Popcorn has probably been around longer than any other snack food on the planet. It has a rich history, dating back to before civilization and taking part in a multitude of events we celebrate every year. It's the most popular snack food around the world, and the second most popular snack in America (falling just behind potato chips). Popcorn can be found all over the country, at movie theaters, carnivals, and most people's kitchens or pantries.
It is a common misconception that popcorn is an unhealthy snack. The reason some people avoid popcorn is because they don't understand the real culprit! Behind its supposedly unhealthy status, are the seasonings and additives, often added to commercially packaged products to liven up the bland natural flavor and to lengthen it's shelf life. The popcorn itself is a wholegrain, and these can help prevent cancer and lower the risk of heart disease, while also supplying healthy nutrients that support our vision.
There are many different methods to create popcorn, but the basic principle stays the same. All you have to do is make the kernels hot enough to heat the moisture contained naturally inside, and turn that into steam. The steam creates pressure from inside the hard shell casing and before you know it, POP! - the kernel is turned inside out and is ready to be consumed. As long as you can generate heat and have some kernels on hand, you can make popcorn!
Enough of the history, what about the recipes? I've gathered 30 of the finest popcorn recipes from around the world for your snacking pleasure, and have tried to keep them free from artificial sweeteners, preservatives or other nasty additives wherever possible. I've specified 9 cups of popped corn for most recipes, as that gives 3 generous cups per serving - you can have as many or as few servings as you fancy, but keep an eye on the calories! For your convenience, I've also included nutritional data from the USDA for each recipe (that's the U.S. Department of Agriculture and not the United Square Dancers of America!)
My preference for both flavor and health reasons, is freshly air-popped popcorn - so I have used that kind for all of these recipes. Everything in this book can be made with kernels you have freshly popped, or if you are in a hurry (or feeling lazy!), then you can always use the plain store bought pre-popped variety - just make sure you check the packaging for artificial nasties!
Most of the ingredients for these recipes can be found at your local grocery store or deli, but if you get stuck, then the slightly more unusual ones can also be bought online via a link at the end of the book.
Enjoy preparing and sharing!