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A.A. Milne

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Make your own Easy Microwave Popcorn-cheaper and safer

When my kids were growing up, they would always be hungry when they came home from school.  One snack they especially loved was apples and popcorn. Air poppers for the popcorn were healthy and natural but were messy and a pain to use. It was also one more appliance to clutter up the counter tops in the kitchen.  I started using microwave popcorn.  Unfortunately I didn't know the dangers of microwave popcorn.  (Not to mention that over time, it is pricey).

A report from the FDA indicates that a chemical coating used in microwave popcorn bags breaks down when heated into a substance called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA). The Environmental Protection Agency has identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen.” Another study has found an acid that can be extracted from the chemical causes cancer in animals and is “likely to cause cancer in humans.”
A second potential danger in microwave popcorn is diacetyl, an FDA-approved chemical found in the fake butter flavoring. There’s even a debilitating respiratory disease called “popcorn workers lung,” (the medical name of the condition is bronchiolitis obliterans) suffered by microwave popcorn factory workers caused by extended inhalation of the chemical’s fumes. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, (NIOSH) concluded that diacetyl needs further study so that workers in the flavorings and snack industry are no longer at risk
The Food and Drug Administration continues to study whether consumers can develop lung disease from inhaling diacetyl. In response to the concerns regarding the risks of diacetyl exposure, a number of microwave popcorn manufacturers have discontinued using it in their products.

I wish I had known back then how simple and cheap it really is to make your own microwave popcorn. 

Here is what you will need:

1 bag unpopped pop corn (I buy the store brand but buy whatever you like)
1 larger container to pour the unpopped popcorn into
paper bag lunch sacks
vegetable or olive oil
popcorn seasoning or salt

1.  In a container , pour your unpopped popcorn. 
2. Add 2 tablespoons oil 
3.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt (optional)
4.  Put lid on container and shake up
5.  Put a 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup scooper inside the container for easy use

6.  Put 1/2 cup uncooked kernels into the paper bag.  Fold over twice.  Cook for 3 minutes (or adjust for your microwave.   Make sure you cook the bag on its bottom and not on its side.  It will burn if you cook the bag on its side.  The oil will bleed a little through the bag but that does not hurt anything.

7.  Add some seasoning if you like and enjoy!

I make up several bags a few days ahead of time so they are easy to grab and cook.  This is so easy the kids can do it themselves.

I don't have the numbers as to how much cheaper this method is (I don't do math).  I do know a big bag of uncooked store brand popcorn was $3.29 in my store.  Add the bags which were 50 bags for under two dollars and the oil and season and you have a lot of popcorn for much, much less than the microwave stuff in the store.  AND the biggest perk is no nasty chemicals (unless you add some)!


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