Place into preheated oven and bake for one hour, stirring completely every fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and empty onto sheets of baking paper. Break the caramel corn into bite size pieces. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Variation: Bliss Bombs - add 2 cups unsalted peanuts to the popcorn before covering with the caramel mixture.