The Orion

Get popping with homemade popcorn

Grace Kerfoot

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Photo credit: Grace Kerfoot

It’s the week before finals, and all we want to do is eat and sleep.

We don’t have time to cook things. We hardly even have time to browse food photos on Instagram. Quick, easy and satisfying is all we can handle right now. Snacks have become our life support. Indeed, it is that glorious blend of sugar and fat that keeps us alive through dead week.

While it is perfectly acceptable to reach for the carrot sticks and hummus (if people actually still do that) or go the complete opposite direction and find solace from stress in a large crinkled bag of potato chips (and likely feel little long-term relief), I like to meet my snack craving somewhere in the middle — with popcorn.

Homemade popcorn hits a home run when it comes to lazy but satisfying snack foods. While not as fast as conventional microwave popcorn, the homemade stuff is cheaper and arguably healthier due to its bare-bones ingredient list and lack of fluorescent coloring.

It can also be a springboard for just about any flavor you’re in the mood for. Sweet, salty, spicy — the opportunities are endless and recipes can easily be doubled or tripled to feed your appetite or host a study group.

Despite how painfully pastoral making popcorn by stovetop may sound, it’s actually a breeze. In fact, I think you may find it to be an enjoyable break from the books.

Below are instructions on how to make basic stovetop popcorn with two different flavor combinations to try. Make the sauces first and then pop the kernels.

Basic Popcorn

Makes one large bowl

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or other natural oil
  • ¼ cup popcorn kernels

Directions

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron is ideal but any kind of soup pot with a lid will work) heat the oil over medium-high heat. Pour in the popcorn kernels. Once they begin to sizzle, cover pot with a lid and shake constantly over the heat to move kernels around to prevent burning. It should take about three minutes. When popping slows (about 10 seconds between pops), remove from stove top and set aside.

Sweet Maple Popcorn

Slightly adapted from this Homemade life

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • a splash of vanilla
  • salt

Directions

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter. Once melted, add the maple syrup. Stir to combine and heat syrup through. Take off heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over popcorn and quickly toss to coat. Add the salt and toss again.

Smoky Sriracha Popcorn

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (add more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • salt

Directions

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter. Once melted, add the Sriracha. Stir to combine and heat over low until everything is mixed together. Pour over popcorn and quickly toss to coat. Add the salt and toss again.

Grace Kerfoot can be reached at [email protected] or @gracekerf on Twitter.

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Get popping with homemade popcorn